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Keith Pleas talks about a few VB issues in a recent blog post. He points out that most VB developers are RAD-centric and C# developers are code-centric. I agree with this 100%...and I know Microsoft does, too. He also mentions the move of old VB6 developers to .NET: “...return of the VB programmer who glued together a bunch of stuff...” I think that this is the essence of VB. And, I also think this is why VB has so many problems gaining respect among users of more complex languages.

Let's face it: VB allowed non-programmers to create business solutions. That's a good thing, right? Wrong. Well, at least not in my opinion. I have worked with too many “developers” who should probably be serving me fries at lunch. And, it all started because they could clickedy-click-click-click and they have a solution to their business needs. Don't get me wrong, it saves SMB's money, but what happens when the app grows? Juval Löwy mentions the sharp up-turn of VB6 complexity in an old Visual Studio Magazine article. And, as if the technology issues aren't enough, when you don't think a problem through, you tend to get software that doesn't grow very easily. Or, it makes less and less sense as it gets larger. I've seen that a lot. How can we solve this? Don't let non-programmers develop applications.

I do want to say one thing: when I first heard about .NET, I was so excited. I knew there would be issues with VB6-ers upgrading because a lot of them aren't real programmers. Sure, they can solve simple solutions, but I knew they would find it hard to grasp OO topics. If you've upgraded, that's a nice pat on the back. If you've upgraded AND know and understand OO, I applaud you. But, for those who have done each of these as well as actually implement objects appropriately, or even better, use design patterns, you are a true developer and you should be praised (IMHO).

Anyway, back to Keith's article...VB is all about gluing things together, right? Well, that's good - what do you think SOA is all about? We (C# & VB developers) can live in a wonderful world of harmony by having C# developers create web services and components to be used within apps and VB developers can create the UI's that integrate all of the necessary components/services together into a modular business solution. I'm not saying the roles can't be reversed; I'm just saying that, given the focus of the two languages, this makes a lot of sense.

Keith also mentions that, due to the OO focus of .NET, VB isn't as RAD as it used to be. Well, when you are applying my praise-worthy suggestions, you're right, it's not. Once again, I think this is a good thing. Hopefully, those who can't/shouldn't be developing applications will find new fields of work and those left will be skilled people who can actually get the jobs done by applying these best practices and lessons learned, which is what VB6 (the platform, not the developers) did not do very much of.

In the future, I think we will see the “learn to write business applications in 5 days” books/tutorials as component-based development and SOA propogate throughout the development community.

Posted on Thursday, December 4, 2003 11:30 PM .NET , Development | Back to top

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