Before VB 5, the web hadn't really been integrated into the Visual Basic programming infrastructure. Well, the Internet Controls were included but there was no documentation provided to help you implement the controls into your applications.
VB and the Web
With the release of VB 5 in tune with the developers' cries for web development support, more documentation was at hand. New features such as the Internet Transfer control, an updated Winsock control, hyperlink navigation, GIF and JPEG file support and Internet Component download options made developing web apps easier.
The new application wizard made life a lot easier. Not forgetting the new form templates. The inclusion of a web browser template showed that the web developers had been given what they thought they wanted.
Along with VB 5 came a whole host of API support, including the ShellExecute API. It included the capability to execute programs with their default programs, including web addresses. This made linking your program to the web much easier.
With Microsoft moving a lot of its support onto the web, everyone followed suit. Support sites went up quickly and soon software sales depended on the web. E-mail and WWW, were the two components that Microsoft had given VB developers the possibility to surge into. And surge into it they did. So much that, on the release of Internet Explorer 4, the developers were ready to make IE 4 compatible programs.
Along with IE 4 came Outlook, the new e-mail client. It hadnt changed its technologies much, so the e-mail side of programming didnt suffer with unsupported technologies. But when it came to the web, Internet Explorer 4 was far ahead of the support offered in VB 5. Therefore, the developers were making some noise again. Hence the release of more Internet connectivity in VB 6.
The new Web Class Designer that comes with VB 6 claims to 'simplify the creation of web applications'. Hopefully this will keep the web developers quiet for a while.
With the release of Windows 98 on the way, techies forecast a whole web integration Operating System as expected. This should keep the developers at bay, with IE 5 technologies much the same as IE 4.
One thing is for sure, Microsoft will keep pushing web orientated programming to keep the developers upgrading their systems to keep in touch with the latest technologies. Lets hope that VB 6 delivers what Microsoft want to see in the way of the web, and in the way of the developers' progress.
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