The Richard Grimes VB hullabaloo

Many people are talking/writing about Richard Grime’s farewell article especially about his comments about VB not being the true .net language. Boy, the advertisers over on that website must be happy campers!! 

I only want to respond to one point that he made – about the fact that VB is in .NET only for marketing purposes.

I was very happy to learn .NET first with a familiar language and syntax. I had plenty of learning curves to attack as it was. If VB.NET didn’t exist, there is a very good chance that I would have stopped programming. I’m not kidding or exaggerating.

I was pissed that Microsoft had pullen the proverbial rug out from under me and sent me tumbling from being a very advanced programmer to feeling like a beginner again. This was preventing me at first from seeing the great advantages that .NET was going to give me as a developer. Sure VB has evolved, but still it was familiar. Everything else was different. It would have been a much bigger struggle for me to learn .NET if it was 100% new. In fact, I was *so* mad, that I bought JBuilder. I figured if I had to start from scratch again and use semi-colons, wtf – I may as well use Java and forget about Microsoft. (Remember, this was also the same time we were hearing all about Hailstorm and Microsoft taking over the world with it.) I had already gone through a big learning curve in moving from FoxPro to VB, when FoxPro became Visual FoxPro. Big learning curve… big pardigm shift… so I figured it was a good time to totally switch. I did NOT want to go through that again.

But after a few months of mucking around (I edited that word for google) with jBuilder, I looked at .NET again and realized that because of VB.NET, the learning curve was not going to be as bad as I had thought. At least I didn’t have to relearn 100% of the syntax. VB.NET gave me an anchor into .NET.

I still do most of my coding with VB.NET, though I am getting more and more comfortable working with C# when I need to, and there are things about C# that I really like, but not enough for me to switch to it as my predominant language. I am just more proficient in VB. That’s really all there is to it. I don’t care if it’s marketing or whatever the reason is. If .NET had only been only C#, there is a good chance that I would not have been willing to start ALL over again after 18 years of programming. Maybe I would have just stopped programming, taken back up my long lost love of being a potter, spent more time cycling and skiing – you know, had a life. 😉 That sounds pretty dramatic, but it is not exaggerated as I truly was pretty close to walking away from it all. Of course, there was that mortgage to worry about…. As it is, I have never worked as hard in my life as I have since .NET came out. I used to work about 30 hours a week and bill most of them. The rest of my time was spent bicycling, skiing and hiking. Now I work about 80 hours a week and bill about 30 of them. Not having VB would probably have made it more than I was willing to do.

As for VB.NET not being VB… I have no problem with it. I am a .NET programmer, and I use the VB language to write my .NET applications. I am no longer a VB6 programmer.

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