ECMA Controls C# Language Definition

Microsoft might be responsible for the creation of C#, but the language definition is under the control of ECMA.

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ECMA Controls C# Language Definition
I would like to respond to Mr. Frank Molnar and his comments regarding a lack of standards around .NET and the inability of hobbyist developers to work with these languages (C# and VB.NET) without paying Microsoft [Letters to the Editor, "Lack of Standards Lessens .NET's Appeal," November 2004].

Yes, it is true that Microsoft is responsible for the creation of the C# language. However, Microsoft no longer retains control of the language definition, which is in the hands of ECMA.

Another point is that the .NET Framework SDK includes (for free) both the C# and VB.NET language compilers. So, while Microsoft is making money on Visual Studio .NET, choosing to go with .NET in no way means you need to pay Microsoft to be a hobbyist developer with .NET and C#/VB.NET. Just take a look at the Visual Studio Express Editions or the third-party IDEs that are available such as Web Matrix, which are targeted at those users who are interested in the environment but don't have the money for the professional-level IDE tools from Microsoft.

He also missed the point that Mono and other efforts are bringing .NET to other platforms.

I would also pose a question to Mr. Molnar regarding the cost of migrating: How much is it costing you to manage and maintain your existing applications that contain "a few million lines of XBase code and a few million lines of VB5/VB6 code"? Is it not at least possible that some of those applications might be better suited, and thus less expensive, to run in an environment with a robust application framework, enhanced security control, easier access to application instrumentation, and more? Given my experience as a consultant and having worked with a number of enterprise customers and their internally built applications, it seems highly likely that this is the case.

While I can certainly appreciate Mr. Molnar's lack of financial motivation to migrate all of his applications to VB.NET, I believe there are a few holes in his argument against these newer languages and the .NET environment as a whole.

Chris Fussell, Marietta, Ga.

SQL for the Masses
I really enjoyed Roman Rehak's Database Design column, "Speed Up SQL Server Apps," in the July 2004 issue. It was written at a level I can understand and provided examples that make sense. Too often I find an article on SQL that's written for a much higher level than where I'm at. I could use just about every tip provided.

Keep up the good work, fellas. I love reading your magazine.

Dave Campbell, Holdrege, Neb.

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