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InfoQ Homepage News Visual Basic: Back by Popular Demand

Visual Basic: Back by Popular Demand

When .NET was first released, Visual Basic and C# were on equal footing in the community. But over the years, Microsoft has been slowly moving towards deprecating VB. The first time that the future of VB was in question was around 2008 and resulted in co-evolution promise.

This promise was put into doubt with the introduction of Windows Phone 7, which didn’t offer VB support until September of 2010. And again, when Microsoft quietly dropped VB from their professional developer certification program.

The most recent insult was when the community found out that VB wasn’t going to be supported by ASP.NET 5. Not only was this a breach of the promise for equal support, the decision was made without any sort of public announcement. The fact that Visual Basic wasn’t going to be offered was revealed in a bug report last December.

Since then the Visual Basic users have woken up. While still greatly underrepresented in the blogger community, they were able to use formal channels to convince Microsoft to offer full support for VB in ASP.NET MVC. Jeffrey T. Fritz writes,

We’ve talked about ASP.NET 5 as a major update of the ASP.NET framework with Roslyn and cross-platform support in mind since our initial public discussions. It is not a short path, and we focused initially on completing support for C#. In the months since our initial announcements, we have heard from many of you, telling us how much you like Visual Basic and that they want to see support for it in ASP.NET 5.

We are excited today to announce that ASP.NET 5 will have full support with Visual Basic (both tooling and runtime – including cross platform runtime support). As always, we will continue this development of ASP.NET 5 in the open, and you can track our progress or even contribute on GitHub at

Many developers question whether or not any new work is being done in Visual Basic. Michel Posseth answers,

I spit out at least 2 projects a month in my company `! :-)

In our company all development is done in VB.Net 2013 Ultimate with FW 4.5.2 and yes we use the WPF , MVVM ( in a purist form ) , we use the Entity Framework 6,x and Yes we use MVC with Razor and we even code our App and yes everything IN VB.Net With option explicit , option strict and Option Infer switched to ON ! ...


Also note that as the owner and founder of VBDotNetCoder I see a big increase of VB.Net evolving right now ! Especially in South America , Greece , Spain and Italy ,,,,, so yes there is hope that VB.Net will catch up a lot within now and a few years :-) once people realize that it is actually the better RAD and debug environment to get a business running .

In terms of visibility, pcnerd has a theory,

I think the real issue is most of is in the corporate space and do not allow for feedback to be sent back to Microsoft, or start new projects, just keep adding on. The code base I work with was designed pre .net 2.0 and it sometimes feels like it, even though we are running against .net 4.5. On the other hand, my last project I started, I could not even start the project with VB in visual studio. I had to pick a generic one and modify it to be VB. To say we aren’t doing cutting edge, I’m using Web Api, Razor, and Angular hosted with OWIN on Katana. Even security is using Web Tokens. Just imagine that is in VB and JavaScript!

Despite this announcement, there are still hard feelings among some developers. Chris Owens writes,

It's good to hear that VB.NET will get some parity with C# as far as ASP.NET 5 goes. Though, it's sad that there were enough C# fanboys at Microsoft with mindsets like Stephan Walther who made the derogatory comments about they’re only being 2 people doing ASP.NET MVC development with VB.NET and they should stop. It's also sad that it was even a question at all and again that the thousands of corporate enterprise developers that use VB.NET were an afterthought - and we have to wait until the full release to even be able to use things.

It would have been nice to be able to play with the pre-release bits in VB.NET since that's what I'll be using at least 95 of the time for MVC, etc... Now, I'll be behind the curve and have to continue to wait until the full release with VB.NET. Though I'm sure the C# fanboys will make sure that all the examples are C# only as usual and continue to perpetuate the myth that there are no VB.NET people left so those with hurt feelings that MS is continuing to support VB.NET can continue to assume nobody uses it.

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