VB6 Annoyances

I’m back working on good old VB6 this week, and after using nothing but VB.NET for several months, going backwards is really frustrating!

Over the last 4 days I have continued to discover more and more reasons to hate using VB6, not because of the actual syntax of the language, but because of flaws in the development environment itself.

Here is the list of my top personal VB6 annoyances

1. No mouse scrolling. It works in Visual Studio 6’s C, but not in VB. Why? I have no idea, but it is bloody annoying! The scroll wheel on a mouse was very easy to get used to when it first became available, but once you get used to it, it is very difficult to go back to life without it! I’m sure everyone who has used a scroll mouse knows how sucky it is to go back to a mouse without a scroll wheel, you keep running your finger over the empty spot where it should be and it’s terribly frustrating. The problem with VB6 is that the scroll is still there (providing you have a scroll mouse, and why wouldn’t you?) but when you wheel it nothing happens. After a week of using nothing but VB6 I still keep trying to scroll, it’s too hard a habit to break. A few times I actually thought my computer had frozen up because I was wheeling and nothing was happening. The amount of useless wheeling I have done this week probably accumulates to about half an hour of wasted time. Seriously. All I know is, everyone agrees that this is the single most annoying thing about using VB6.

2. No collapsible region thingies. Now my buddy programmer doesn’t use this feature in .NET, but I love it. Every function or sub I am not using gets clicked shut, and groups of subs are separated into regions and kept shut as well. I can get a 3000 line program condensed down into a page and a half, and I love it. In fact I’m a bit obsessive about keeping everything shut, I do a lot of clicking on those + and – symbols, like I always keep all the programs I have opened minimised unless I am using them, I’m picky about that too. Actually .NET bothers me in the way that when you open a project all the subs will be visible again. The first thing I do after loading a project is click everything shut. However I am complaining about VB6 today, so I’ll get back to the subject. I like being able to make stuff smaller and VB6 doesn’t let me, end of story.

3. You can’t comment out a huge block of code at once. .NET has a lovely feature where you can highlight an area, then comment or uncomment it with one click of an icon. VB6 forces you to comment out each line one at a time, and I hate it! The amount of ‘ key, down key, home key, pushing I had had to do it ridiculous. At least in C you can start a comment area with a nice */ and not have to mark every line, hell even HTML can do it! Commenting out large sections sucks so much that I usually cut them, paste them into notepad, then put them back in later, rather than just commenting them out.

4. It’s not that smart. Ok, sometimes .NET drives me nuts cause it’s too smart, I comment a line out and a bunch of warnings appear to let me know, but I already know cause I did it on purpose and if it would just wait a few more clicks then everything will be alright again… But at least it will tell you if you have called a function that doesn’t exist so you can find out before you crash your program trying to access it. It also would be nice if it could indent stuff for me, and put ‘end if’ in there automatically, and all the other stuff I have become to lazy to do myself because .NET does it all for you.

5. I like the tab thing .NET has going where you can see every item you have opened at the top of the work area. It’s nice to be able to click on the tabs to switch between them instead of having to ctrl-tab, and I like being able to see what I have opened. This going back to my obsession with having everything closed again, after debugging in VB6 I go through all my open pages twice to make sure there are none opened that I will not be using and need to shut.

6. I like to have the line numbers down the side of the page, I don’t think Visual Studio 6 can do that. At least I have never figured out how to make them appear.

7. Every time I open a project it opens at visual studios default save location. I don’t save my stuff there; I have never opened anything from there, why can’t it remember where I opened my last workspace from and take me straight there? I know it knows where I have been cause it can make a recent list. It’s insistence that I open things from it’s stupid default location makes me angry.

That’s all I can think of for now… but I’m sure I have a few more!

A few of these things might be solvable by changing so settings, but as I am only going to be working in VB6 for another week or so (hopefully) I don’t think it is worth my time to try and work it out. Ah well, enough complaining and back to my VB forms.

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