S. Somasegar is the corporate vice president of the Developer Division at Microsoft. Learn more about Somasegar.
I was fascinated to read some of the comments in response to my recent blog entry titled VB – yesterday, today and tomorrow. It is very exciting to see that Visual Basic .NET has such passionate supporters and that an equal number of people feel the same way about C#. From the tone of the debate, this sounds almost like a “which of my 2 eyes do I like better” argument which is pretty true given that both languages run on the same runtime and Microsoft is committed to both of them. Just like there are different styles of development, there are different ways of approaching problems and there’s a tool for each approach.
Looking around the industry, we’re seeing tremendous adoption of .NET across the board and people have noticed. Forrester Research released a report this past May showing that 56% of decision makers at large companies in North America indicated that they’d be doing the majority of their development work on .NET this year. Woohoooo!
The ecosystem has really taken off with more than 350 VSIP partners and more than 460 user groups worldwide (you can find a user group near you through the International .NET Association website). Combined with the fact that users have installed more than 80 million copies of the framework, we have some tremendous momentum behind the CLR and .NET Framework. You can see examples of why developers and IT professionals have taken to .NET by checking out the Indy Racing League, the London Stock Exchange, and the Environmental Protection Agency.
One of the things that I’ve been asked by our MVPs and others is what we’re doing to help people who haven’t yet migrated their applications to .NET. We’re seeing a dramatic increase in migrations as people become comfortable with Visual Studio .NET 2003 and the .NET Framework. Many developers tell me that they’ve started using .NET on their own and are waiting for new projects to start at work so that they can put .NET applications into production. However, we also know that there are many VB6 applications that users are still using to run their businesses. In my recent blog post, I mentioned VB @ The Movies and some of the things that we’re doing to help VB6 developers bring their skills forward to VB .NET. Look for us to be doing a lot more in this area.
We have also been holding Migration Labs in Redmond. These are labs where we invite a small number of customers to bring an application to Microsoft and we work with them to help migrate their application. Obviously, this isn’t something that we can do for every application, but we’re looking to capture a lot of the information that we’ve gained from these migrations to create some best practices and other information for people migrating their skills and applications. Look for all of this to be brought together in a VB Migration Developer Center on MSDN in a few months.
I look forward to hearing about the types of applications that you’re building using .NET today and what types of programs would help you be successful in the migration process.