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PDC: Anders Gets Dynamic on Future of C#

Microsoft Technical Fellow Anders Hejlsberg drew a big and enthusiastic crowd as he provided a look at the future of the C# programming language in a session at the company's Professional Developers Conference in Los Angeles on Monday.

Hejlsberg offered a rundown of what developers can expect from the next version of C#, with a heavy emphasis on the increasingly dynamic nature of the language. If the response of developers attending the presentation was any indication, there will be a lot to like about the next version of C#.

Hejlsberg provided insight into four key enhancements in C# 4.0: support for dynamically typed objects, support for optional and named parameters, "vastly improved" COM interoperability, and support for both co-variance and contra-variance.

The issue of COM interoperability is a particularly raw one for .NET developers, who find themselves going through contortions to manage the mismatch between statically typed C# and COM objects. Hejlsberg drew hearty applause when he showed the thoroughly cleaned code that's possible with C# 4.0.

"Isn't it amazing? It took us 10 years to get back to where we were," Hejlsberg joked. "The code actually looks like it was intended to look."

Hejlsberg's presentation provided a great look at what's possible with dynamic type support in C# 4.0. The Dynamic Language Runtime (DLR) that C# 4.0 will work with provides binders to .NET, Silverlight, Python, Ruby and COM. "With these binders we can get a single programming experience for talking to all these different environments that are not statically typed .NET classes," Hejlsberg explained.

Behind C# 4.0's dynamic typing is a delicious irony. Explained Hejlsberg to appreciative laughter: "In C# 4.0 we simply declare a variable whose static type is dynamic."

Posted by Michael Desmond on 10/27/2008 at 1:15 PM

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