First, it's a difference in philosophy. Microsoft makes good compilers, and Visual Basic is no exception. It has a very nice IDE, which lends itself to fairly easy and straightforward creation of programs. No doubt about that. But, there is a price to pay... It's called "BloatWare"... Big, lumbering programs, with no great regard for efficiency. Not very fast. Not very agile. Even the tiniest VB6 program needs a huge VBRUN DLL just to execute "Hello World". And VB.NET? It needs a run-time of around 23 Megabytes!
PowerBASIC, on the other hand, has long been associated with performance. Twenty five years of rock-solid performance. It never needs a run-time, never needs a DLL, unless you choose it as your personal requirement. PowerBASIC generates optimized machine code, just like the best C compilers. In fact, PowerBASIC generates EXE's that are downright tiny, compared to the competition. That's why our development staff has a small sign which reads, "Smaller-Faster. Smaller-Faster. Smaller-Faster." They follow it faithfully.
You know, some compilers shield you from the complexities of Windows. They won't let you see every message... They won't let you call every function. All in the name of "simplicity". Until the day you need that missing message. Or need that inaccessible API. What then? You'll find you can rely on PowerBASIC. You'll have the tools to access every API and any DLL. Pointers. ASCIIZ strings. Unsigned integers. And more. You'll make the decision to filter complex messages by using DDT (Dynamic Dialog Tools), or read every one with standard callback functions. That's why PowerBASIC has often been called The Consultant's Secret Weapon.
If you already have an investment in VB, with much code already written, there is one other alternative -- use PowerBASIC along with your existing Visual Basic code to speed up the slow procedures! Just compile the "problem code" to a PowerBASIC DLL, and call it from VB. As the editors of VB Tech Journal pointed out... "It's a snap!".
I converted an app I originally wrote in VB to PowerBASIC for Windows. The program is used by our sales staff, and uses COM to create or update Excel worksheets with information extracted from our legacy production control program.
I used to email the zipped VB install package to a salesperson, then walk them through the install process. That only took an hour or so. Now I email a 35k exe and tell them to save it to their PC. The hardest part is telling them how to create a shortcut on their desktop.
And it runs 80% faster than the VB app. And it doesn't crash.
I must also add that I got fantastic help from PowerBASIC Tech Support here on the forum as I learned how to convert my app from VB to PowerBASIC. And untold assistance from numerous people here on the forum. Thanks to all of you.
Mark Strickland, Chief Engineer, SimplyBASICsecurity.com
I have been a fan of PowerBASIC for years. I cannot imagine why anybody would use VB or .NET but I suppose it is all about marketing. Talk about the Total Cost Of Ownership!!!! One programmer and PowerBASIC can do what takes a room full of .NET folks to write and maintain."
J.D. Hildebrand, Editor, VB TECH JOURNAL
You don't have to wait for Microsoft or learn another language to get better performance out of your Visual Basic apps -- just identify the bottle-neck in your code and compile the slow procedures as a DLL. It's a snap!"