Someone recently sent me a question that comes up every now and again:
C# has been submitted and approved by the ECMA, will Visual Basic ever be submitted?
Well, never say never, but there are no current plans to submit Visual Basic to a standards body. The idea has certainly been discussed internally from time to time, but we’ve usually gotten stuck on several points:
- By and large, the demand for this from developers has been very low, at least in terms of the people that we talk to in customer visits, trade shows, conferences, online, etc. Now, it’s always possible that there’s a latent demand out there for standardization of VB, and we’re always interested to hear people’s feedback on this, so let us know if this would make a big difference for you for some reason.
- Having watched the C# team go through the process, it’s clear that standardizing a language through a standards body requires a significant amount of work. And a good chunk of that work has very little to do with the actual content of the standard and a lot to do with the general process overhead of publishing a standard. Given the previous bullet point, that makes us loath to dedicate resources to standardization that might be used productively elsewhere.
- From a more philosophical (and personal) standpoint, there just seems to be something… I dunno, wrong about trying to standardize a variant of BASIC. I know that there was an ANSI standard BASIC many years ago (I have a copy of it up on my shelf), but I think that BASIC has probably been one of the most un-standard programming languages ever when you take into account the myriad of variants of the language over the past three and a half decades. I wouldn’t want us to jinx ourselves or anything…
OK, that last point isn’t really a reason why we haven’t approached standardization, but it is something I like to throw in to this conversation when it comes up. As I said, though, we’re always open to hearing what you have to say about this subject, so if you have a strong opinion, leave a comment or drop me a line through the comment form!