Thursday, April 16, 2015

Gutenberg invented the printing press and Microsoft VB6

Regarding VB6, maybe this is a more appropriate metaphor: In the 1400s, Gutenberg invented the printing press. It’s commonly agreed by historians that his invention “permanently altered the structure of society.” However, his primary motivation was to print Bibles. Before that time, via cloistered scribes, reading and interpreting the word of God was the exclusive domain of the Pope, to be promulgated by his Bishops and Priests. With the printing press, the word of God was brought to the masses to be read and interpreted by them directly. The result was the reformation, leading to the renaissance and our modern age of science, democracy, and technology.
With just a touch less grandiosity, Microsoft did something similar with the advent of their BASIC language, starting back with Radio Shack TRS-80 computers and even before. Prior to that time, computers were the rather exclusive domain of the DEC, IBM, and Wang “priests.” Microsoft quite successfully brought the computer, and the ability to make it do wonderful things, to the masses. This progressed through DOS with the BASIC Professional Development System, on through Windows combined with the various versions of VB. Those new to the scene can argue otherwise, but those of us who have been around know that there’s a rather direct upward compatible path all the way from TRS-80 BASIC to VB6.
However, when they abandoned VB6 (thereby abandoning their upward compatible path), it was as if they had decided that their entire success strategy had been a mistake. It’s almost as if Gutenberg felt he had made a mistake, and started going around collecting up his Bibles from the masses, destroying them, and giving the interpretation of God back to the Pope, Bishops, and Priests sitting in their ivory towers. Because of copyright laws, Microsoft has a bit more chance of pulling this off than the Catholic Church, but not without a great deal of fallout, lost respect, unneeded divisions, which we’ve seen in the larger programming community.
Microsoft, give us back our Bibles (erm, I mean, VB6) so we can once again have a direct relationship with our computers, making them do all the wonderful things that were once supported and applauded. Ideally, build it into the next release of Windows, just like VBA is built into Microsoft Office.
Platt, a Knuckleball is a specialized pitch that can only be thrown by a few elite pitchers. VB6 is a wonderful, well integrated, full featured computer language that allows straightforward access to computer programming to bright people who wish to make computers do high-level tasks."
So how about offering a developing platform that people actually love and that is more productive (RAD)? It makes sense to me that a VB6 like product would do well to achieve that goal. While you find a great number who would agree with this, there is also a large number of people who have embraced the .Net platform and see nothing wrong it. Microsoft has put so much time and effort into it for the last 14 years (unbelievable) and they are so deep into it, that really makes me wonder if they can make a U-turn on that. Yet at the same time, the clues are here and there that it could happen. A COM based VB7? One can always dream.
I really am clueless about the future. But the facts are that, globally, MS is on a downward slope as of lately. They have to move fast before Java or others take over . On a side note, there is a basic for android on the market and from what I have seen, it is MUCH MUCH MUCH more VB6 like than it is .net like. And it is pumping mobile and phone apps right as we speak. Basic4android is RAD and NASA has been using it to develop mobile apps to control systems.
Now the whole android thing is not all that old when you thing about it. Serious players are positioning themselves real fast. Microsoft does not have years to spare to take the right decisions. .Net is for techies, I don't think it will ever succeed to bring programming masses to Mobile... while a VB6 like RAD tool could do that."

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