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Thread: The .NET Language Strategy

  1. #1

    Thread Starter
    You don't want to know.
    Join Date
    Aug 2010

    The .NET Language Strategy


    Interesting quotes, in my view, focusing on VB even though this is General:

    • "C# is used by millions of people." vs. "Visual Basic is used by hundreds of thousands of people."
    • "An interesting trend we see in Visual Studio is that VB has twice the share of new developers as it does of all developers."
    • "The Stack Overflow survey is not kind to VB, which tops the list of languages whose users would rather use another language in the future."
    • "... this number may include VB6 developers, whom I cannot blame for wanting to move on." (OUCH!)
    • "Stack Overflow is not a primary hangout for VB developers, so if you’re there to even take the survey to begin with, that may be because you’re already roaming Stack Overflow as a fan of another language."

    OK, let's stop there. I think the last point is very important: Stack Overflow started as a C#/Ruby hangout by virtue of who created it. I don't think VB users place the same value on community growth and support as C# and Ruby users do. (I'm leaving judgement out of that.) Using Stack Overflow numbers to judge VB is going to make for some pretty misrepresented results, but it is interesting to note that Microsoft is using those numbers to shape their strategy. I'll come back to that. Let's see the money shot:

    We will keep Visual Basic straightforward and approachable. We will do everything necessary to keep it a first class citizen of the .NET ecosystem: When API shapes evolve as a result of new C# features, for instance, consuming those APIs should feel natural in VB. We will keep a focus on the cross-language tooling experience, recognizing that many VB developers also use C#. We will focus innovation on the core scenarios and domains where VB is popular.
    The old message for VB used to be one of parity: that every C# language feature would be in VB and vice versa. There were rumblings as C# 6 released that this would change, as VB developers didn't seem to want many C# features and attempting to please everyone was holding C# back. This looks like the realization of that change.

    VB will remain stable unless there are new .NET features it must implement. For example, Tuples are an amazing feature coming down the pipe that will be in APIs Microsoft publishes, so both VB and C# are going to get them. But C# 7 is getting a few other features that are syntax sugar, rather than API, and they will NOT be added to VB.

    So what's it mean?

    I think it is very important to note that MS is using Stack Overflow to guide their strategy. So if you want to change how they view VB, you need to sign up for it and commit to both answering and asking questions. You don't have to leave this forum, and in fact I post on both. But MS isn't looking at this forum when deciding what their customers look like. So you need to stand where they look.

    Also note they design the language in public on GitHub, so you need to be looking at what they're doing and make your voice heard. They've been using this process for C# for a long time, it looks like they've just opened up the VB one. Probably don't flood them with proposals to make a new VB6. I'll reference this later.

    You can also sign up for a mailing list if you want to passively consume it. It'll probably only take two editions for your Gmail account to start marking it as spam. "Machine learning"!

    It's important to note that, by their metrics, there are "millions" of C# users and "hundreds of thousands" of VB users. This may be false, if based entirely on Stack Overflow data. It doesn't matter if you disagree, what matters is this is what they believe for 2017. This is why pleas for a new VB6 successor fall on deaf ears, and why there is a very real danger they might abandon VB entirely. They view VB users as a disconnected minority.

    So to summarize my opinions in response:

    • You are believed to be a minority, and MS is making jokes about you.
    • Stack Overflow is where Microsoft looks for metrics. If you aren't there, you aren't being counted and your opinion doesn't matter to them.
    • If you aren't active on Stack Overflow, get active. This is where MS is looking. Let them see they've counted wrong.
    • If you're an MVP/in contact with the VB team, I think you should push upon them this is an unfair appraisal. This forum alone is probably as large as the SO VB community, and I doubt there's a lot of overlap outside of our experts. There should not be a monopoly on programming resources.
    • Sign up for GitHub and follow that repository. Even if you don't create proposals, you should make your opinion known in the comments. This is more important than Stack Overflow.

  2. #2
    Fanatic Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    VB6 dinosaur land

    Re: The .NET Language Strategy

    The problems I've had with SO is I get far less response to the tough questions I've had, which I think is only 2 so far.

    Answering questions is also difficult unless you live there. Most are not worth answering anyway (e.g., very low quality or duplicates), but there are clearly several key experts that do seem to live there that do get them "answered" within minutes, often in the comments since again the "question" doesn't merit an official answer.

    I always have VBF and SO tabs open during the day while at work, but I rarely check SO anymore unless I'm looking for an answer since its search is superior to VBF's unless I do it via google perhaps.

  3. #3
    PowerPoster techgnome's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2002

    Re: The .NET Language Strategy

    SO is intended to be a "reference" site ... unlike VBF which tends to be more ... conversational. On SO you ask a question, get an answer. It's isolated and directed specifically at the question ... there's no discussion whether the approach of the OP or the responder is the ideal approach... Here, it's a bit more engaging, we're going to question the approach, we're going to dig deeper. Attempts at doing this on SO get those posts dropped.

    * I don't respond to private (PM) requests for help. It's not conducive to the general learning of others.*
    * I also don't respond to friend requests. Save a few bits and don't bother. I'll just end up rejecting anyways.*
    * How to get EFFECTIVE help: The Hitchhiker's Guide to Getting Help at VBF - Removing eels from your hovercraft *
    * How to Use Parameters * Create Disconnected ADO Recordset Clones * Set your VB6 ActiveX Compatibility * Get rid of those pesky VB Line Numbers * I swear I saved my data, where'd it run off to??? *

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