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Thread: Microsoft's C++ bigotry

  1. #76
    Jonathan West Guest

    Re: Microsoft's C++ bigotry


    "Larry Serflaten" <serflaten@usinternet.com> wrote in message
    news:3e2afd5e@tnews.web.devx.com...
    > "Jonathan West" <jwest@mvps.org> wrote
    > > I don't have access to Microsoft's sales figures, but I have been

    keeping an
    > > eye on newsgroup volumes in the dotnet groups on the msnews server,

    which
    > > probably serve as a reasonable indication of usage. The C# groups have

    about
    > > 50% more traffic than the VB.NET groups. I once took a look at a sample

    of
    > > the posts on the framework groups, to see which languages were being

    used
    > > more there, and the same ratio seemed to hold.
    > >
    > > This suggests to me that very little upgrading of VB6 code is being

    done,
    > > and that C# is being preferred over VB.NET for new projects. The

    conclusion
    > > is that most people who have existing VB6 projects are sticking with VB6

    for
    > > the time being,

    >
    > Or it could suggest that C++ developers are looking for a 'better'

    language and
    > are generally more of an early adopter type than the VB developers.
    >
    > I'd agree with the conclusion, but I'd suspect there are 50% more C++

    developers
    > moving to .Net than VB developers, rather than suggest that people are

    choosing
    > C# 50% more often than VB.Net. I know it sounds about the same, but

    consider:

    Even if your conclusion is correct, it is 50% more in absolute numbers gone
    to C# out of a much smaller initial population. In fact, if most of the
    migration is coming from C++, it's even worse for Microsoft as it means that
    even fewer people are coming to .Net from VB. Microsoft *have* a C++
    solution and don't need people to move to C# from there.

    Whichever way you slice it, if migration from VB6 to VB.NET were happening
    at anything like the rate Microsoft hoped for, C# would not have overtaken
    it from a standing start. Just think what a boost the .Net platform would
    have gotten if most or all those 3 million VB6 developers out there had
    received the uniform message from the community "Hey, VB.NET is cool and
    moving your project there is no sweat!"

    --
    Regards
    Jonathan West


  2. #77
    Larry Serflaten Guest

    Re: Microsoft's C++ bigotry

    "Jonathan West" <jwest@mvps.org> wrote

    > Even if your conclusion is correct, it is 50% more in absolute numbers gone
    > to C# out of a much smaller initial population. In fact, if most of the
    > migration is coming from C++, it's even worse for Microsoft as it means that
    > even fewer people are coming to .Net from VB. Microsoft *have* a C++
    > solution and don't need people to move to C# from there.
    >
    > Whichever way you slice it, if migration from VB6 to VB.NET were happening
    > at anything like the rate Microsoft hoped for, C# would not have overtaken
    > it from a standing start.


    I don't think it matters all that much. As you know, MS is in it for the long
    haul. It does not matter to them if a developer buys VS.Net for C# or he buys
    VS.Net for VB, it is a sale either way.

    Soon, (relatively speaking) Microsoft will only be supporting VS.Net as their
    Windows development tool. Those developers (and the companies they work
    for) who are lagging behind will eventually have to make a choice to stay with
    Windows, or move to a different platform. If they stay its a sale, if not, then
    they loose a quite a bit more than just the cost of VS, they may loose the cost
    of the OS and other (Office) applications the company had been using as well.

    VB is a good scripting language, and there are plenty of situations where user
    scripting is desired. They have already said they understand developers have
    a syntax preference, and have designed VS to accomodate multiple languages.
    I don't think there should be any worry yet, that VB.Net may be headed for
    extinction, even if the take up is slow to start. As I said, they are in it for the
    long haul and are not going to be rattled by every bump in the road....

    LFS




  3. #78
    Jonathan West Guest

    Re: Microsoft's C++ bigotry


    "Larry Serflaten" <serflaten@usinternet.com> wrote in message
    news:3e2b2142@tnews.web.devx.com...
    > "Jonathan West" <jwest@mvps.org> wrote
    >
    > > Even if your conclusion is correct, it is 50% more in absolute numbers

    gone
    > > to C# out of a much smaller initial population. In fact, if most of the
    > > migration is coming from C++, it's even worse for Microsoft as it means

    that
    > > even fewer people are coming to .Net from VB. Microsoft *have* a C++
    > > solution and don't need people to move to C# from there.
    > >
    > > Whichever way you slice it, if migration from VB6 to VB.NET were

    happening
    > > at anything like the rate Microsoft hoped for, C# would not have

    overtaken
    > > it from a standing start.

