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Businesses in my area are using Visual Basic + win 2000 software

I regularly shop at a place which didn't use to have computers for handling their sales, and would give me handwritten receipts. Today, I noticed that they gave me a computer generated receipt. I checked on it and saw a 'power by xxx.com'. Deciding to check on xxx.com, I saw that they are selling software for almost every industry imaginable, from banking, to accounting, to Point of sale, and even medical software. And, all of their software lists Windows 2000 - XP and visual basic as the requirement.

That's ancient, and I bet the software is horrible, but I bet the businesses don't care and still give them a ton of money for their crappy software, just because it works.
IdeaSkeer Send private email
Sunday, November 17, 2013
 
 
The Earnest Doe agricultural and general countryside supplies people in the UK have some truly ancient computer systems.

I kid you not, we're talking green text only, zero graphics, no mouse, and I don't just mean a crude interface, that's it, that's as good as it gets. That's the operating system.

Whatever system it is, it's not capable of email so they send faxes or pick up the phone. He showed me a large cardboard box full of faxes sent and another box for faxes received.  They have about 20 branches and each branch sends around 50 faxes a day.

I asked why they've never upgraded?

"You think Windows is more reliable than this?"




AC
Reluctantlyregistered Send private email
Sunday, November 17, 2013
 
 
Well its not crappy if it works. Clearly.

This is basic thing you need to internalize. Software does not have to be latest and greatest and it does not have to use latest technology as long as it solves the problem customer has. That's ALL customers care about. If it saves them money one way or another that's all that matters. Windows 2000 or VB, nobody cares...
Blocky Send private email
Sunday, November 17, 2013
 
 
I was basing the crappy comment on the choice of visual basic. Most apps made in visual basic tend to qualify for ending up on thedailywtf.com
IdeaSkeer Send private email
Sunday, November 17, 2013
 
 
However, I think that his apps running on Win 2000 - XP is probably an advantage, since businesses don't like to spend money on the latest computers. Now they can buy a cheap old computer and run their POS system on that.
IdeaSkeer Send private email
Sunday, November 17, 2013
 
 
In Italy there is a software house that sells "specialized" software for a lot of different niches. It's written in vb and it is very basic: each version has some field name changes, a different report... Just cosmetic changes...
Imagine a version for book collectors, one for dvd collectors, another for vhs, then for cd, vinyl... Name it...

 They sell them also in supermarkets for about 20 euros...
fp615 Send private email
Sunday, November 17, 2013
 
 
People probably think their software is brilliant. Do they make a lot of money?
IdeaSkeer Send private email
Sunday, November 17, 2013
 
 
I have friends working for over 10+ years with a company developing applications in VB6. They work on a backend service that handles hundreds of transactions per second.

They get paid very well...maybe because there aren't a lot of VB6 developers out there :)
Jose Send private email
Sunday, November 17, 2013
 
 
I don't know why they would put down visual basic as a requirement, all versions of windows have the vb runtime built in and even back when it wasn't, you just distributed it with your software.
Other than that it looks to me like they haven't updated their requirements, that's all.
That software must be highly reliable, if it's out there for the last 12, 13 years and still getting new customers. That store probably got it on the recommendation of other LONG TIME users.
Problem with end users is that they don't know that vb6 doesn't fully support OO programming.
Why don't you whistle up something far superior in c# (shouldn't take long right?) and blow it out of the water?
BTW if their software is written in vb6 it'll run just fine on Windows 8.1 (64 bit).
Drummer Send private email
Monday, November 18, 2013
 
 
Actually they've only been in business since 2-3 years ago, so its new software written in VB.
IdeaSkeer Send private email
Monday, November 18, 2013
 
 
> Why don't you whistle up something far superior in c# (shouldn't take long right?) and blow it out of the water?

You know, I'd really like to, but that's only part of the equation. I don't have any contacts with the business owners who'd make the decision on something like this, so they're not likely to pay much attention to a one man operation like me.
IdeaSkeer Send private email
Monday, November 18, 2013
 
 
"Most apps made in visual basic tend to qualify for ending up on thedailywtf.com" -- Are you kidding?  VB was one of the biggest coding languages in existence for years!  Millions of reputable, good apps were written with it, and they still run flawlessly today, even in Windows 8.1 (as mentioned above).  As Joel said: "software doesn't rust".
PSB136 Send private email
Monday, November 18, 2013
 
 
There's a common misconception that apps need to be written in the latest whiz-bang language on the latest OS out there.  It doesn't, and even more so if it's an offline app that's never connected to the internet.

Laugh at this if you will: a retail point-of-sale app for generating a tax invoice for customers, that's running on a Commodore 64 from the 1980s, is just as reliable as Win 8.1 doing it.  In fact, even more reliable in some ways because no damn CryptoBlocker virus is going to get in and do damage.  ;)
PSB136 Send private email
Monday, November 18, 2013
 
 
My main application, running from 1987, written in Clipper, is still running in text-mode, monochrome text-mode. I'm now using Harbour (an open source version of Clipper). I stopped to be a full time programmer years ago....

