twinBASIC Update: October 10, 2021

Highlights include an extended preview of the yet-to-be-released form designer and a spirited discussion about whether to fork VS Code to create a dedicated tB IDE.

twinBASIC Update: October 10, 2021

On April 23, 2021, I helped Wayne Phillips introduce the world to twinBASIC at the Access DevCon Vienna conference.  I boldly predicted that twinBASIC (along with the Monaco editor) would replace VBA and its outdated development environment by 2025.  With that goal in mind, this weekly update is my attempt to keep the project fresh in the minds of the VBA development community.

Every Sunday, I will be providing updates on the status of the project, linking to new articles discussing twinBASIC, and generally trying to increase engagement with the project.  If you come across items that should be included here, tweet me @NoLongerSet or email me at mike at nolongerset dot com.


Form Designer Extended Preview

Wayne published a ten-minute sneak peek video of the upcoming form designer in action.

The form designer currently only works with custom user controls, but there are lots of welcome features:

  • Multiple-control property editing
  • Control anchoring
  • Multi-control alignment and resizing
  • Control docking within arbitrary frames (i.e., containers)
  • Gradient builder built-in to every color picker
  • Zoom!!! (and the Access developers rejoiced)
  • Copy / paste of property groups (e.g., TextRendering, which includes bold, italic, font size, font name, font color, etc.)
  • Form designs stored as version control-friendly JSON
It's hard to believe that after 25+ years of releases, Microsoft Access still does not have a zoom option in the form and report designers.

Around the Web

Should we fork VS Code?

Wayne brought up the possibility of forking VS Code to create an "official" twinBASIC IDE.  

Why do this?  Primarily for flexibility:

"...there are certain things that the VS Code team are not open to considering supporting such as proper customizable toolbars, and fully customizable menus, to name just a couple of them."

Andrew Mansell floated the idea of using a VS Code-based alternative IDE, Theia, as a way to gain added flexibility without incurring the additional maintenance headache of maintaining a fork of a project (VS Code) that is itself under heavy ongoing development.

Whatever the ultimate decision, Wayne assured the group that this is a long-term consideration and won't be something that will distract from the current GUI/64-bit support/cross-platform roadmap.

"This is not something I'm thinking of doing imminently  :)  There is a roadmap in place that will be followed.   This is more of a general discussion about the possible future direction of the IDE and to discuss the pros/cons if we decided to go down that route.   I wouldn't necessarily have to take the lead on such a project either."

Mulling the Future Death of VB6

Over at VBForums, there was a rather lengthy discussion about what might signal the final demise of VB6.  According to early reports, VB6 support will continue in the upcoming Windows 11 (frankly, I'd be shocked if Microsoft did not do this, so this is really no surprise).

So, if VB6 won't die from loss of support in future Windows versions, what could kill it off?  User Niya has a thought (again, no surprise here):

If TwinBASIC delivers perfectly on compatibility with the VB6's GUI model and project format, VB6 would be finished. There would literally be no reason to use VB6.


Here are the updates from the past week.  You can also find this information by installing the twinBASIC VS Code extension and clicking on the Changelog tab of the extension page:

Nothing to see here this week!

All original code samples by Mike Wolfe are licensed under CC BY 4.0