.NET Provides Choices, Options

The difference between VB.NET and C# boils down to whether you like semi-colons. .NET promises an opportunity to choose the best language for a given task without sacrificing power.

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.NET Provides Choice, Options
Being certified in both VB.NET and C#, I don't understand this ongoing debate [Editor's Note, "Is C# the Only Language That Matters?" by Patrick Meader, August 2005]. If one knows the .NET base class library, the actual difference in languages boils down to whether or not you like semicolons.

Coming from a background in Web development, learning VB.NET was easy because of prior VBScript knowledge, and transferring that knowledge to C# was easy due to a background in Java and JavaScript.

Any serious developer in the .NET platform should be bilingual. It requires little extra effort and pays off over the long haul by enabling work for either type of shop. It also relieves the constant stress put upon us by the VB vs. C# debates.

Bill Sarris, Pebble Beach, Calif.

I have watched the language debate since before VB was a twinkle in anyone's eye. Being fluent in a broad range of languages from C++ down to JavaScript, and having used them all commercially at one time or another, I found the major shift with .NET was not that it made languages equal, but that it provided options. Any coder who knows multiple languages knows that sometimes, maybe even just because it feels right, certain languages seem right for certain tasks. With .NET, we have been offered a way to engage in multilinguistic coding without sacrificing interoperability. In my case, lately, most of my library functions end up coded in C#, while many of the user interfaces and connective code is in VB.NET.

I think where we are going wrong is in making this a debate at all, because it has religious overtones that have no benefit to our industry. The right choice is the right choice because it gets the job done, and because in doing so we drive better business opportunities. But by continuing to declare any language superior, we provide excuses for business managers who do not necessarily know anything about coding. We need to quit distracting them and ourselves and accept that there is no perfect language for every task, and no perfect reason for any language choice.

.NET promises us an opportunity to choose the best language for a given task without sacrificing the underlying power of the framework. Let's embrace that and sell that idea to the industry as a whole.

Frank Buchan

This debate is a pity. We need more languages, not less. The CLR has moved a little, but there's a lot it could do to escape the limitations of the current object-oriented paradigm.

I'd love to see the possibility of writing an assembly where one method is C#, the next VB.NET, and the next APL.NET (or some such).

In the longer term, the future of the .NET system depends, I hope, on getting a wider range of high-quality language implementations—not a narrower range for narrower minds.

Mike Gale, Auckland, New Zealand

About the Author

David Mack is a technical lead and consultant for the National Intelligence Division at Titan Systems. He has more than 10 years of experience in management and software engineering. Reach him at David.Mack@titan.com.

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