My cousin still writes code in VB6. I called me about 18 months ago since a web site he wrote asp code for was going under major rewrite with all the last buzzword technology (it seemed to me to be at Amazon...) and all data was passed with web services, stored in both sql and nosql db, scala, python and another language were used and a lot of stuff being written.
18 months later the asp code is still running....


I just had a talk with another user of harbour. He also runs text-mode applications on linux, mac and windows (from the exact same source code, harbour is multiplatform) in mission critical 24/7 shops.

If software works, do not rewrite !
fp615 Send private email
Monday, November 18, 2013
 
 
As far as I can tell travel agents the world over still use green screen computers for airline bookings. Not a graphic in sight, and all command line based. I think once you know a system like this it is far quicker than navigating screens and menus to find what you want - although no doubt there is a big learning curve.
I have no idea how old the system is but it has got to be decades - and I imagine updating that would be an epic undertaking with questionable productivity gains - which is probably why they haven't bothered.
Anon123 Send private email
Monday, November 18, 2013
 
 
@anon123

Exactly, and the system has a power you can't replicate with fancy GUIs.

a13decfconyc

asks for flights on 13 dec from rome fiumicino (fco) to nyc (it may be any airport in New York). Front ends like expedia translate the queries into these sort of commands... I heard that some systems now accepts xml but I've been long time out of business. 

Of course, the system is all mainframe based, but there are forntends for web queries that use mysql (search for mysql+sabre)
fp615 Send private email
Monday, November 18, 2013
 
 
Nice to see an actual command. It might not be user-friendly but its easy to see how quick it could be - I can't imagine any GUI, however slick, coming close to the speed you can query using those sorts of commands. Those extra 10-20 seconds a query could add up fast too, especially if you've got someone indecisive in front of you in the queue!
Anon123 Send private email
Monday, November 18, 2013
 
 
Yet, somehow, it seems like whenever you ask for anything at all at the airport, the check-in agent types and types and types, command after command after command. Same thing with rental cars. I often wonder what they could possibly by typing, it seems like maybe they have to re-enter the  whole passenger list every time someone changes a seat.
GregT Send private email
Monday, November 18, 2013
 
 
yeah it would be a lot better to give them lots of money for software that does't work?

XP was still being sold in 2008 (a mere 5 years ago) for all the people that didn't want Vista. Seems like getting 10 years out of POS system doesn't seem that unreasonable.  Most medical offices I have been to also have really old software. It works for them and why should they spend 10k to upgrade from something that works. Software is a solution not a goal.


--
That's ancient, and I bet the software is horrible, but I bet the businesses don't care and still give them a ton of money for their crappy software, just because it works.
Foobar Send private email
Monday, November 18, 2013
 
 
Drummer: "Problem with end users is that they don't know that vb6 doesn't fully support OO programming."

That is irrelevant to end users.

I remember an assignment in the operating systems course on my degree where we were to write a program in Java for comparing various processor allocation algorithms.

I would have used OOP if it made any sense to do so, but I did not see how it would.  I ended up writing procedural code.  My program worked great.

Another student tried going the OOP route.  He ended up having to scrap it and trying again.  He did not complete the assignment.  This other student was not a struggling programmer, but OO did not fit the particular assignment.

Foobar: "That's ancient, and I bet the software is horrible, but I bet the businesses don't care and still give them a ton of money for their crappy software, just because it works."

If the software works, then it is doing what the user wants.  That makes it not horrible to the end user.  Sorry (but not much) if your tender sense of aesthetics is feeling hurt.

From My Sig Collection:
legacy (adj) - A pejorative term used in the computer industry     
meaning "it works."

Sincerely,

Gene Wirchenko
Gene Wirchenko Send private email
Monday, November 18, 2013
 
 
There was a thread I saw somewhere recently about how big chain retail stores still often use 1982 era green/amber text style "dumb terminals" hooked up to a mainframe to do inventory, etc.  Apparently it "just works". 

(Ahh, I pine for some aspects of those times, like talking on the telephone and having the connection be perfectly clear 100% of the time and calls spontaneously fading out or hanging up approximately never.  I also pine for PINE.)
Racky Send private email
Monday, November 18, 2013
 
 
We do the same thing today. We just replaced the dumb terminal with a web browser and the mainframe with a server.

The only big problem with using old tech is that some day you have to upgrade and it can get painful if you 20 years out of date.
--
There was a thread I saw somewhere recently about how big chain retail stores still often use 1982 era green/amber text style "dumb terminals" hooked up to a mainframe to do inventory, etc.  Apparently it "just works". 

(Ahh, I pine for some aspects of those times, like talking on the telephone and having the connection be perfectly clear 100% of the time and calls spontaneously fading out or hanging up approximately never.  I also pine for PINE.
Foobar Send private email
Monday, November 18, 2013
 
 
I received the confirmation that in a 3000+ person company, all the processing for presence in the office (entrance, exit, personal leave, sickness leave, etc) are still done with a visual basic 3 (three) program. This is due to a strong dependency from a component that was never  updated.....
fp615 Send private email
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
 
 

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