I just wanted to take a moment to acknowledge an interesting series of entries by Mike Schinkel (here and here) that were followed up by a reply by Eric (here) and a further reply by Mike (here). To be honest, my reading attention span can be very short and I find my eyes glazing over when I start to read longer-winded blog entries, but these did catch my attention. (My short attention span is, of course, very ironic given that I can be kind of long-winded myself…)
To grossly oversimplify Mike’s points, he feels that
- The Visual Studio IDE is too complex for many users.
- The Visual Basic language as it stands now is too difficult for many users.
I have absolutely no argument with point #1. The kitchen-sink approach to VS IDE development has had its upsides, to be sure, but the resulting behemoth is a bit too complex even for my taste. And I’ve gotten this same feedback from others as well. This is definitely something we’re working to address in the future.
Point #2 is a little more interesting. There’s the usual problem with the overwhelming size of the Framework and how to make that digestible, but Mike also raises the question of strictness. He makes the argument (echoed by Don Box and others) that many programmers would do better with a world that’s more typeless and less strict than the one they get on .NET. As someone who lives day to day in a strongly-typed world (so to speak), this seems somewhat counter-intuitive: less typing usually equals less performance and less compile-time checking, leaving problems to be discovered at runtime. In fact, one of the major features of this release, generics, is specifically about making it easier to have *more* type safety and better performance at runtime. So the persistent voices in favor of scripting appear to be swimming against the tide. The question is: are they right?
To be honest, I think the whole question deserves more thought. We purposefully spent a lot of time making sure that things like operator overloading and generics work with late binding in Whidbey, so it’s not like we’re closing down that avenue of possibility. But, hmmmm…. Dunno. I’m just going to have to think about it some more.
(“Top minds are working on it“? Does that mean I also get to take a look at the Ark of the Covenant too?)