Thursday, March 23, 2006

Microsoft still supports Visual Basic?

I recently received some email critical of my claim that Microsoft no longer supports or provides Visual Basic. I suppose this is a fair point. They do after all still sell a product called Visual Basic.

So what gives? An awful lot of people don't think that the new Visual Basic .Net product is Visual Basic at all. It's more of a version of C# (a Java clone, more or less) with some BASIC syntax thrown on top. It's not hard to use Google to find many articles of people who agree with this sentiment.

Here are some examples that I found in just minute:

http://www.sqlmag.com/articles/index.cfm?articleid=21050&

And from Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visual_Basic_.NET#Comparative_samples
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visual_Basic_.NET#Controversy_concerning_VB.NET

If there's any dishonesty here, I claim that it's on Microsoft's part. For years people complained that Visual Basic isn't BASIC. Now people are complaining that VB.Net isn't Visual Basic. Where does it end? ;-)

5 comments:

Isaac Raway said...

As a developer that largely cut my teeth on VB 6, I'd have to agree with your position. I would say that VB.NET is an interesting language, but so much of the VB experience was in the IDE as much as it was in the language. Both of those things have changed foundationally, so it is hard to see VB.NET as the same language.

Arijit Sengupta said...

It may be noted that VB5 is not totally compatible with VB6, nor is VB6 with VB.NET. In an effort to maintain compatibility with .NET, several great VB6 features were sacrificed. So much has changed that the language no longer can claim to be calle Visual BASIC!

Noble D. Bell said...

Ahh. More debate on VB. First, I must say, VB has been pretty good to me over the years. VB.Net is no where near VB6. Microsoft, as much, says so. True, they have a VB6 Namespace that has some stuff from VB6 but as a whole, it is not VB as we know it.

VB is actually named wrong. Has anyone done research on how VB came about? In a nutshell, it was bought from a third party author who originally intended for it to be a Windows Scripting Language to help create dialogs, etc.. Bill seen it, liked it so much, bought it from the author, added his basic to it and Viola! Visual Basic as born.

Isaac Raway said...

That isn't exactly what I heard. Here's the version I know:

Visual Basic for windows was originally called "Ruby" and was intended to be the default shell in Windows--a highly extensible and totally scripted, user customizable shell. The original "language" was a simple system oriented towards the types of actions that shell components need to do (I assume get process lists, start programs, etc).

This command language could be multilayered so that if one layer did not understand a command, it would be passed on to other layers until it was handled or found to be an error.

At some point it was decided that the shell would instead be a development tool, and the Visual Basic language was brought from DOS (it had already existed for many years under that name) to the new Windows environment with "Ruby".

Along the way, while making the Ruby shell work with VB's language the original multilayered approach of the command processor was rendered unusable due to VB's language being integrated throughout, though supposedly it still existed for many versions.

By this version, VB6 can certainly be called "Visual Basic" since it is the Visual Basic language with a "new" (compared to the drawing character mode DOS version) GUI toolkit.

Isaac Raway said...

As reference, The History of Visual Basic. I could have sworn that QuickBasic had already been called Visual Basic, but then again, I never used any version of either between QuickBasic and VB 3, so I have no first hand knowledge of that.