    >
    > I don't think it matters all that much. As you know, MS is in it for the

    long
    > haul. It does not matter to them if a developer buys VS.Net for C# or he

    buys
    > VS.Net for VB, it is a sale either way.


    True, but its not a sale if they go from VB6 to Java or Delphi instead. In
    both those case, there is no longer a guarantee that the developed
    applications will run only on Windows.

    >
    > Soon, (relatively speaking) Microsoft will only be supporting VS.Net as

    their
    > Windows development tool. Those developers (and the companies they work
    > for) who are lagging behind will eventually have to make a choice to stay

    with
    > Windows, or move to a different platform. If they stay its a sale, if

    not, then
    > they loose a quite a bit more than just the cost of VS, they may loose the

    cost
    > of the OS and other (Office) applications the company had been using as

    well.

    Just so. Microsoft gives away the NET runtime. It charges several hundred
    dollars a seat for the Office VBA runtime. They don't want to lose that
    revenue. What happens if Office upgrade rates go down the pan the way VB6
    upgrade rates have? If large companies decide they don't want to rewrite
    their Office VBA applications in a VBA-replacement, then that is a real
    possibility.

    >
    > VB is a good scripting language, and there are plenty of situations where

    user
    > scripting is desired. They have already said they understand developers

    have
    > a syntax preference, and have designed VS to accomodate multiple

    languages.
    > I don't think there should be any worry yet, that VB.Net may be headed for
    > extinction, even if the take up is slow to start. As I said, they are in

    it for the
    > long haul and are not going to be rattled by every bump in the road....


    They have got themselves stuck in a nasty hole. They no doubt want and need
    to get the VB6 codebase on board, and yet now they have released VB.NET,
    there is a growing codebase of VB.NET code out there as well. They can
    hardly alienate the early adopters that they have recruited so far, so
    VB.NET with its existing syntax is hardly likely to die in the short term.
    Therefore, the only solution available to Microsoft is to bring out a
    VBClassic.Net based on the .Net runtime, with a syntax that is as consistent
    with VB6 as can reasonably be achieved, and with extensions that give full
    access to the framework.

    I would expect such a language to be able to port ordinary VB code almost
    flawlessly except for those aspects where the framework is incompatible, and
    to accept VB6 code fragments by copy & paste. I wouldn't expect the hacks
    described in Matt Curland's book to come over at all. I think such a project
    is perfectly do-able, though there are a few tricky corners (e.g. non-zero
    based arrays). If Microsoft is thinking in terms of a better wizard, then
    the translations they put into the wizard could equally well be put into a
    preprocessor of a VBClassic.Net compiler!

    --
    Regards
    Jonathan West


  4. #79
    Kent Guest

    Re: Microsoft's C++ bigotry


    I know what you're saying, but I cannot see how 90% can be achieved when there
    is so much reliance on libraries in .Net.

    The only way I think you could come close is to use the com interop and just
    do .Net around your existing ActiveX controls. Even then it would be tough
    to get to 90%.

    "Mark Jerde" <mark.jerde@verizon.no.spam.net> wrote:
    >> 90% overlap eh? I seriously doubt it. Not even Microsoft would be so

    >bold
    ><snip>
    >
    >I suspect each of us uses just a small subset of possible features & coding
    >strategies... It's possible there is a 90% overlap between how /Dave/
    >writes VB6 and VB.NET code.
    >
    > -- Mark
    >
    >
    >


  5. #80
    Kent Guest

    Re: Microsoft's C++ bigotry


    You make things seem as rosey as MM makes them seem bleak. As I recall early
    OCX controls sucked bigtime! Also, you weren't forced into them right away,
    because the 16 bit version of VB still supported VBX files. I also remember
    the OLE runtime files being broken by new versions of office that came along.

    And for those of us who actually built the controls it was even worse. That
    is until 1996 when the spec was "simplified"

    You shouldn't judge people so quickly, you've made a few statements of your
    own that are questionable.

    'Jason Sobell iGadget <igadget_@hotmail.com> wrote:
    >On Sat, 18 Jan 2003 22:26:31 +0000, Mike Mitchell wrote:
    >
    >> On Fri, 17 Jan 2003 23:48:18 -0000, "John Butler"
    >> <nospamjrbutler@btinternet.com> wrote:
    >>
    >>>You don't see your hypocrisy?

