I recently got a requirement to develop a chat-like application, or rather, a foundation of classes and methods that would allow certain applications to have chat-like features. The framework must be usable in at least two languages: Visual Basic 6 and C#.

If VB6-Application A were to transmit string data to CSharp-Application B, when the data is received by CSharp-Application B and placed into a string, can I assume the string will contain the same information it contained when VB6-Application A sent it? (i.e. it will contain the same sequence of bytes that was sent from the original string instance in the VB6 app.)

  • 3
    Depends entirely on A) what encoding it expects to send/receive and B) what encoding it transforms the received message/message to send. Aside from this, there shouldn't be any changes in the byte-per-byte information sent.
    – Neil
    Sep 8, 2014 at 16:25

1 Answer 1


Echoing @Neil's comment, you have to make sure the encoding is the same on the sending/receiving ends. Assuming that you can pass a byte array from one language to the other, you will want to think about what encoding to use. UTF-8 is likely the most popular now. If you're not familiar with character encodings, please take a brief moment to check out the basics, courtesy of Joel Spolsky.

Doing a little research, it sounds like VB6 stores strings internally as UTF-16 but tends to convert to ANSI for the outside world. So an approach you could take on the VB side for conversions between UTF-8 and byte arrays is found here. The C# side is a little less convoluted and you can find an MSDN page with nice code samples here.

  • I had to put this requirement on hold for a while. I will be working on it now, and the first and second articles were very very instructive. Thanks!
    – ferc
    Sep 22, 2014 at 23:37

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