I amar prestar aen ... the world is changed.—Galadriel, The Lord of the Rings
You may recognize this quote as the first words from the movie The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. These words are just as true in the world of software development as they are in Middle Earth. Our world is changed.
In the days of VB1 and VB2, it was truly possible to be a Visual Basic expert. Everything we needed to know was in one handbook-sized manual. Then came VB3 with its data access; VB4 with objects; and VB5 and VB6 with ActiveX, ActiveX Data Objects (ADO), and Distributed Component Object Model (DCOM). Suddenly it was impossible to be an expert in all things Visual Basic.
Then Microsoft took everything we ...