A group blog from members of the VB team
Continuing the community interviews from our Italian Visual Basic MVP Alessandro Del Sole, this time we interview Patrick Dengler. You can take a look at the Visual Basic Team page for pictures and bios and visit the home page of the Visual Basic Developer Center for a link to all these interviews as well.
Here's the interview with Patrick:
1. Nice to meet you Patrick Dengler! Let’s begin by asking a simple question: where are you from?
I was born in New York, grew up in California, then moved to Redmond, WA
2. We all know that you’re a Visual Basic Team member, but could we know something more about your role inside the Team?
I’ve managed many different things as I have been on and off the team over the last decade or so. The first versions of ADO. NET, XML/DataSet Designer, Database Tools integration, WebServices…oh the list goes on. I am now focusing most of my time on making development even more approachable, easier and less cumbersome.
3. What’s your favorite Visual Basic feature regarding the language and/or the IDE?
I just love the language overall. I started developing in Basic 30 years ago now (eek!) and have watched it grow since then.
4. How long have you been working for Microsoft and what was your occupation before joining the VB Team?
I’ve been at Microsoft since 1992. Before that it was mostly high school and college jobs to pay the bills. Between 1997-2000 I took a leave of absence to create ONYX Software with 3 other Microsofties.
5. Why do you think VB is such a great language?
I once worked for a great guy who was famous for making the statement “Assembly is self-documenting”. I find it easier to read VB than other languages.
6. Have you ever been to Italy?
No, but I got close. I was working my way through Germany, Switzerland, and Austria about 20 years ago, but then lost my passport.
7. Would you like to tell us something about your life outside the office (how do you like to spend your free time, what do you like to do when/if you go out in the evening or when you’re at home and so on)?
I’m a family guy so I love to work with my kids on their homework and doing fun outings. I also enjoy video games too much (if you play Team Fortress 2 email me and I’ll add you to my buddy’s list). I’m also a musician which I wish I spent more time on.
8. Who is your favorite musician?
Hands down, no hesitation, challenge me if you will: RUSH
9. What’s your favorite food?
Anything not in our cafeteria.
Thank you very much for taking time to answer these questions and letting us know something more about you!
I'm curious: you wrote in answer #3 that Basic is a great language, but if it is so, why did Microsoft use C# to write the .NET framework?
I believe that classic VB was one of the most used language in the world thanks to its "low programming barrier" (especially if compared to C++/Win32/MFC of that time), but I think that today VB.NET is more complex than classic VB, and today for .NET jobs there is much more request for C# than VB.NET, at least this is how I see things...
Do you have numbers about the use of VB.NET-only today? (Not mixed VB.NET + classic VB)
To complete my previous message: I believe that there is one scenario in which VB.NET is the *best* .NET language (better than C#, too): automation of Office applications (e.g. Excel), thanks to great COM late-binding support of VB.NET and default parameters (the corresponding C# code is much more complicated and less readable than VB.NET code).