Visual Basic

Technical Infrastructure

Historically, in the mainframe world, we have seen relatively slow evolution of the technical infrastructure and long project-delivery times. This slower pace allowed developers to implement a technical strategy that used a proven technical infrastructure for major system components. The same sort of infrastructure must be established to develop robust systems in Visual Basic 6. Visual Basic 6 Enterprise Edition provides the opportunity for a powerful and flexible development environment, but only if this flexibility is designed into the project. It will be a hefty investment to get it right, and a very expensive mistake to get it wrong.

The technical infrastructure includes the hardware, the network, the operating systems, and the tools. All the elements of the infrastructure interact and are constantly changing. This interaction and change is one of the biggest risks. You must work out a method for developing successful systems in this environment.

Visual Basic has recently gone through three releases (4, 5, and 6), all with order-of-magnitude changes in complexity that require very different approaches to development. We've seen Microsoft Windows 95/98, Microsoft Windows NT, and the Internet change the operating environment. Distributed objects and open host operating systems are a reality. Hardware continues to become faster and less expensive. Utility packages such as word processors and spreadsheets have become development tools. The legacy environment, together with these and other tools, forms an ever-changing development infrastructure.

You must be sure of the robustness and performance of the infrastructure under the stresses of live running. If the infrastructure is not proven, then prove it! And keep on proving it!

Business Environment

The business world that our systems support is generally becoming more volatile and is demanding new systems of greater complexity in shorter time frames. We need to develop systems in the context of a corporate business systems architecture that allows rapidly developed systems to integrate and form a basis for future change and development. Systems such as this will help us manage the problems that occur when rapid development approaches are applied to large projects.

Change Management

You need to anticipate technical and business changes. Databases grow and need restructuring, and underlying system software changes. You should build applications with an architecture that can accommodate change.

Small, simple applications that deliver benefits quickly are preferable to monolithic applications, but the combination of small and very large applications should also provide the same benefit. You need to anticipate the growth of applications-organic growth is natural in successful applications, and you should allow for it.