One of the features I always missed in VisualBasic was bitwise shifting. One of my most used features in earlier years, because it was especially useful for evaluating registers and masking out values. Since it was always rather easy to develop GUI applications with VB, I often hit the limits of it (as of version 6.0 and earlier).
The only way around it was to write a DLL in C and import it in VB to shift bits left and right. A lot of time has passed since then, and I did not need shifting as much anymore.
Yesterday, however, when working on ClanTools, I forgot the “” in MsgBox(“100>>25”). When the program hit this line, the message box showed “25”, which puzzled me at first, but then I realized that VB 2005 now actually supports bit-shifting! I wonder if I just overlooked it or Microsoft never actually announced it in a big way. They should have done so, it really adds to VisualBasic as a language.

We got obfuscated

When releasing freeware, you do not pay a lot of attention to protecting your program of hackers, or spend a lot of time implementing an overly complicated registration/activation system. However, with the dawn of the .NET Framework and the inability to compile your code to native executables, your compiled program can be decompiled pretty easily.

Freeware does not mean open source in this matter, so coders at least try to keep people from stealing their code. What you get packaged with Visual Studio is Dotfuscator CE, which is said to be one of the better obfuscation tools. With delay signing your assemblies, obfuscating them, and then signing, you make sure that these assemblies stay intact. However, if you have a setup project in the same solution as your source code, building the setup will also re-build all your assemblies, thus destroying all the obfuscation-signing, and simple create new, unsigned, and not obfuscated assemblies.

Just a nice little thing considering the new “coder friendliness” and RAD strategies. Right now, I am working around that by adding all assemblies directly to the setup, instead of adding the project output files, which would have been simpler and easier to maintain. Oh well.

Preparing for the future

Currently, several projects which be available on vware.at are currently under development. All programs which will be released or re-released will require the .NET Framework 2.0 to run. Additionally, operating systems other than Windows 2000 and up will not be tested or supported.

In the meantime, the changelog section has been integrated into the new site, so you can keep yourself up to date with recent evolvements of the software.

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