February 2002 Newsletter

Hi Folks

Hope you've had a good month. Spring is right around the corner!

Here's the news for February.

John Smiley

New News....

1. The future of VB6?
2. Buy VB.Net Standard
3. Buy Visual Studio.Net Professional
4. Learn to Program with VB.NET book now available
5. VB.Net class starts Monday, March 15
6. VB.Net Page created
7. 10 Free VB.Net books---don't forget to post a review
8. C# draft complete
9. Books page updated
10. Visual Basic ListServer for Beginners
11. Visual Basic ListServer
Web Site is undergoing a housecleaning
13. Visual Basic 6 Page updated
14. Java Page updated
15. Associates Page updated
. Microsoft Certified Counts
. Microsoft announces Java to C# converter

Old News...

18. Resumes Page Updated
19. Transcender for Sale
20. Free Articles
21. Student Projects
22. Kevin Smiley's Campaign to feed the hungry

 1. The Future of VB6

It's really been an interesting week and a half. 

VB.Net was announced last week, and just about everything reference to VB6 on the Microsoft Website is gone. Amazon.com is full of black covered VB.Net books. Everything is .Net, .Net, .Net. 

The question that must be answered now is "What will happen to Vb6".

A few months ago I mentioned that Microsoft had announced intentions to 'support' both VB6 and VB.net simultaneously. For more on that announcement, check this link which contains the text of an interview with Microsoft's Ari Bixhorn:


The question, of course, is what does 'support' mean. The article above indicates that means Microsoft will continue, into the near future, to provide Service Packs for Visual Basic 6, but I think the handwriting is on the wall. Microsoft has a huge investment in the .Net world--it's hard to believe that much, if anything, will be done with VB6.

So what does that mean?

I've read some articles, from people with a crystal ball I guess, in which it is suggested that VB6 may stick around for years, much the same way that dBase for DOS has hung around. Like VB6, dBase for DOS was a great development environment, with zillions of lines of written code (some of which I support to this day). A google search I just conducted came back with 89,200 hits for dbase+DOS.

I lament the passing of VB6, only because I fear that VB.Net will not attract the new programmers the way that prior versions of VB did. In the back of my mind I think that a bunch of elitist, geeky, nerdy, bithead, propeller heads are relishing the thought that no longer might everyone, (8 years through 90, bread deliveryman through electrical engineer, not too smart through genius) be able to learn Visual Basic. Ultimately, I may need to alter my much repeated statement that 'I can teach anyone to program'. 

But it's not only the new programmer that might suffer.

It's estimated that there are about 6 million work Visual Basic programmers world wide (I would have thought more). How many of them migrate to VB.Net will be interesting. I'm seeing estimates of 1 million, with some of the remaining 5 million moving to Java, some jumping to the new C# language, and some just staying put.

I'll keep you posted as to my personal crystal ball reading as time progresses.


2. VB.Net Standard Edition is now available for sale

As a writer of an Introductory book on VB.Net, whose target audience frequently includes kids, retirees, and a bunch of folks without a great deal of money, one of my fears was that VB.Net, when finally made available for sale, would be overpriced and therefore prohibitive to the people likely to buy my book (You may recall that Microsoft permitted me to distribute a 'free' version of Visual Basic 6 with my Learn to Program with Visual Basic 6 book--no such luck this time around.)

My fears have been allayed---to some degree. 

Apparently, VB.Net will be sold in a variety of ways. Like VB6, it will be sold as part of Visual Studio, and also as a stand alone product. One edition of the stand alone product, VB.Net Standard, is now for sale, and it's retailing for about $100. Academic pricing is available which pushes it down to under $50---and this pricing scheme is roughly equivalent to the price for the old VB6 Learning Edition.

In case you want to run out and buy a copy, I have a link on my VB.Net links page to some sources of supply


Before you buy it, please be sure to check the System Requirements for VB.Net


---one major one is that you can't be running Windows 95, 98 or ME.

3. Visual Studio.Net Professiona Edition is now available for sale

Visual Studio.Net Professional Edition is now available for sale.

Unlike VB.Net Standard Edition, which is just VB.Net, Visual Studio.Net comes with 

If you are looking to learn VB.Net, this package is really more than you need, and the price tag for Visual Studio can be quite hire.

 I have a link on my VB.Net links page to some sources of supply


Before you buy it, please be sure to check the System Requirements for Visual Studio.Net


---one major one is that you can't be running Windows 95, 98 or ME.

4. My Learn to Program with VB.NET book is now available

My latest book, Learn to Program with Visual Basic.Net is now available. 

You'll need to have a copy of Visual Basic.Net to follow along with the book, and that product is now available for sale at surprisingly affordable prices (See Items #2 and #3 above)

The book is available from me, from Amazon, from Barnes and Noble.com and from you favorite bookstore. Read more about the book, and buy it online if you desire, by following this link


to the book's support page.

