Sorting it all Out Michael Kaplan's random stuff of dubious value Be sure to read the disclaimer here first!
I was asked if I would like to sign the Classic VB Petition to Microsoft that is going around.
I know I was not the first person they asked (there were already signatures by then!), and I know I was not the most important.
I decided not to do it (obviously, since my name is not there).
It was not that I think the motivations that led to it are wrong (I don't), I just think that the stated goals of the campaign are ill conceived.
It reminded me, in fact, of a situation at work from a while back now.
The team who owned a technology had been whittling away at features that had been promised to various teams (the sort of thing that happens when too much was promised initially and people are eventually reminded the technology has to ship at some point). Admittedly the technology's goals were important and in their defnse they were accomplishing quite a bit, but the problems with were stacking up and there seemed to be no end in sight. Yet the mandate came down -- the technology would be put in, even before it was proven to work in what some considered important scenarios. And then someone -- someone really important -- weighed in and said this had to change. Unfortunately, when they did it they did the wrong thing -- they asked for too much, for something that could not happen. At that point, there was really nothing to do, since the actual request couldn't happen.
Now, would the situation have been different had they not been asking for so much? Maybe not. But maybe there would have been room to dicker, more room to get the technology further along. It may not have been everything, but it may have been something.
(it should hopefully be obvious why I am being so opaque about specifics; even though it has been a while, being neither as important nor as smart as the person who weighed in keeps me mysterious here!)
The moral of this not-quite-Aesopian fable?
That if you have some capital to spend, don't pledge more than you have -- or you will lose the hand, and you won't have the stake you had, for the next hand. When it might have helped.
Do I think the Most Valued Professionals and others have valid concerns about the initial direction of the language? Possibly.
Do I think they have the right to ask for Microsoft to do more than they have to engage the development community to avoid a FoxPro/Visual FoxPro type situation (a community based on the old product and another community based on the new, with little in common between them other than the name). Probably.
But do I think they asked for too much in asking for "VB.COM" with a slot in the VS.NET IDE? Definitely.
Because instead of sticking to the community area where they were arguably strong, they moved into the areas of the actual product that would have involved major development effort that would do little other than express a lack of confidence in the direction the product (actually, the whole suite) has taken. And the compelling community on the VBA side of the world, the one will all of the less sophisticated developers who are less able to handle change, was for the most part not leveraged. Now they have to be told NO for the technical reason that their suggested solution is impractical.
They overestimated the value of what they were holding and I think it will cost them the hand.
I could not put my name to that any more than I could to anyone trying to draw to an inside straight.
Not that my name would have made or broken the deal (I'm not really important enough for that!). But if I put my name on something I have to believe it is something I would want to have happen.
Even now I would like to avoid seeing the VBA6 and VB6 community splintered for all always from the .NET community. But (IMHO) the heaviest hitters have spent their reserves, and they did it by bluffing. On a busted flush.
This post brought to you by "6" (U+0036, a.k.a. DIGIT SIX)
The funny thing about this is that MS have continued to develop VBA further, which was the base for VB6. With Office 2010 they even ported it to 64-bit. Could a new Classic VB be developed on top of VBA 7.0?