I remember when I first started programming in Windows. It was in Windows 3.0, and I had just graduated from college. I went to Babbages (now Gamestop) and I bought two languages. Back then it seemed all of the cool programming software would come out in Babbages, the way game titles come out today. Anyway, I bought VB 1.0 and Turbo C++ for Windows from Borland. Microsoft didn’t have a version of Quick C for Windows at the time. I wanted to write a little program to keep track of my appointments. I played with those two languages for a long time, side by side, trying to decide if I should write my programs in C++ or in VB.
The argument went like this: with Turbo C++ I can change anything I want in my program. I can use inheritance. I can use C++ — the language I spent five years learning in college. But wow, look at all the junk I had to do to just write a message loop.
VB on the other hand feels like a scripting language. It feels like programming in HyperCard for the Mac. I can’t change everything I want, but do I need to? What if there’s something I can’t do in it? But wow, look at how easy it was to write my program. I turned to my dad and said, “Dad, look at this, you just drag and drop controls, hit run, and that’s your program.” He liked it too, although he wasn’t a programmer.
I went with VB. I did everything in VB, and later when I started working my first official programming job, I showed my boss VB 1.0. Until then they had had a Unix application no plans for Windows. When my boss saw VB 1.0 he just played with it non-stop and decided that we were porting our software to Windows. I’ve never had so much fun programming. He had never had so much fun programming.
Why am I saying all this? There have been seven versions of VB so far. Now that we are about to get an eight version, the general consensus is that VB looks just like C#. Who cares about that? I want my old VB back. I want VB to be so different from C# and so much easier to use that a C# person will feel jealous of VB. I want the kids of C# developers to write programs faster with VB than their parents, and for their parents to wonder why they are not writing their stuff in VB. And I want a programmer coming out of college to say, “I know it doesn’t feel like a real language, like one of the languages I had to learn, but wow, look at how easy it is.”
Do you feel VB has been heading in the right direction?