Thursday, March 31, 2005

Overreaction in the extreme

There's a petition for a new version of "classic" Visual Basic—that is, not Visual Basic .NET, but old COM-based, sorta-OOP Visual Basic. So much has been said on this issue that there's not really anything that I can add. Current VB developers lose essentially nothing by Microsoft ending "mainstream support" for VB. They can still write whole new applications in VB6 if they want. Old DOS-based VisiCalc still runs on Longhorn. There's no reason to think that companies with existing VB6 applications have anything to lose. I haven't started any new personal development projects in VB6 in a while, but I know that I can if I want to for some reason in the future. Anyway, the petition is just absurd. I'm glad that Microsoft had the balls to break stuff for the better with VB.NET, and I hope they continue to do more of it. (Let's get rid of ReDim... please.) There are some smart people who signed that petition, people who have been influential in the world of VB for a long time. This makes me sad, because it's so stupid. They complain that Microsoft isn't listening to their customers—and, I suppose, in some ways, that they're right. Microsoft isn't giving some people what they're asking for; instead, they're giving something that's far more powerful, just as easy to use, and better in almost every conceivable way. These people are asking for something that makes no sense.

Annotation: for those of you who don't know, I've used every version of Visual Basic that has been released so far. VB, VB-DOS, VB2, VB3, VB4-16 and VB4-32, VB5 (even VB5CCE), VB6, VB.NET 7, VB.NET 7.1, VB 2005. While that certainly doesn't make me an expert or some kind of all-knowing authority, I'm at least reasonably familiar with the language and tool.

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