Thursday, January 15, 2015

A comment by dilettante !

VB's history is unrelated to that of VB .Net, which is an entirely different compiler that isn't based on the prior work done in Microsoft Basic products... until it was cut short by the .Net fiasco.

VBA was an offshoot of VB, originally intended to replace crude efforts like WordBasic and move into other Office applications like Excel and Outlook. Later it was made available for a time to 3rd party developers as a macro language for other applications and you still see it there from time to time even though it is not offered to new developers anymore.

COM is native to Windows, and a core part of the operating system. It is not going anywhere despite the FUD spread in the lower tiers of the .Net community. ActiveX is a layer on top of COM, bringing in Automation (OLE), and this is what VB6 uses (not naked COM, which VB6 is not designed to use).

There is a fellow named Anders Hejlsberg. Back in the 1980s he came up with a product called Turbo Pascal.

Along came Windows and the DOS-bound Turbo Pascal just didn't cut the mustard anymore. Hejlsberg was mightily annoyed since the world turned its back on his little compiler which was no longer relevant. He also hated the new Visual Basic that Microsoft had come up with, partially because he didn't care for Basic as a language at all, mostly because the world was now ignoring him, and his ego was huge.

So he set out to create a Windows-oriented Pascal, which he called "VB Killer." This stole many concepts from the VB IDE and its Visual Form Designer, and became Delphi.

Some years later he used his connections to land a job at Microsoft, where, still grinding his teeth at the success of VB which grew with every new release, and now knowing Delphi was a dead horse, he ended up on a Microsoft Java team.

There he helped develop a divergent version of Java that was tightly bound to Windows and incompatible with standard Java. This was called Visual J++. However it infringed on and damaged standard Java, and the courts thought so too. Sun was able to win a lawsuit, and so Microsoft had to start erasing any trace of VJ++ and the Microsoft JVM. MS JVM headaches of course plague Windows users ever since, and it has become a minor stumbling point when trying to install VB6 today.

With the lawsuit underway and things looking grim for Microsoft's case, the evil Hejlsberg and his team got together with some lawyers and came up with a legally defensible clone of Java, This was called "Project COOL."

COOL became .Net and the language C#, but just to get more revenge on VB he managed to sell the Powers That Be that putting a "VBish" face on this would bring the VB community under the .Net shadow as well. So we got a VB .Net compiler that used syntax superficially similar to that of VB but different in subtle and hazardous ways, and of course with bizarre semantic and run-time differences.

The VB community hated the .Net travesty. Many moved elsewhere. Eventually the gullible accepted it and you see many of them here. After all, VB was killed off at VB6 and the .Net Roadshow managed to convince many employers to move. Most developers have no choice but to find employment to pay the bills, so a lot more jumped to .Net and started rationalizing their move and brainwashing themselves. Many now believe it is hot stuff, lobotomy completed.

.Net is an artificial layer just like Java. Windows with no .Net runs just fine and doesn't know the difference.

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