Future Directions for Visual Basic

Yesterday I gave my valedictory address on Visual Basic at the PDC. I think the talk went well and it was a lot of fun, if not a little sad that it’s one of the last times I’ll be giving a talk about Visual Basic. We covered a lot of exciting stuff, some of which should be familiar to readers of the blog. I’ll let people know when the video is up on the Channel9 page for the talk, should be some time today. For those of you who don’t want to sit through the talk it went something like this:

  • First, we talked a bit about the role of Visual Basic at Microsoft as the language that makes Microsoft platforms really accessible to programmers.
  • Then we segued into talking about the increased commitment that the languages groups are making to ensure that Visual Basic and C# coordinate language features so that users of one language aren’t left out in the cold when the other language adds some useful feature. This isn’t to say that we’re going to do things in exactly the same way, or even that the languages will have exactly the same feature set, but that we’re committing to ensuring that the fundamental capabilities in the languages stay in better sync than they have over the previous eight years.
  • Then Lucian did a really wonderful demo of VB 10.0, which is shipping in Visual Studio 2010. He showed (IIRC) the following features that should be familiar to the readers of this blog: array literals, collection initializers, automatic properties, implicit line continuations, statement lambdas, generic variance, and a feature that embeds primary interop assembly types in your assembly so you don’t have to deploy the PIA. I may have missed some, so check out the video when it’s posted!
  • Finally, we talked about some of the trends that we see affecting Visual Basic going forward and talked about some of the work we’re starting to do for post-VS 2010 to move the Visual Basic compiler to managed code and open it up to the world so that you can take advantage of the services that it provides.

If you attended the talk, please evaluate the session! It helps me become a better speaker and helps us give a better PDC. And feel free to stop by the tools lounge today, I’ll be hanging out there most of the day!

5 thoughts on “Future Directions for Visual Basic

  1. RichB

    > ensure that Visual Basic and C# coordinate language features

    The return of the CodeDOM as a full-fidelity parse DOM as well as write DOM? Thus VB and C# can share a common AST just like all DLR languages share a common dynamic AST?

    That would be cool.

  2. Bill Sempf

    Enjoyed your talk, Paul. So very glad to see the language returning to the roots of making programming EASIER rather than more complex. Us normal people have to code too.

    Will miss you at the Oslo team though. Hope to see you at the next Author’s summit.

  3. simon geering

    very good overview of whats going on paul.

    Am glad that someone has finally had the sense to realise that language feature coordination if a sensibel idea.

    Oh and as someone working with a lot of COM interop on a daily basis the ability to embed interop dlls is very welcome.

    You’ll leave a valued legacy in the language and have set thing on a sensible path for the future something for which i for one would like to thank you.


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