Migrating VB6 to .NET: A Descriptive Handbook

Nowadays, whether it is a small-scale enterprise or a large-scale, everyone uses some software to handle their daily business operations. And only a few know the concept of updating them with current technology.

Many organizations still use outdated technologies, such as VB6, for their central business system. They are unaware of the VB to .NET migration, which can boost their productivity and maximize their potential to create a vibrant capital.

This article will learn about every aspect of .NET migration, from its primary to an in-depth process to move out of fashion applications to a modern platform.

What are .NET and VB6?

.NET is a development platform, with Microsoft as its backbone for crafting, maintaining, and updating it with the latest industry standards, security mechanisms, and developer tools.

Software engineers prefer it for developing cross-platform compatible applications, which you can run on any Windows, macOS, and Linux-based mobile, desktop, and even browsers. You can use multiple languages with .NET, such as C#, F#, Visual basic, F#, Windows PowerShell, etc.

On the other hand, VB6 is the sixth version of Visual Basic Language, which engineers use for crafting robust applications.

Currently, Microsoft doesn’t offer any updates for VB6, due to which it is becoming an outdated technology and vulnerable to cyber-attacks. It is one of the oldest programming languages released by Microsoft in the 90s.

When Microsoft introduced the .NET platform, it also liberated the VB.NET with it, which was its newer version.

After this, it officially discontinuous the support for VB6. As a result, many people started modernizing their applications to a more robust and scalable .NET platform.

Unfolding the Advantages of .NET over VB Development

Let’s get more precise in understanding why .NET is better than the VB6.

  • Most software professionals prefer the .NET platform for creating high-performance business applications.
  • It has live support from Microsoft and a great community of developers and software researchers.
  • You can use multiple languages and run it across devices and operating systems.
  • Various APIs and plugins are available, which you can directly implement in your .NET solution without using any third-party or extra tool.
  • You will have access to the NuGet package manager, which can provide more than 90,000 packages for your application building.
  • You can use .NET web, mobile, desktop, microservices, cloud, machine learning, IoT, and game development.
  • It is an open-source environment, leveraging you to customize it according to your needs and business demands.

VB6 is way behind .NET in providing all these features. Migrating to .NET is the best choice.

Why and When do Developers Prefer .NET Migration?

If the VB6 application is working fine, you must be thinking, why do developers and industry experts consider updating it to . NET.

Let’s get the answer to this.

In this rapidly advancing world, every organization is moving to online platforms for maximizing their productivity and revenue, and for managing digital operations, a secure system is an essential requirement.

As per the CVE reports, VB6 is an outdated technology, and security researchers are finding more vulnerable loopholes daily.

In addition, every VB6 vulnerability has a minimum score of 9.3. Its breach can harm the organization’s reputation and market capital.

Besides the security risks, VB6 doesn’t get frequent updates. It doesn’t support exception handling, object-oriented programming, and multi-threading, which can become a primary reason for slowing down the application’s performance.

Due to all these factors, software experts appraise their clients for .net migration.

Also, as per the recent statistics, 53% of the organizations need the latest system for their internal and external operations, for which they require the support of modern technology.

Constantly, this number is increasing, and by getting aware of the advantages of .NET, enterprises are likely to pick it out as their primary technology stack.

Let’s Focus on Some Challenges you can face Before and During the Migration Procedure:

  1. The very first challenge can be the time and cost constraints. Understanding the application’s functionality, including adjoined tools and APIs, can be time-consuming. Also, finding and hiring a professional with knowledge of VB6 and the latest .NET platform can increase the budget bracket.
  2. The next challenge can be discovered, whether your VB6 application needs a feature extension or code rewriting.
  3. Redefining the fundamental application architecture can create complexities, forcing you to extend the timeline and affect the core business operations.

For preventing these challenges from occurring during your software project, you must follow the Software Development Lifecycle methodologies to identify all the crucial information.

As a result, you will have a basic understanding of the VB6 application, and it will help you effortlessly plan your project plan for a smooth migration.

When is the Right Time for VB to .NET Migration?

Now, you know the provocations in the migration process, but do you know when is the right to move from a VB6 app to an avant-garde .NET business solution.

Let’s discover it by going through every point one by one.

  • When your application is unstable and producing glitches, errors, and bugs in it.
  • When the business solution frequently crashes, the user-satisfaction rate decreases.
  • When the app takes more time to fetch information from the database, process it, and provide output to the end-user.

Roadmap for VB to .NET Migration

For migrating your VB6 application to the .NET platform, you must follow these steps. By following these stages throughout your migration process, you can assure secure data transmission and efficient app functionality.

Step #1: VB6 Application Assessment

The step in the migration process is to analyze the VB6 application. Primarily you have to assess the architecture and working of the app along with external APIs and plugins in it.

