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Posted 26 Jul 2006

Compile VB.NET code without Microsoft.VisualBasic.dll

, 1 Aug 2006 CPOL
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Compile VB.NET code without an implicit reference to Microsoft.VisualBasic.dll.


Let's say you are developing a program using Visual Basic .NET (2003 or 2005), and you wish to make sure that your code is using "pure" .NET and is VB6 free.


As you all know, Visual Basic .NET enables you to code using VB 6 legacy syntax and keywords. For example, we can use CInt, Mid, InStr etc. The implementation of the compatibility layer is at the Microsoft.VisualBasic.dll library.

Behind the scene

When compiling your program, using either the Visual Studio IDE or the vbc command line compiler, Microsoft.VisualBasic.dll is added as a reference, and there is no direct approach of removing this reference. The official (and quite not reasonable) solution to the problem is to add the -sdkpath command line option to the vbc (you cannot set this option in a VB Visual Studio project). Copy the .NET platform assemblies that are required by your project references, into a different directory, and build your program from the command line, having the -sdkpath pointing to that directory.

Behind the whole theater

There is an undocumented vbc command line option -novbruntimeref, which you can use (at your own risk :), as an alternative to -sdkpath. Adding -novbruntimeref excludes the implicit addition of the Microsoft.VisualBasic.dll reference. For example, compiling with the -novbruntimeref option will fail if you will use Mid instead of Substring.

Now, your compilation is VB6 free. And don't get me wrong, VB was a great friend of mine since VB3, and some of my best friends are ... well, you got the point.

Should I stop using the Microsoft.VisualBasic namespace?

Yes and No.

No - Productivity. If you wish to parse strings using the VB6 Mid instead of Substring, it's your call. After all, this layer was made for enabling you to import VB6 applications into .NET, seamlessly, without code changes.

Yes - Compatibility. For example, VB6 collections are 0 based for read, and -1 based for insertion. Upgraded application that use VB collections through inconsistent implementations of IList may experience some bugs.

Both points are very important. The choice is all yours.


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)


About the Author

Rafael Mizrahi
Chief Technology Officer Feng-GUI
United States United States
Rafael Mizrahi is a CTO at Feng-GUI

He is also a hacker contributor at the mono project, and a GarageGeeks member.

Rafael Mizrahi personal blog -

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Comments and Discussions

NewsMicrosoft now released this feature in VB9 ORCAS Pin
Rafael Mizrahi12-Jun-07 1:37
memberRafael Mizrahi12-Jun-07 1:37 
and now it is official.
Microsoft added this feature in VB compiler version 9 at ORCAS Visual Studio 2007

"In order to make it easier to support these and other platforms, like .NET Compact Framework and the XBox 360, Visual Basic 9 has added significant flexibility to how the runtime is supported. One option developers will have is to not reference the VB Runtime at all. Obviously this means the associated language features will not be available at compile time."[^][^]
Questionwhat happen when I use DirListBox in c# Pin
Do.It11-Apr-07 2:00
memberDo.It11-Apr-07 2:00 
GeneralYou people need to calm down [modified] Pin
LuharVB25-Jan-07 8:01
memberLuharVB25-Jan-07 8:01 
AnswerRe: You people need to calm down Pin
Rafael Mizrahi25-Jan-07 8:26
memberRafael Mizrahi25-Jan-07 8:26 
Newsnovbruntimeref compiler option Pin
Rafael Mizrahi4-Aug-06 1:10
memberRafael Mizrahi4-Aug-06 1:10 
GeneralWrong reason Pin
jwelch23-Aug-06 5:42
memberjwelch23-Aug-06 5:42 
QuestionWhy? Pin
jwelch21-Aug-06 5:10
memberjwelch21-Aug-06 5:10 
GeneralRe: Why? Pin
Anthony Missico3-Aug-06 10:01
memberAnthony Missico3-Aug-06 10:01 
AnswerRe: Why? [modified] Pin
Michel Posseth1-Aug-06 23:51
memberMichel Posseth1-Aug-06 23:51 
General[Message Deleted] Pin
Rafael Mizrahi2-Aug-06 0:07
memberRafael Mizrahi2-Aug-06 0:07 

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