    >>
    >> I refuse to accept there was any. In 1997 no VB programmers would have
    >> had even a minuscule inkling of the changes which would befall them
    >> within just a few years, although VB.Net was probably (Project Cool?)
    >> already on the drawing board by then. We used VBXs if we wanted
    >> additional, third-party controls. Suddenly, however, they were passé,
    >> and were replaced with OCXs, which were themselves renamed to ActiveX.
    >> At that time, within the parameters of change we were comfortable
    >> with, such arbitrary and costly changes seemed tremendously
    >> significant. And when I see significant changes for their own sake, I
    >> write about 'em! It's what I do!

    >
    >All of us who were commercially developing at this time were inconvenienced


    >by the move from VBX to OCX, but the increase in reliability and
    >flexibility of our development system that this brought about made it all


    >worthwhile.
    >The fact that you clearly never had to develop your own VBX or OCX
    >components shows that you are not qualified (and were not back when you


    >commented) to make any valid judgements on this issue.
    >The OCX interface allowed us to make reliable, flexible, self-documenting


    >components. The VBX interface was a complete bodge, and it was almost
    >impossible to develop reliable addons.
    >My only complaint about the introduction of OCX was that third parties
    >stopped all development (and bug fixes) on their VBX components while they


    >worked on their new OCXs.
    >
    >> However, what we are now faced with is several orders of magnitude
    >> more different than ever any of the changes we had thrust on us back
    >> then. Who would have guessed what would await us VB programmers in
    >> 2002? Who could have predicted the huge outcry (well, I did a couple
    >> of years ago, but that's another story)?
    >>
    >> But I see that you obtain some sense of absolution for VB.Net by
    >> referring to what I wrote six years ago, and since VB.Net needs all
    >> the support it can get if it is to stay afloat, I'm magnanimous enough
    >> to allow you to capitalise on anything else I might have written
    >> before now.

    >
    >I'm not sure what this 'sense of absolution' tosh is, but I see a clear


    >lack of ability to adapt when I read the same complaints from you six years


    >later but with a different product name
    >Perhaps you should consider a career in dry-stone-wall building,
    >grave-digging, or somesuch situation that does not change over decades or


    >centuries.
    >
    >Cheers,
    > Jason


  6. #81
    Kent Guest

    Re: Microsoft's C++ bigotry


    "John Butler" <nospamjrbutler@btinternet.com> wrote:
    >I wasn't "capitalising" on anything. I just found it funny. Perhaps in a

    few
    >years we can look forward to a new article: "Why don't they leave best
    >enough alone. VB.NET is great" by yourself.
    >


    With Microsoft at the wheel you can almost bet on it. Someone else with
    comeup with something better for them to steal and there will be no reason
    for them to continue on with poor old .Net or whatever the M$ marketing people
    are calling it then.

  7. #82
    Kent Guest

    Re: Microsoft's C++ bigotry


    Phil,

    What were the great accompilshments in VB6 that made it so much better than
    VB6? Not a whole heck of a lot. His point has always been that they could
    have stopped at 5 and they very well could have.

    If you'll remember, the webclass was the great new feature in 6 that made
    a new version necessary. Where are webclasses now? The one thing that I
    do use in 6 is the ability to add an instance of a control at runtime. That
    and the improvments they made to the usercontrol architecture could have
    been added in a service pack.

    I don't see where taking MMs former comments out of context helps your .Net
    case at all. He's pretty much right on.

    Kent

    "Phil Weber" <pweber@nospam.fawcette.com> wrote:
    > > But I see that you obtain some sense of absolution for
    > > VB.Net by referring to what I wrote six years ago...

    >
    >Mike: I can't speak for John, but I referred to what you wrote for reasons
    >that have nothing to do with VB.NET. What you wrote was in response to an
    >article about VB5. A few posts up, you proclaimed VB6 to be (in so many
    >words) the best version of VB. So my question is: How could you write
    >negatively about VB5, yet praise VB6 so effusively?
    >
    >My theory is that you simply enjoy complaining: If MS had released a
    >syntax-compatible upgrade to VB6, I have little doubt you would have found
    >something about it to denegrate.
    >--
    >Phil Weber
    >
    >


  8. #83
    Phil Weber Guest

    Re: Microsoft's C++ bigotry

    > I don't see where taking MMs former comments out
    > of context helps your .Net case at all.


    Kent: I'm not trying to "help [a] .NET case." I'm trying to demonstrate that
    Mike likes to complain, and will find something to dislike in any new
    product.
    --
    Phil Weber



  9. #84
    Jason Sobell iGadget Guest

    Re: Microsoft's C++ bigotry

    On Fri, 17 Jan 2003 12:15:18 +0000, Mike Mitchell wrote:

    > On Fri, 17 Jan 2003 11:52:11 +1100, "Jason Sobell iGadget"
    > <iGadget_@hotmail.com> wrote:
    >
    >>I use VB6 to teach business objects and database app development at uni
    >>because every student is able to develop something runnable in the first 4
    >>lectures (<8 hours), but at the end of the course I would probably only have
    >>4 or 5 out of 100-200 that I would consider good software developers. Some
    >>are even working in industry as VB developers and their code is so appalling
    >>that I would never employ them.

