In-Depth

Next Version of VB Dubbed ''VBx''

Paul Vick dishes on Microsoft''s reboot of Visual Basic.

Hot on the heels of Microsoft's MIX07 conference in Las Vegas, Visual Basic guru Paul Vick revealed last week on his blog that the company is working on a reboot of Visual Basic, dubbed at this stage VBx (for Visual Basic 10, which would be the next numbered version.)

"VBx is the next version of Visual Basic, not a new version of Visual Basic," Vick writes.

Vick discusses how VBx and Visual Basic fit into Silverlight, Microsoft's new cross-platform runtime that works as a browser plug-in. At MIX07, the company revealed new capabilities and intentions for Silverlight, including the fact that it will include a version of the Common Language Runtime, as well as a Dynamic Language Runtime.

Right now you can use Visual Basic in Silverlight, but to do so you must compile the application on the desktop first, according to Vick.

Part of VBx, however, is to be a "hostable managed component" running atop the DLR, writes Vick. That will allow Silverlight to compile VB source code on the fly — even on browsers running on a Mac.

"The important thing to keep in mind is that there is still only one Visual Basic language, but once VBx arrives you'll have more than one way of getting to it," he writes. "You'll still be able to compile code into the traditional DLL or EXE, but you'll also have the option of compiling and running the code on the fly, within a running instance of the CLR. That's where things are likely to get interesting."

Vick says a community preview will land this year and the company will reveal more about the technology at this year's Professional Developers Conference, scheduled for October in Los Angeles.

Read more about VBx, Visual Basic and Silverlight here on Vick's blog: http://www.panopticoncentral.net/.

About the Author

Chris Kanaracus is the news editor for Redmond Developer News.

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