In addition, you have to test the software in different environments to get a better insight into its instability and vulnerable loopholes. Once you have gone through every component and how they are dependent on each other, you are ready to move to the next stage.

Also, focus on the below-listed components:

  • Database
  • App Content
  • Whether it’s a native or hybrid app
  • Offline functionality
  • Activities
  • Services
  • Version of VB

Step #2: Documenting Drawbacks and Creating Strategies

Once you have details about the components of the VB6 application, you should write them down and create a document for your future reference.

This document must be clear about the changes you have to perform, the code you have to change, and which .NET programming language you will use for migration. In addition, you can interview the current stakeholders to have the end-user’s perspective.

Once you have all the necessary information, you have to create a strategy on how you will move further with the overall process. You have to create a Gantt chart and assign tasks to the team members.

Designers will be working on the UI enhancement, whereas developers and software architects will be working on the performance, scalability, and quality fundamentals.

Step #3: Risk Analysis

To start the actual migration process, having insight into the risks involved in the process is an essential task.

You must know what risks can be there while migrating and after migration. You must have a look at the below-provided risks:

  • Compatibility risk for knowing whether the new .NET application will be compatible with the current system or not.
  • The security risk for evaluating the data integrity, confidentiality, non-repudiation, and availability.
  • Visibility and Control risks for the effective working of every component
  • Network-based threats, such as whether the application will work on a low bandwidth network or not. And if it can handle extensive traffic or not.

Once you know the business and technical risks, you can further face the migration process. The following procedure is to create a mitigation plan.

In the mitigation plan, you should include risks, their vulnerability level, and expected sources through which they can occur. Probably, you have to generate a risk matrix to complete this stage.

Step #4: Designing and Prototyping

Before developing a new system or modernizing the current VB6 source code to .NET, you have to design it and approve it from your client.

You have to create both high-level and low-level designs. It will help you gain better insight into the architecture, user interface, and minimal functioning of the application. In addition, specifying all the hardware requirements is also a crucial part of this migration process stage.

Furthermore, furnishing a prototype will also aid you in understanding the existing system you are going to develop. You can assure its functioning, features, and structural scalability.

Step #5: Development and Data Migration

It is the most essential and time-consuming stage of the migration process, as developers have to fabricate the overall system and integrate a database storing the recent data form.

You have to follow the prototype, low-level and high-level designs for building the business application. As a result, you can ensure that all the components, third-party APIs, plugins, and widgets work seamlessly, and users can expect a flawless experience.

In addition, while migrating, you must follow the below-listed precautions for maintaining data confidentiality, integrity, and availability.

  • Always have a backup of your data and use encryption for storing it.
  • Implement access controls on the primary assets and allow only authorized persons to access the system.
  • Have an offline backup of your data and store that particular system behind the physical locks, such as Biometric and Iris scanners.
  • Align the data policies with CIA trait, NIST, and ISO.
  • Validate the data after migration using the hash values and chain of custody.

Step #6: Testing and Fixing Errors

Testing software after its fabrication leads to finding bugs, errors, and glitches and helps the development team remove them before delivering them to the client.

In the development stage, developers perform unit testing. They fix the minor issue, and at the testing phase, testing specialists run several tests through manual and automated tools to ensure there are no vulnerable loopholes in the software.

During VB to .NET migration, your development team must perform the below software tests:

  • Functional Test
  • Non-Functional Test
  • Integration Test
  • Acceptance Test
  • Security Test
  • Performance and Usability Test

If your application passes all these tests and the results are in your favor, then only you must deliver it or deploy it for the end-users. And, if it doesn’t pass all the necessary tests, you should re-iterate the previous phases to find the gaps and fulfill them accordingly.

Step #7: Application Deployment and Maintenance

Once your application is fully-ready and meets each client’s requirements, the last but not the minor phase is handing it over.

During the hand-over procedure, you install the application on the stakeholder’s system and provide them with instructions for using it. In addition, you should give a demo to the client and consistently monitor the app’s performance.

Now, the .NET application is live and is in production. Moreover, you can offer post-development services, such as dedicated support and maintenance for sustaining the security, core operation processing, and functioning.

Rounding Up

With passing time, technology is making a significant impact on every business, and having a futuristic application is becoming a basic necessity for growth.

VB6 was a promising technology in the 90s, but now its users can only degrade your business value and increase the data breaches, instability, and downfall of the customer-satisfaction.

For improving your overall reputation and services, migrating from an old-fashioned technology to the latest platform can be your most acceptable decision. And, for having a top-notch .NET application with cutting-edge features, you can contact Positiwise Pvt Ltd, a leading .NET development company.

It promises secure data migration and its current state of components without impacting the quality of services, speed, and durability.

Migrating VB6 to .NET: A Descriptive Handbook

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