User Hostile User Interfaces

I have had the pleasure of trying to make the VB6 Package and Deployment wizard work.

I know that this is 10 years old but given that I had to learn Clipper earlier this year…

The package and deployment wizard is the tool supplied with VB6 to bundle up the executables and create an installation package.  This is theoretically quite straightforward until you try to make some obvious changes.  For various configuration reasons the location of the package file has moved drive.  Not a big deal – I should be able to use the UI to edit the attached resources and move them.  However you can remove exiting items but if you try to add it it complains that the file already exists.  So I go through the process and output the package creation file.  The package creation file is simply and INI file – a text document containing name=value pairs within [Section Name] blocks.  Great – a quick search and replace later and the files to good to go.  Reload the package deployment wizard and it fails to start with a 457 error.  It turns out that the PDW will write distinct entries to the file that it can’t display.  If you have items that have repeated keys that differ only by case then it will not load.  Previously this had been hidden due to them being on different drives – after the search and replace the names mix up.  It takes a lot of sorting of sections and careful comparisons to eliminate the duplicates.

Fully service packed applications at version 6 need to be more stable than this.

VB6 References are also a nightmare.  You use the reference form to select the new location to set them.  However until you close and reopen the Reference list the origonal location is displayed.  Great example of WYSAWYG.

VB6 Build before debug – this will happily say that the application is fine.  Try the make option and it is a different story.

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