Taking the Challenge

by Gary Wisniewski

Visual Basic 4.0 is a real departure from past versions of Visual Basic. Iíve been using VB since Version 1, and this release is providing features to solve problems of a different nature. Prior releases were laying the groundwork by enhancing the feature set to include the necessary tools for full scale application development. Version 4.0 opens a new chapter, attempting to solve long-overdue issues such as modular development, reusability, and integration.

Most importantly, Visual Basic 4.0 gives every Visual Basic programmer the ability to become a tool builder, rather than a tool user. With the new VB4 classes, anyone can build a reusable object. Anyone can create a black-box package which they can distribute for others to use. Many people will now be able to step over the threshold from being a component user to a component builder.

This is an important step. One which will challenge our thinking, and force us to consider ways of standardizing the building blocks we use in our applications. Smart developers will begin to think of their applications as containing "building blocks". The really smart ones will design them in such a way real, resellable business objects will emerge. In time, people will build accounting building-blocks, analysis building-blocks, and myriads of other components which can be reused and even resold. All this is laying there in front of us on our VB4 CDROMs.

Many VB programmers will long for the simpler, quieter days. But, itís important that serious professionals accept the challenge of creating applications based upon a new model of reusability. Though it may be more difficult, and there are many stumbling blocks and new ideas, the benefits are worth it.

These ideas arenít new, but this is the first time that such power has been available in such a widely-used, easy-to-understand environment. By accepting the challenge of creating better, reusable components, weíll save time, save money, and increase the reliability of our wares. Step up to the challenge. The time has come.

Written by: Gary Wisniewski
Aug 1995