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A reader likes what he sees in the newest version of Visual Basic and asks to see articles that explore some of its features; another reader agrees with Peter Varhol that security is ultimately the responsibility of the end user.
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I've been playing with some of the new features in Visual Studio 2005 since its release, and I'm excited by some of the things I see.
For the first time since .NET was released, I think we're seeing a focus on the kinds of features that made me like Visual Basic in the first place. Edit-and-continue, we're glad to have you back; you've been sorely missed.
VSM has already provided quite a few articles on ASP.NET, an almost equal number of articles on SQL Server 2005, and even a couple articles on the higher-end features of Visual Studio Team System. No doubt, these articles interest some people, but many of them aim a little too high for the typical developer. People like me, for example.
I'd like to see more emphasis on the core languages, Visual Basic and C#. Especially Visual Basic. In particular, I'd like to read articles on creating and using new code snippets, extending My Classes with custom functionality, and using generics. The language teams at Microsoft have done a lot of good work in this release; it would be a shame to neglect this work in favor of more esoteric coverage that hits at high end, but not the wide breadth of developers who actually use the tools. To be fair, I think you are taking your cue from Microsoft on this. Nearly everything you see from Microsoft is about VSTS or SQL Server or Windows Vista or XML or something like that. That said, you don't have to repeat Microsoft's mistakes; I'll bet you'll find it more fun to make some new ones of your own!
I think articles on core language subjects will connect quite strongly with those who read your magazine.
Kurt Hunt, Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Your Security, Your Responsibility
I thought Peter Varhol had some excellent points in his article, "Take Charge of Your Own Security" [VSM October 2005].
First, he is correct in asserting that we must hold Microsoft to a high standard of accountability, if only because so much depends on Microsoft. PCs running Windows aren't just mission-critical at the office, but mission-critical at home, and it's of paramount importance that these systems treat your information as confidential. If Windows Vista does nothing more than limit the surface area of potential attacks, especially by shutting down key avenues of attack through drivers and so on, then it will be a must-have investment for anyone who runs Windowsmy opinion, obviously. It would be nice if this functionality had been there all along, but that's neither here nor there, now. The system was never designed for the level of security that apps like Quicken or Microsoft Money should require.
Second, Peter made the point that, whatever strengths and weaknesses of the platform, security is ultimately the responsibility of the end user, at any level. It's true: Some people are ill-equipped to make security decisions and have no choice but to depend on default installations. (For this reason, the default installations should be as bullet-proof as possible.) But it is a business's or an end user's data integrity that is on the line, not Microsoft's, and for that reason alone, it is on the end user to consider his or her choices carefully.
This is especially so of businesses. Many businesses hold the lives of their customers in their hands, including financial and other personal information. As such, it is incumbent on these businesses to assume responsibility for the integrity of this data, and to take every step possible to ensure this data is held safely. Pointing to holes in Windows or the underlying OS is not good enough, especially when many of the exploits that cause data loss are well known and easily prevented.
Robert Doolan, Englewood, Colo.
This story was written or compiled based on feedback from the readers of Visual Studio Magazine.