Microsoft unveiled its plans for Visual Basic 6.0 and Visual Studio 6.0 last week, centering on the company's Component Object Model technology.
Version 6.0 of Visual Basic brings new database connectivity features to the tool, including a new COM TI (Transaction Integrator) module for access to legacy CICS/IMS systems, as well as the ability to design and publish using HTML and Dynamic HTML (DHTML).
Microsoft has finally listened to developers' calls for more integration with non-Microsoft databases and systems, and VB 6.0 now includes an integrated Visual Database Tools and Data Environment Designer to enable the visual design of Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server-based databases, the creation of data access queries, and the sharing of data-aware components, and through support for ActiveX Data Objects (ADO) VB 6.0 can now access data from almost any source according to Microsoft.
"This is a key driver for us: it overcomes the problems of scalability in database access (that were in VB 5.0)," said Tim Carmichael, technical director at DAT technologies, whose flagship product Citadel, a Year 2000 tool, was written in VB6.0. "The visual methods increase productivity, and overall I think VB has moved on a tremendous leap in what it enables us to write."
"Microsoft is finally addressing legacy software and systems," commented Neil Ward-Dutton, senior analyst at Ovum. "Up till now, you've been working on an island if you were using VB; it now gives you access to Oracle, SAP, and CICS/IMS transactions. This is huge news. It's also the first time Microsoft has implemented modelling of independent databases."
Visual Studio 6.0 lets developers create and reuse components based on COM.
The product will be available in the third quarter, and pricing will be announced then.
Visual Basic 6.0 will be available in Learning, Professional and Enterprise editions as a standalone product in the third quarter of this year, and will also be available as part of the Visual Studio 6.0 development system.
Pricing has not yet been set.
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