Welp, with the release of SharpDevelop 0.99b, the #develop team has redeemed themselves a bit. I can't seem to get the IDE to use ProFont Windows (a good font for tiny letters) working, but that's a minor complaint now that autocomplete and the RAD form designer seem to be happy again.

I suppose the issue here is awfully poor product testing. Each milestone release of #dev that I touch seems, in my experience, to have some pretty major, show-stopping bugs. Though it's a beta now, sure, this sort of release/deluge with bugs/really release cycle needs to stop soon. Once the stopgap comes out, though, things usually behave a bit better.

About all it's lacking -- and what would matter from a VB6 veteran's position -- is the "auto-de-VB6-ifier" that VS.NET has. For example, typing keystrokes that literally would look like:

msgbox "smack"

... automatically becomes...


... which is proper VB.NET syntax (the first, though valid in VB6, absolutely isn't in VB.NET). A similar autodeVB6ifier example is the following literal code snippet:

while intCount < 5
    intCount = intCount + 1

... gets its wend (a VB6 term) changed to End While automatically. That's nice.

VS.NET also implicitly imports the Microsoft.VisualBasic namespace, that includes convenience functions like "MsgBox" in the first place, so code going f/ VS.NEt to #dev won't work "out of the box". Kinda sneaky, I suppose.

Tried importing a decently large VS.NET solution using the "Import Project" function in the file menu, and things went fairly well. A reference to the MS Internet Control in some UserControls were dropped and I wasn't able to look at my UI objects in the #dev GUI RAD, but that's something to be expected, I suppose. I'd also like to see some IDE somewhere pick up a GUI RAD that uses some sort of layout management tool (you know, like this thing), but that's a personal beef, I suppose. Lack of IDE integration with Visual SourceSafe (so lost in the import and not there to hook back up at all) is a more universally applicable complaint for a schmoe considering a switch.

#dev also has a number of rough edges. I've had 0.99b seemingly lock up saving preferences, but it ended up being a screen painting bug. It takes 2.5x the RAM VS.NET does with fewer features [that I use, at the very least]. Most actions seem to take longer (open a file, etc) than they do in VS.NET. That said, autocomplete seems to finally be about as fast as VS.NET, and you can essentially make the two IDEs look about the same as each other as far as windows now, making the transition easier (and showing #dev has as good an instrument panel as VS.NET now).

You can essentially leave work one day using the VB6 IDE, have your infrastructure guys come in to uninstall it & install VS.NET, and come back the next day and not miss a beat. #dev is hardly there yet, nor is it necessarily trying to be. Right now, though, it seems to have become a passable .NET IDE -- both VB.NET & C# now -- again. We'll see once I start hooking it up to some large projects again and see if it chokes like it did before.