REAL Software will offer "stranded" Visual Basic (VB) users free upgrades to REALbasic through March 31, the company announced today. On April 1, Microsoft is ending standard support for VB 6.0, which has left millions of enthusiasts and programmers in the lurch.
  
"Visual Basic users are feeling abandoned right now," REAL Software President and CEO Geoff Perlman said. "They've invested a lot of time and energy into learning Visual Basic. We want them to know that they can leverage those hard-earned skills long into the future with REALbasic. We are simply offering these stranded Visual Basic users the opportunity to join the large, vibrant, and growing REALbasic community--for free."
  
REAL Software says that REALbasic is so similar to VB 6.0 that VB users will be able to move to the new environment easily, and even a cursory examination of the environment suggests that this statement is true. REALbasic also includes a software utility that helps convert VB 6.0 projects to REALbasic format, further easing the transition. Best of all, according to the company, after VB 6.0 projects are converted to REALbasic, the resulting applications can then be deployed on Linux and the Macintosh because REALbasic, unlike VB 6.0, also targets those non-Windows environments.
  
REAL Software is offering a free upgrade to REALbasic 5.5 Standard Edition for Windows through March 31, although this version won't be upgradeable to REALbasic 2005, which is shipping within the next several weeks. For more information about REALbasic 5.5 and the VB 6.0 upgrade offer, visit the REAL Software Web site.