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Long term future of the Auto FE Updater and Visual Basic 6

This utility is written in Visual Basic 6 which was released in 1998.   As I started working on this utility in 2000 this decision made a lot of sense then.  So in one sense it is getting quite long in the tooth.  However it still works and works well in Windows 10.  There is one major concern in dealing with the future of Visual Basic 6, the runtime.

Visual Basic 6 runtime

The Visual Basic 6 runtime is included with Windows 10 and the Auto FE Updater works just fine in Windows 10.   While there has been some occasional discussion about Microsoft dropping the runtime it hasn't yet happened.   There is still lots of software, particularly in corporate environments, still running VB6.

Now even if the runtime isn't included in a Windows version then you can include the runtime in the same folder in which your VB 6.0 exe is located. The VB 6.0 runtime can be downloaded here but not all of it needs to be redistributed with your app.   The required file is a 1.4 Mb file so that's easy to download and use by putting it on the server in the same folder as the Auto FE Updater program.  Of course your IT department might not like that solution but then the runtime is digitally signed by Microsoft.

Side note:  Notice how much smaller the runtime is than the .Net framework. 1.4 Mb vs how many hundreds of megabytes needing patches just about every month.

64 bit operating systems

The Auto FE Updater works fine in 64 bit operating systems and should continue to do so for many years to come in the Windows on Windows 32 bit environment. 

VB.Net or C#

The problem with VB.Net, C# or any other current Microsoft solution is that they require the MS Framework, massive (by comparison) runtimes and so on.    I was told by experience C# folks, including fellow MVPs, that you pretty much have to ship your VB.Net or C# solution complete with an install set of files.  As this would require IT staff to install this becomes exceedingly undesirable.

C or C++

This is also a possibility as these products can easily create stand alone executables which contain the appropriate C++ runtime.  I am considering porting the Auto FE Updater to C++ in stages.   Again this would be a lot of work for, at this current time, no benefit.


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