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Microsoft's Plans for the Future of .NET

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Microsoft's Mads Torgersen has shared an updated strategy for the .NET family of languages, providing insight into the comapny's thinking for future functionality.  Although the development of C#, VB .NET, and F# happens in public over GitHub, Microsoft’s long-term plans have frequently been kept private.  Torgersen's announcement is useful in that Microsoft's current way of thinking is now available for public review and commentary.

Torgersen notes that according to StackOverflow, only Python and C# are both found on the top ten lists for most used and most loved programming languages.  C# is used in a wide variety of application types:  business, gaming, and web, among several others.  Recognizing this, Microsoft wants C#’s design to “innovate aggressively, while being very careful to stay within the spirit of the language”.  Another aspect of this is to support all of C#'s various platforms, so that one is not emphasized at the expense of others.

When it comes to Visual Basic, its user base is not as large as C#, but that user base does have a larger percentage of new developers than C#.  Since Visual Basic has a smaller, more inexperienced developer base in Microsoft’s eyes, future design plans are going to see VB decoupled from C#’s design.  VB will add new language features where it makes sense for that language, rather than merely add them because C# is getting something similar.  That said, Torgersen says Microsoft will continue to maintain it as a first-class citizen on .NET which remains welcoming to new developers.

Of the three languages mentioned, F# has the smallest user base, but it is one that is very passionate about the language.  Torgersen says that Microsoft intends to “make F# the best-tooled functional language on the market” while ensuring it interoperates well with C# where appropriate. 

Reader commentary on this announcement is mixed.  F# and C# developers are mostly happy as their languages will continue to be considered in a place of prominence.  VB developers are more concerned that their language will be left behind or stagnate.  However Torgersen insists that VB will continue to be a point of investment for Microsoft.

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Community comments

  • Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you for participating in the discussion.

    oh no, I'm really worried about VB developers

  • sounds like Silverlight all over again

    by Lyn Taylor,

    Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you for participating in the discussion.

    the future of VB is sounding very much like the future of Silverlight... start jumping ship now, you VB'ers.. ? whats your problem, do you all wear glasses and cannot See.Sharp ?

  • I don’t see any problem for companies using VB.NET for desktop applications.

    by Ian Ringrose,

    Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you for participating in the discussion.

    The new features being added to C# are of no real benefit to 99% of database front end desktop applications, and that is what most VB.Net programmers work on. Unlike Silverlight there will be nothing stopping current VB.NET applications from being used for many years. (Apart from no one wanting to install applications these days….)

    I even question if the new features going into C# are of benefit to most C# programmers. I can think of one project when they may have avoided the use of C++ for part of the project, otherwise they just avoid a few lines of simple code.

  • Re: sounds like Silverlight all over again

    by Charles Cherry,

    Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you for participating in the discussion.

    Your comment indicates how little you know about VB and the developers who use it.

    Many large corporations and government entities adopted VB as a language years ago, and are not about to rewrite all those millions of lines of that code in another language because they can't "see sharp."

    Microsoft is not about to leave all those companies and developers behind because C# is more "innovative." Innovation doesn't necessarily pay the bills when it comes to keeping the company code base stable and running.

    I prefer c# myself, but sometimes a client requires VB expertise.I know both languages pretty well, so I can jump right in and be productive in either environment because of the language parity. I hope MS does not allow the languages to diverge too much.

  • VB.NET Strong in all of my team developments

    by Ohuanasis Garcia,

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    In my company ...all and i mean all of our development is made using VB.NET. We know C# but my team has decided to stick to since we have being developing all of our application in since VB6 migrated to We keep developing new applications and processes using with not problem. there is nothing C# has that we cannot do in except Xamarin as far as i know. We integrated the like mobile application IDE B4I(Basic for IOS) and B4A (BAsic for Android) at a very affordable price of $200 for the enterprise edition. so now we develop mobile application in Visual basic like IDE with all features that VS offers. MS needs to understand that is a very widely used programming language that many ppl love to use for developing.

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