    >
    > As if this scenario is borne out in the hundreds upon hundreds of
    > pages in all those copies of Visual Basic Programmer's Journal! I
    > don't know exactly how long VBPJ was in print, but I still have the
    > CD-ROMs packed full of Basic Heroes, reams of articles by Karl et al,
    > tips, guest ops, and much, much more. And you're telling me that this
    > was all only catering to a bunch of lackadaisical, inadequate
    > programmers who couldn't code their way out of a paper bag?


    So now we judge the level of developer skills by how many copies of VBPJ
    are sold?
    How many million VB developers? How many thousand copies of VBPJ are sold?
    Please, be sensible

    Cheers,
    Jason

  10. #85
    Kent Guest

    Re: Microsoft's C++ bigotry


    Create a monopoly on which they depend and they will have to listen to you.

    There are plenty of other reasons VB is not making it, A working upgrade
    utility would be great, but the code still must to be maintained and developers
    retrained.

    The good ol days are over. C# is as much a RAD tool as VB is. VB6 code
    does not port well to VB.Net, C# is an ECMCA managed language... the list
    goes on and on. Stick a fork in it, VB is done. It has nothing left to
    offer, it's not special any more.

    "Phil Weber" <pweber@nospam.fawcette.com> wrote:
    >Mike: That's actually why I wrote the piece that started this thread. I'm
    >going to use what little influence I have to try to get MS to make the
    >VB6-to-VB.NET transition more similar to the VC++-to-MC++ transition: "It
    >Just Works."
    >
    >If MS won't do it, I think there's a market for a third-party conversion
    >wizard that does a better job.
    >--



  11. #86
    T. Hoskins Guest

    Re: Microsoft's C++ bigotry


    Subject: Re: Microsoft's C++ bigotry
    "Phil Weber" <pweber@nospam.fawcette.com> wrote:
    >"Why should C++ developers enjoy such ease of migration to .NET, while VB
    >developers (of whom there are arguably many more) are forced to rewrite
    >their code?...The message seems clear: If your application is
    >'mission-critical', don't use VB." --
    >http://www.philweber.com/net/2003/01/14.htm#a40


    >Kent: I've been here. But unlike many of "you," I'm neither anti-VB nor
    >anti-Microsoft. I actually use and like VB.NET, and I don't think
    >VB.NET's lack of VB6-compatibility is as serious a problem as many
    >critics portray it to be. I'm hoping that perhaps my more moderate
    >position will get a few more people to hear what I'm saying.


    Why isn't VB.NET's lack of VB6-compatibility NOT a serious a problem? Personally,
    I believe that VB6-compatibility/portability is a very important issue to
    many companies because many development projects have a ROI that spans several
    years.

    I always felt that classic VB was the right choice for quick n' dirty business
    application development and that it was a good choice when it came to building
    stand-alone Windows desktop business applications and simple 2-3 tiered departmental
    software systems. However, now that we have VB.NET -- in the context of the
    business application development -- is it a good choice to use this general
    purpose programming language (instead of C#, C++, Delphi, or Java) for virtually
    anything a company decides it needs to build (i.e. web-based applications,
    n-tier applications, desktop applications, etc)?

    Imo, C++ is a low-level systems language that has been grossly misused.
    That is, for general business application development, I believe a higher
    level programming language, such as, Java, Delphi, or VB, should be (should
    have been) used for most business application development instead of C++.
    Even so, a lot of people did (and still are) use C++ to develop business
    applications probably because they felt they didn't have much of a choice
    in the matter. The sad truth is that classic VB had a lot of shortcomings
    associated with it. It was very difficult (if not impossible) to build certain
    types of business applications/software systems using ONLY the Visual Basic
    programming language.

    As for the "ease of migration" question you posed, "has anyone in this newsgroup
    communicated with any of the developers working on VB.NET on this issue?".
    Whatever happened to the Microsoft employee (he had a name that started with
    the letter Y?) who use to visit this newsgroup? Didn't he write in a post
    that he was going to be checking in on this newsgroup from time to time?

  12. #87
    Jonathan West Guest

    Re: Microsoft's C++ bigotry


    "T. Hoskins" <thoskins@nospam.com> wrote in message
    news:3e2be277$1@tnews.web.devx.com...

