A group blog from members of the VB team
I can't tell you how excited I am to return to the Visual Basic team after almost eight years of absence! I spent much time working in groups around Microsoft including games, office and business solutions. But in each of these areas I focussed primarily on enabling developer scenarios.
And now I am back! And what am I here for? Well, to continue to evolve Visual Basic into the best product for our customers.
My personal goal is to make Visual Basic even more approachable and usable by anyone! I know this is possible as I myself cut my teeth on BASIC when I was in the single digit age category. Even with all of the incredible technologies we have introdued over the years, Visual Basic needs to continue permeate the community at large and be the tool of choice for highly productive application development.
I invite you here to share your experiences or hopes for what we can be doing better, and I will be sharing my own journey as I reintegrate into Visual Basic.
As a note, we have opened a Small Business Developer Center on MSDN (http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/smallbusiness/default.aspx) something I am very passinoate about and a new forum as well (http://forums.microsoft.com/MSDN/ShowForum.aspx?ForumID=1812&SiteID=1)
I have a little project I am working on over the weekend, a self-study project that might be useful for others to try. I will post my results next week.
-watching the summer disappear
I feel like I should say “Welcome” but not being an actual member of the VB team that sounds awkward. Nonetheless welcome. I cut my teeth on QBasic when I was 13. Like you, and Microsoft, I suppose, I haven’t completely removed myself from my humble beginnings.
I want to start off by saying what you all are doing right, for me:
Runtime Agility – the VB runtime has seriously impaired VB’s proliferation outside of the mainstream .NET world. In my experiences with it and the Mono project as well as the heart-breaking blow dealt us by the release of XNA GDE for C# only the runtime has really locked off VB from a whole new and developing audience. I am very happy to see the VB team make a move on this.
Dynamic Language - the dynamic possibilities of VB have long been a banner for detractors. That Microsoft is actively moving to promote its dynamic capacities in a positive light is a good sign, especially as it further differentiates the language from its upstart little sister, C#. I’m a little disappointed that VB9 couldn’t be as dynamic as was foretold (Dynamic Interfaces *tear*) but am already hyped up about VB X. Microsoft has long demonstrated a knack for taking things which are revolutionary and bringing them into the mainstream fold in an easily consumable form. I really do hope you can present dynamicism in a way that is attractive to dynamic language enthusiast and at the same time do it in a way that the static purist can grudgingly respect.
Community Outreach – I think the VB team does make an effort to speak to its community. I really like this and would like to see it taken further. During the beta of VS2005 there was an -obnoxiously obvious- place to give feedback on future language features and really converse with Microsoft directly about concerns (and bugs). I remember some great flame wars, er… um feedback over EnC and the With block in C#, and My.Forms in VB. I didn’t get that same warm fuzzy feeling this time around and I’d really like to see that sort of XP involvement again. There have been a number of feature decisions on VB9 which took me by surprise. Some I didn’t agree with or understand. Some of those I’ve rationalized in my own head since then but it would be really great if you could share your rationale with us. I’m not saying that sarcastically. I was outraged when I saw auto-implemented properties in C++/CLI in 2005, and now in C# 3.0 but not VB. I have (this afternoon actually) decided that with code snippets this bit of syntactic sugar is a nice to have but certainly acceptable fat to trim in a time/budget crunch. But that’s just speculation on my part, hearing it from the VB team directly would have saved me a lot of swearing.
I have pages and pages of experiences with VB, good and bad, I could flood you with, but now that I know where to find you *fiendish grin* I’ll save them for later ;) Again, Welcome.
I'm really happy to hear this type of feedback. The VB team tracks these posts closely and we use them to shape our plans. Please feel free to flood us with pages of experience, especially the bad one's as this is how we learn and can provide the best experiences back to you.
I am going to be working to understand those developers that are looking to significantly increase their productivity and provide "good enough" solutions in the fastest time possible (this is what I remember from my days as an indepdendent VB developer). Watch for my follow up post!
Again, thanks for your input. I have sent it on to the team.