5. VB.Net class starts Monday, March 15

I don't know if anyone is interested, but I'll be offering the first VB.Net class that I know of anywhere starting March 15th. For more information, follow this link:


For a list of all my classes, seminars and study groups, check this link:


6. VB.Net Web Page created

I've just created a VB.Net Web page. Here it is:


7. 10 Free VB.Net books--don't forgte to post a review

On Turesday, February 19th, my publisher, Osborne/McGraw Hill, in order to get the word out about what they feel is an extraordinarily good VB.Net book, asked me to pass along an offer of a free VB.Net book in exchange for the recipient reading the book, and posting an honest, unbiased review on Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.com.

The first 10 people who responded (and I apologize because my mail server failed to get the notice to everyone) should be receiving their books shortly. When you finish the book, please follow this link to post a review on Amazon


and this link to post a review on Barnes and Noble.com


8. C# Draft complete

I'm happy to report that I've completed my draft of my upcoming 

Learn to Program with C#

book. My thanks to those who participated in my C# Study group. Look for the book in your favorite book store in May of 2002.

9. Books page updated

Speaking of books, web page reorganization, etc, etc, I've just re-worked my books page


Now, from one spot, you can see each of the books I've written, and find links to each one's support page which includes, among other things...

10. Visual Basic ListServer for Beginners

I may have mentioned this group before, but some of you may not have seen it.

This is one of the best mailing lists around for Visual Basic (a few more members than my helpwithvb list). It caters to beginner programmers. Signup by following this link.


11. Visual Basic ListServer

I may have mentioned this group before, but some of you may not have seen it.

This is one of the best lists around for Visual Basic (4000 members). It caters to intermediate to advanced programmers. Signup by following this link:


12. Web Site Housekeeping

Several people suggested that my Web Site needed some overhauling and reorganization, and since I finished my draft last week, that's I've been doing. If you haven't had a chance to view it lately, start here and see what I mean...


13. Visual Basic 6 Page Updated

As part of my general web housekeeping, I've updated and reorganized my Visual Basic 6 Web Page. Please be sure to check it out.


14. Java Page Updated

As part of my general web housekeeping, I've updated and reorganized my Java Web Page. Please be sure to check it out.


15. Associates Page Updated

Just updated my Associates Page.


My Associates Page contains listing for people I know personally who offer what I consider computer related services, such as programming, consulting or web design.

16. Microsoft Certification Counts

Ever wonder how many Microsoft Certified individuals there are--the numbers may startle you. Pulled this out of my latest issue of Microsoft Certified Professional Magazine.

Obviously the lower the number, the less the competition.

** MCPs by The Numbers

  728,448 - MCP (Microsoft Certified Professional--1 Exam required)
  426,273 - MCSE
   27,428 - MCSD
   12,362 - MCT (Microsoft Certified Trainer)
   44,506 - MCDBA
  229,081 - MCP+Internet
    1,901 - MCP+Site Building
   12,293 - MCSE+Internet
1,482,292 - Total Certifications

17. Microsoft Anncounces Java to C# Converter

Some of you have heard about this, but to many of you it's a new idea.

** Microsoft Releases Beta of Java-2-C# Conversion Tool
The new tool called the Java Language Conversion Assistant (JLCA)
is designed to take Java code and convert it to C#; Microsoft
licensed the technology for JLCA from ArtinSoft. By Scott Bekker

18. Resumes page updated

Just a reminder,  I still continue to maintain a Resumes page at


Since I started this page last year, a number of people have obtained employment through it. I encourage you to submit your 
resume to me for posting (I'm sorry that I can't proofread, correct, comment on them), and I also encourage you to scan the 
resumes if you need to hire someone for an IT position.

A recent addition, Tom Daugherty, would make a fine fit in any organization looking for a talented, highly motivated web designer.

19. Transcender for sale

Transcender is the best Certification exam simulation package I have seen (at least in my opinion).

Just a reminder that I am authorized to provide discounted Transcender pricing to those I teach or mentor. I can get 
discounted Transcenders for any individual packages--although sometimes you'll do better buying directly from Transcender 
themselves for some of their bundles.

Delivery can be anywhere from a week to 2 weeks once you place your order--unfortunately, Transcender ships to me and then I 
ship to you. For this reason, I can't accept international orders.

If you are interested, check out my Transcender page


20. Free Web Articles

As you know, I write free monthly articles on a variety of beginner (and now intermediate) Visual Basic topics.

You can  access all of my articles via this location


21. Student Projects

Just a reminder that you can view my students' VB projects at:

You can check out Fran's Flowers project at


and Sneaker Projects at


As always, my thanks to the students for graciously sharing these projects with everyone. They're beautiful works of art--I 
hope you enjoy them.

22. Kevin Smiley's Campaign to feed the hungry

My son Kevin, as part of a church project, has asked me to direct you to a website that he's created in his efforts to feed 
the hungry.


If you are so inclined, feel free to visit and check it out.

Many thanks for Mark Weiss for his generous donation last month!


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Revised - February 14, 2002