I don’t have time to respond at length today, but I wanted to make a couple quick points.
First, as Peter noted in a comment to my entry the other day, I made the rhetorical mistake of conflating “Mort” with “Matt”. Matt is the “knowledge worker” developer who produces personal productivity applications in order to get his “real” job done. Mort is also a line-of-business programmer, but Mort’s job title has “Developer” or “Programmer” in it somewhere. Much of Mike’s article is about tools for the Matts of the world, not so much the Morts.
I’ve decided that for the purposes of my blog, these whimsical names create more confusion than they prevent — I’m going to eschew using them from now on.
Second, I absolutely 100% agree that there is way, way more we can do for knowledge workers, LOB developers and novice programmers in the tools space — both in terms of the “framing” user interface (the menus, windows, buttons, panels,…) and language design. My team in particular is thinking very hard about these issues. I can’t talk much about our ideas at this time, but if you guys have suggestions, I’m happy to hear them, and a big thanks to Mike for bringing up his ideas.
And Mike has good ideas — of course, I only say that because I proposed most of them to the VB.NET team years ago. Back then I spent a lot of time working with the VB .NET language designers to see if these ideas from VBScript would work in VB .NET, thereby giving VB .NET a better backwards compatibility story with VBScript.
Regrettably, by and large, they don’t. (I may go into details in future blogs as to some of the crazy ideas we had for making VBScript work in the .NET world.) Based on that experience, I absolutely 100% disagree that fracturing VB into a FOURTH variant — VB6, VBScript, VB.NET and the proposed VBScript.NET — is a good way to achieve the laudable goal of lessening the VB learning curve. We can improve VB without fracturing it into yet another variant.
However, I’m not the person to ask about that — if you want to know what’s happening in VB land, well, top minds are working on it. Talk to Paul, he’s your man.