Visual Basic Love

by Miguel de Icaza

Today we announced the support of Visual Basic.NET in Mono.

Visual Basic is still one of the most used languages in the Windows world, and with this release we hope to assist a large segment of the population to bring those applications to Unix with Mono.

Rolf developed the new compiler. The new compiler is fascinating because it is a VB 8 compiler (this means that it supports generics), but also because it is written in VB itself. This compiler was sponsored last summer by the Google Summer of Code (2006 edition).

The compiler on my laptop takes 12 seconds to compile itself (78,000 lines of code).

The new runtime (for 1.0 and 2.0) was developed by Boris Kirzner, Guy Cohen and Rafael Mizrahi at Mainsoft and just like the VB compiler it was written in VB, and it is made up of roughly 17,000 lines of code.

As some people have pointed out, the compiler and the runtime are not enough to run applications. A lot of the portability will be mandated by your API consumption. If your application is based on .NET 1.0, you should be ready to use Mono now. If you are using .NET 2.0, you will need to check whether everything your application needs is supported by using Moma the Mono Migration Analyzer.

Our 2.0 support these days for ASP.NET and the core is passable. It is not 100% there, but the ASP.NET Starter Kits should run, and so should applications like mojoPortal.

Posted on 20 Feb 2007