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Will LINQ Be Anders Hejlsberg's Next Big Hit?

As development industry big-hitters go, few hit as large as Anders Hejlsberg. The distinguished engineer at Microsoft has been knocking pitches out of the park since the mid-1980s, when at Borland he authored the Turbo Pascal IDE and later architected the Delphi IDE. You can check out his bio here.

Since joining Microsoft in 1996, Hejlsberg has led a parade of key projects, including J++, C#, .NET Framework and now Language Integrated Query.

Haven't heard of LINQ yet? You will soon. Baked into the upcoming version of Visual Studio (code-named Orcas), LINQ enables C# and VB programmers to access data sources -- including SQL Server databases, XML data and object properties -- directly within program code. String queries in the strongly typed environment get the same support -- Intellisense, compile time checking and code refactoring -- as native program code. This is stuff to warm the heart of the most ardent FoxPro developer.

"You're already dealing with data sets and you are already dealing with object-oriented programming," Hejlsberg says. "The leap is just in understanding where it makes sense and where it helps you. You can do data binding within LINQ easily, literally data binding to query results."

Even more exciting are some of the long-term implications of LINQ. Hejlsberg has hit some long balls over the past 20-plus years, but this one could fly further than a lot of people think.

"It's my hope that in five to 10 years, programming languages simply will have queries as a concept built-in, because that is just a must," Hejlsberg says. "I really do think it is going that way. It's kind of gradually been trending that way with some languages like Python and Ruby. So I think in that sense we're making a fundamental contribution to programming languages science, if you will."

There's a lot more ahead in LINQ, and Redmond Developer News wants to hear your takes and publish them in the April 1 issue. If you have been tracking LINQ, tell us your findings. What is working, what is failing, and what do you expect to do with the technology once it emerges later this year or early next? E-mail me at [email protected].

And if you could ask Anders Hejlsberg just one question about LINQ and dealing with the new technology, what would it be? We're fixing to talk to Anders in the next few weeks and would love to be able to pass on your thoughts. Again, you can send you questions by e-mail to [email protected].

Posted by Michael Desmond on 03/14/2007

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