VB's Second-Class Status Revisited

Readers chime in on VB getting left behind.

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VB's Second-Class Status Revisited
Patrick Meader speaks the truth in his Editor's Note, "Is VB Least Among Equals?" (April 2008). Most SDKs that Microsoft releases seems to be lacking VB samples, to the point that even the exceptions to this general rule highlight how often the VB samples are missing.

I understand C# very well, and it's easy to adapt the C# samples to VB. But we shouldn't have to perform that task ourselves. On large samples, you spend way too much time translating the samples to VB first, whereupon you can begin (finally) to implement code that meets your own business requirements.

I have often considered using C# instead of VB.NET, and I'm not far away from taking that leap even now. But if I'm going to use another language, why not go all the way and use another platform as well? For example, Java is a powerful platform that is also OS-independent. And Oracle and many others have some great Web-based frameworks that use Java. There are also some great development tools for taking advantage of Java.

Sure, C# appears on the surface to be a more obvious choice, but what if there comes a day when Microsoft doesn't take C# seriously, either? Should we then move to C++? What I'm describing is a risk with any platform, but Microsoft is the only serious platform vendor that I know of that has a history of not taking the people who use its tools seriously.

Many people like to point out that most VB developers are switching to C#. Often, they also imply that C# must therefore be the better language to develop in. I disagree completely. VB.NET developers today can do the same things that C# developers can, and there is also an easier learning curve with VB. But the big, unavoidable drawback with VB.NET is the lack of samples. And this is getting worse every time VB isn't taken seriously for each SDK released.

I just don't understand it. It requires little work to adapt C# samples to VB, so the fact that Microsoft's developers refuse to do it indicates to me that they favor C#. They make samples for C# and leave VB developers to fend for themselves. This shows an incredible lack of strategic leadership on the part of Microsoft's management. VB developers voice their frustration in many forums on the Internet, but complaining about it publicly or privately doesn't erase the fact that VB developers are gradually being left behind.

Andras Eliassen
received by e-mail

Patrick Meader is absolutely right in his editorial that questions whether VB is a first-class language in the Visual Studio toolbox. Action speaks louder than words, and now is the time for Microsoft to act if it wants to stem the erosion of developers from VB; to wait is to be too late.

Martin Ng
received by e-mail

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This story was written or compiled based on feedback from the readers of Visual Studio Magazine.

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