But what about Visual Basic, the direct descendant of the programming language that gave Microsoft its start?
I used to make a living writing custom Visual Basic applications for small- to medium-sized companies back in the 1990s, before the .NET era. It was the quickest way to build a fully-functioning Windows application. The drag-and-drop approach to building an interface meant that my business partner, the business rules/human factors guy, could build simple prototypes off which I’d build the actual program. The low barrier to entry presented by the Visual Basic language meant that our customers – who knew their business much better than we did — could make changes to the code (they’d make mostly small changes, but they appreciated not having to call us and pay a consulting fee for every little change).
I haven’t touched Visual Basic since those days. I remember the “Visual Fred” fuss that some developers made when Visual Basic went .NET; they said that Microsoft had ruined the spirit of the original language and simply turned it into C# in Basic clothing. I remember reading articles that said that given the choice between coding in Visual Basic.NET and C#, you should pick C#, partly for technical reasons, partly for financial ones (they hinted that people would pay a “C# developer” more than a “Visual Basic developer”.
C# seems to have “preferred status” in the world of managed-code .NET, judging from a quick look at the books and sites out there. I personally prefer it to Visual Basic .NET, but I wouldn’t be doing my job if I were ignoring an audience of Visual Basic developers. So I thought I’d ask you, the people who build on Microsoft’s platforms: Do you code in Visual Basic?
And if so, do you do it because it’s your preferred programming language? Or it is because your company has standardized on it? Or that you’re maintaining projects written in VB.NET? Or something else?
And just as important, if I post code examples in C#, do you want me to post equivalent code in VB.NET, or are you happy to work it out on your own?
Let me know, either in the comments or drop me an email. I’d like to know, because I’ll use that information to shape future articles on coding.