    >
    > As for the "ease of migration" question you posed, "has anyone in this

    newsgroup
    > communicated with any of the developers working on VB.NET on this issue?".


    The highest levels of management in Microsoft are fully aware of the issue,
    be assured of that!

    > Whatever happened to the Microsoft employee (he had a name that started

    with
    > the letter Y?) who use to visit this newsgroup?


    You mean YAG (Yair Alan Griver)

    > Didn't he write in a post
    > that he was going to be checking in on this newsgroup from time to time?


    He's moved to another job within Microsoft. However, there are others at
    Microsoft who are still lurking.

    --
    Regards
    Jonathan West


  13. #88
    Dave Guest

    Re: Microsoft's C++ bigotry


    "Kent" <kp@kp.org> wrote:
    >
    >I know what you're saying, but I cannot see how 90% can be achieved when

    there
    >is so much reliance on libraries in .Net.
    >
    >The only way I think you could come close is to use the com interop and

    just
    >do .Net around your existing ActiveX controls. Even then it would be tough
    >to get to 90%.
    >


    My upgrade approach is to run the project through the upgrade wizard, pull
    my hair out for a couple of days, and then remove all the "ax.." controls
    (the VB6 controls that the wizard is too timid to replace) and replace with
    their .NET equivalents, and finally remove all references to the VB6 compatibility
    class. If I then randomly select a block of code from the working VB.NET
    project it's almost always impossible to tell if it's VB6 or VB.NET.



  14. #89
    Paulo Costa Guest

    Re: Microsoft's C++ bigotry

    "Jonathan West" <jwest@mvps.org> wrote:

    > ... Therefore, the only solution available to Microsoft is to bring
    > out a VBClassic.Net based on the .Net runtime, with a syntax
    > that is as consistent with VB6 as can reasonably be achieved,
    > and with extensions that give full access to the framework.


    I agree, and they wouldn´t be loosing much of their face.

    > ... If Microsoft is thinking in terms of a better wizard, then
    > the translations they put into the wizard could equally well be
    > put into a preprocessor of a VBClassic.Net compiler!


    I hadn't thought of it in this therms, but it makes sense. MS would give to
    VB.Net developers a better migration wizard and could bring back to VS.Net
    much of the classic VB developers by including a VBClassic.Net. tool in
    VS.Net. Who knows what is MS waiting for?

    Paulo Costa
    -----------
    VB.net could have been implemented without
    losing *Language Compatibility* with VB6.




  15. #90
    Dan Barclay Guest

    Re: Microsoft's C++ bigotry

    Hi Phil,

    On Sun, 19 Jan 2003 08:44:59 -0800, "Phil Weber"
    <pweber@nospam.fawcette.com> wrote:

    > > No, no! We need to get Microsoft to admit it!

    >
    >Mike: That's actually why I wrote the piece that started this thread. I'm
    >going to use what little influence I have to try to get MS to make the
    >VB6-to-VB.NET transition more similar to the VC++-to-MC++ transition: "It
    >Just Works."


    Yes, it really has to be that simple.

    >If MS won't do it, I think there's a market for a third-party conversion
    >wizard that does a better job.


    FWIW, I really don't think that will help very much. The issue is more
    fundamental than a conversion wizard can address.

    At this point they've soured a bunch of folks. There are billions of
    lines of code laying on the table, not going anywhere at the moment.
    Everybody I'm familiar with is looking at options, but likely won't
    move until VB.Classic starts getting stale or there's some
    *compelling* reason to change delivery environment from Windows.

    Do you think, having looked at the path MS provided for transition,
    that these people really want a move that will (possibly/likely) set
    them up for this situation again?

    IMHO, even if Microsoft themselves came up with a conversion wizard
    (showing that they cared enough to do that) it wouldn't help with
    buy-in. First, it's too late and second it shouldn't be needed in the
    first place. To think that a 3rd party conversion wizard (showing no
    interest from MS) would be even farther down the line.

    OTOH, it could make some real money for the 3rd party... even catching
    10% of the "code on the table" market experimenting with it is real
    money. We've already purchased 3rd party conversion wizards (to other
    dev platforms) just for experimentation.

    I just don't think any conversion wizard will get existing VB
    developer's code moved en mass to VB at this point. The only thing
    that will do that is for MS to provide a *direct* upgrade path and
    restore trust in the language and development environment with a clear
    statement on stability of the language.

    Dan

    Language Stability is a *feature* I wish VB had!
    (#6)
    Error 51
    Error 3
    Error 9
    ....

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