A group blog from members of the VB team
A few weeks ago I mentioned I was working on a side project. Well, then the soccer, tennis, and school season hit and..well I won't tell you the rest. What I had started to do was take all of the samples in Charles Petzold's book Applications = Code + Markup and rewrite them in VB for publication to the VB community. I had invited anyone else to do the same as it was a great way to learn WPF, and for the customers I will be focussing on over the next few years (the small business developers and IT pros) there was method behind my madness; especially for those still using VB6.
One of my fellow Program Managers, Paul Yuknewicz, put me in contact with Charles and he agreed to allow me to publish all of the samples in his book in Visal Basic. At home I had gotten to rewriting these through chapter 10, but in order to get the quality I need for publication, I need to re-do them. So today I offer you chapter 1 (attached). Oh yea, and I created these project files in Visual Studio 8 beta 2 to encourage your downloading of our latest work.
I invite you along with me on this journey of learning WPF for several reasons. First, I've always believed that Visual Basic was about creating stunning applications rapidly. WPF is a very powerful technology and I am looking to build a community around developers who are sharing ideas about creating great end user experiences - getting out of the grey form white textbox. The second reason is our big investment in Silverlight. Over time, as Silverlight evolves, I predict that a lot of the lessons learned in creating great desktop applications with WPF, will translate over to Silverlight with little effort.
Yesterday, a group of us spent a day locked in a room figuring out how to improve Visual Basic for the small business developer and IT departments. I mentioned before that we were looking for people in the area to help us learn more about their pain points with using Visual Basic to develop applications rapidly. We are now prepared to cast that net further. If you are anywhere and are willing to contribute a little time and help us shape our products, please contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Lastly, before I go off and do my day of soccer with my boys, I want to remind folks that we have set up a Small Business Developer's forum. I encourage you to visit there and share your experiences or ask any questions.
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I truly believe, on faith mostly, that WPF is a better presentation platform. The elegant model of separation and the UI design patterns it facilitates I feel are good for non-trivial , flexible, UI.
Unfortunately it's daunting in what it takes to make the things we've always taken for granted. Plus the designer is generally unhelpful - things may work, they may not, there may be an error message, there might not be. VB developers haven't had this poor of an IDE experience since EVER. I think making WPF itself more approachable and useable is the first step there.
I was just about to pick-up Applications = Code + Markup. Another C# book for the VB developer. I'm glad you've taken on translating the samples into C#. Unfortunately WPF is becoming one of those technologies where most of the books, experts, articles, and samples are in C#. Developers moving from VB6 or other languages see this and they think "Why not just go to C#". I'm not saying you can control the publishing industry or academia but the perception is killing your product. And as important it's killing your user base. One pain point for the VB small business developer is VB. And that's coming from a hardcore VB dev.
While C# sample code might be rethinking people to use VB.NET, with Ruby, Python, F#, and a slew of new languages on the way, people will either learn as many as possible or on-a-need basis. C# will no longer present itself as a language to switch over to.
Been a while since I posted Chapter 3 of Petzold's WPF book converted to VB . In case you missed it,
Been a while since I posted Chapter 3 of Petzold's WPF book converted to VB . In case you missed