I want my VB back

by Jose Mojica

I remember when I first started programming in Windows. It was in Windows 3.0, and I had just graduated from college. I went to Babbages (now Gamestop) and I bought two languages. Back then it seemed all of the cool programming software would come out in Babbages, the way game titles come out today. Anyway, I bought VB 1.0 and Turbo C++ for Windows from Borland. Microsoft didn't have a version of Quick C for Windows at the time. I wanted to write a little program to keep track of my appointments. I played with those two languages for a long time, side by side, trying to decide if I should write my programs in C++ or in VB.

The argument went like this: with Turbo C++ I can change anything I want in my program. I can use inheritance. I can use C++ -- the language I spent five years learning in college. But wow, look at all the junk I had to do to just write a message loop.

VB on the other hand feels like a scripting language. It feels like programming in HyperCard for the Mac. I can't change everything I want, but do I need to? What if there's something I can't do in it? But wow, look at how easy it was to write my program. I turned to my dad and said, "Dad, look at this, you just drag and drop controls, hit run, and that's your program." He liked it too, although he wasn't a programmer.

I went with VB. I did everything in VB, and later when I started working my first official programming job, I showed my boss VB 1.0. Until then they had had a Unix application ­ no plans for Windows. When my boss saw VB 1.0 he just played with it non-stop and decided that we were porting our software to Windows. I've never had so much fun programming. He had never had so much fun programming.

Why am I saying all this? There have been seven versions of VB so far. Now that we are about to get an eight version, the general consensus is that VB looks just like C#. Who cares about that? I want my old VB back. I want VB to be so different from C# and so much easier to use that a C# person will feel jealous of VB. I want the kids of C# developers to write programs faster with VB than their parents, and for their parents to wonder why they are not writing their stuff in VB. And I want a programmer coming out of college to say, "I know it doesn't feel like a real language, like one of the languages I had to learn, but wow, look at how easy it is."

Do you feel VB has been heading in the right direction?


2004-10-22 09:57:31
Real Basic
Why you don't give a try at Real Basic which is an environment multiplatform for basic and surely better than VB for basic. Oh by the way it support inheritence.
2004-10-22 10:17:34
You might want to give this combo a try. The main issue is a lack of a nice free RAD GUI designer (though you can get DialogBlocks or other commercial ones), but in terms of ease of use, it's a perfect blend between the simplicity of VB and the power of C++. I say this as a person who programmed in VB for close to 3 years, and I'm happy to say that I find it even nicer than I found VB, and I'm big into simplicity. :)
2004-10-22 10:20:02
As you wish...
2004-10-22 15:24:48
Real Basic
I have. I am a big fan of Real Basic. I actually tried to get everyone at work to try it. I think it's closer to what VB should be today than what VB actually is (does that make sense?). From what I've seen it's more stable on Mac OS X. In Windows I had some problems with it, but I didn't spend too much time with it. But yes, I like Real Basic.
2004-10-22 15:42:37
Thanks, I'll take a look at them. I've never worked with Python, but from the code samples I've found, it looks simple. My frustration with VB is more than the language. I want the IDE to do more for me. For example, I don't want to have to know any design-time attributes when I write a control. All that stuff should be hidden by the IDE.
2004-10-22 21:00:14
He realy does push Real Basic
Real Basic is nice. I agree with the problem. I don't understand why there are two languages right now (3 if you include j#). They are all pretty much equal, with no real advantages to using one over the other.
2004-10-27 12:38:16
SPE - Stani's Python Editor
But there is a nice free RAD GUI, SPE (http://spe.pycs.net/) . I've only toyed with it, but is sure seemed pretty full-featured, at least as nice as VB 1.0 (even as nice as VB 3.0)