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VBUC 8.1: First step to Azure DevOps

by John Browne, on Sep 10, 2018 8:00:00 AM

Today we feature two announcements: one from an established global leader in development tools and the other one is from Microsoft.

[grins slyly]

Visual Basic Upgrade Companion version 8.1 is now baked, frosted, cooled on the cake rack, and ready to be sliced. So what's new?

Veni, vidi, migrati

Our chief focus with this release was improving language mapping from VB6 to C#. This has been, and continues to be, the most challenging part of creating good automation to move from what was a sort of Dodge City programming language to one that more closely resembles Copenhagen. No rules to lots of rules. With .NET you have to check your guns at the city limits and no more shooting up the saloon on Friday night.

One of the things that made VB6 popular was how you could be pretty inconsistent and it would try to figure out what you really meant and do something. Sometimes that "something" was dead wrong and you'd have to figure that out and correct it. But C# doesn't play by those rules--it wants consistency and clear intent. 

So some of the areas we've made improvements to include inconsistent collection usages (understanding types), intrinsic object alignment support, enumerations, nested loop exits, and more.

All of this adds up to continuous improvements (CI) in the migration engine to make the generated code closer to optimal so you don't have to touch it. And as we internally move closer to a CI/CD model for our own products, these incremental releases will be less big bang and more fine-tuning and polishing. We want everyone to know when they try out VBUC they are always downloading the latest bits.

What about Microsoft?

Today Microsoft is announcing Azure DevOps which further cements their dev tools support for all things both Windows and open source. Both Team Foundation Server (TFS) and Visual Studio for Teams (VSTS) are being rolled up under this new branding, which includes:

  • Azure Boards (kanban planning tools)
  • Azure Repos (YUGE Git repos are possible)
  • Azure Pipelines (more below)
  • Azure Test Plans
  • and Azure Artifacts (package mgmt).

Of this, some of it is re-naming existing bits but a couple of things are new under the Azure Pipelines name. For one thing, you can build, test, and deploy virtually any language, any OS, and any cloud host from one place. Want Ruby on Linux hosted on AWS? Azure Pipelines will let you do it. 

Free Build Minutes!

This is pretty sweet: if you have an open source project you get unlimited build minutes on Azure Pipelines. No kidding, free, unlimited builds on Azure, for any OS, any target, any cloud provider. Let that sink in for a minute. This is not the "Windows! Windows! Windows!" Microsoft of the prior administration.

Want to know more?

  • Tomorrow, Tuesday Sept. 11, you can see a Azure DevOps keynote with Donovan Brown and Jamie Cool on Channel 9 (8:00 am Pacific Time).
  • On Monday, Sept. 17, Jeff Fritz will do a "Six Hour Mixer Workshop + Q&A" hosted on Jeff's Mixer and Twitch channels. 8:30 am to 2:30 pm Pacific time.
  • Sept. 12 will see the kickoff of the .NET Conference and on the 13th at 2 pm Pacific is "DevOps for .NET Teams with VSTS" (title subject to change). The entire three-day conference is free and online only and you can watch it here.
  • And last but not least, our buddies over at Progress and PreEmptive Solutions have some announcements related to this news today. So give them some love, ok?

Wrapping up

How do VBUC and Azure DevOps fit together? Think of VBUC 8.1 as the first step in your path to Azure DevOps. VBUC can take you to C# and .NET, and from there WebMAP can take you all the way to a cloud-native web app, ready to move your dev process to CI/CD and full DevOps. Like Waterfall to Agile, CI/CD & DevOps are a huge sea-change in the world of software development. Time to get on board and ride that wave.



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