I have been critical of Microsoft’s strategy with Visual Basic for awhile now – it has been treated as a second class .net language, slowly falling behind C# as far as new features and functionality.  The official word was it would be separate but equal, but reading between the lines I felt it was on its way out.

Recently, Microsoft came out with a blog post clarifying the future of Visual Basic.

It appears Microsoft is going to position Visual Basic as a simpler, more straight forward .net language with the focus on new developers.  I think this is a great move.  C# is a great language, but with all the different features and constructs, it can be overwhelming for even seasoned developers.  We definitely need a language that is the gateway to c#, and  I agree that it makes sense to keep the feature set limited so new developers can understand the basics of .Net.  The world doesnt need two languages that do the same thing (which is how VB and C# have been competing).

An interesting quote from the article:

An interesting trend we see in Visual Studio is that VB has twice the share of new developers as it does of all developers. This suggests that VB continues to play a role as a good, approachable entry language for people new to the platform and even to development.

I have always enjoyed VB, and I also enjoy C#.  Because I jump back and forth between legacy apps (VB) and new development (C#), I don’t have a problem switching between the two.  So new developers that start in VB, once they understand .net and want more power, can start to switch to C#.  But if the developers are just running simple programs, or building forms over data, they will do fine in VB and can stay in VB.  Any C# developer that says they can’t code in VB is lying.. (and I have heard a few developers claim this..)  And its not terribly difficult to migrate VB.Net to C# if an application grows.

So kudos to Microsoft for defining this strategy.  I hope it works out for Microsoft, and they once again are able to capture the hearts and minds of developers.

Click on the link below to read the full blog post.

The .NET Language Strategy


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