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Cool tool: Instant C# converts from VB.NET

A review of a tool that can convert VB.NET code to C#.

In the Visual Studio environment, sometimes you need a little Visual Basic, and sometimes you need a little C#, to get things done. For those cases where you've got something already implemented in VB.NET that you need in C#, you may find Tangible Software Solutions Instant C# 1.7 of great potential interest. That's because the vendor claims that it can convert nearly all VB.NET code seamlessly into C# equivalent code (they say it can handle 99%) are verified in other reports and reviews, and in my own experience with the product (a free demo edition is available to those willing to fill out a request form that requests only minimal identification and also surveys how you found out about the product, and what drives you to consider purchasing a conversion tool of some kind).

Here's a laundry list of what this great tool can do:

  • Converts VB.NET code produced using VB.NET 2002, 2003, and 2005 (including unsigned topics, operator overloading, generics, and more) into C#.
  • Instant C# runs on every version of the .NET Framework (1.0, 1.1, and even the current 2.0 beta version).
  • It's smart enough to prompt for user input when it finds references it can't resolve by itself (such as to external assemblies), allowing you to define necessary DLLs and other building blocks as needed.
  • The program makes notes when it finds changes that need review (as when converting multiple or nested looping constructs, attempting code optimizations, and so forth).
  • The program issues notifications in the form of TODO tasks when it encounters conversions it can't handle, which programmers must check and resolve on their own.

In general, those in need of a conversion tool will find Instant C#'s abilities to translate entire projects or chunks of code from VB.NET to C#, will find this product worth checking out. Its $159 price tag won't scare those away who need such services, but a couple of words of warning are in order. Don't expect an online manual or much documentation outside the FAQ that's included with the software, and be prepared to jump a few user interface hurdles. These include the product's inability to create a project directory if a target output directory doesn't already exist, and a complete lack of status or progress information while conversion is underway (other reports mention that when converting large projects, the only way to make sure Instant C# is still on the job is to check process information in Task Manager). These are pretty minor glitches, when you consider that the tool takes most of the grunt work out of code conversion.

Ed Tittel is a full-time writer and trainer whose interests include XML and development topics, along with IT Certification and information security topics. E-mail Ed at [email protected] with comments, questions, or suggested topics or tools to review.

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