Java to support Visual Basic

by Hari K. Gottipati

eWeek is running an artcile based on interview with Graham Hamilton, a Sun vice president and fellow in the Sun platform team. In the interview he told that Java SE 7(code-named Dolphin) is going to support Visual Basic.

Sun is not trying to clone any specific version of Visual Basic. It is attempting to support common VB.Net features on the Java platform. "If you're familiar with VB.Net, this will be a very easy-to-learn language for you," Hamilton said of the Basic implementation Sun is working on.

So it sounds like Java is going to have the VB kind of features, not the language itself. At this point, I don't think Sun is attempting the compiler which complies the VB code into byte codes. Anyway this is a good news for Java developers who migrated from VB and for the people like me who never worked with VB, its just another feature(s) . What's your opinion?

Update : Sun is working on Project Semplice Basic which lets you write code using VB syntax(VB like syntax) and compiles to Java classes that will run on the Java. In other words these features are not going to be part of the Java language, rather its a new scripting language identical to VB. The compiler is in early stages of development, which compiles Semplice Basic code into Java classes. Its not meant for porting existing VB apps over to Java, but you can convert existing VB6 applications into Semplice Basic applications with some limitations by using Netbeans tools that Sun is currently working on.

This new VB type scripting language is inspired by VB, so it may attract the VB developers. But by this time I suspect most of the VB developers are attracted by C# as both can be used in mix in .Net framework. But the core advantage of the Semplice Basic is, once you compile the code into Java classes you get the benefit of "compile once, run everywhere".


2006-08-14 12:59:53
Maybe as a scripting language.

2006-08-14 13:56:32
2006-08-15 02:28:14
Know how is the biggest barrier between languages. How many of the VB articles out there will apply to this type of basic? If the answer isn't most of them, the impact will be modest.
It sounds like solving yesterdays challenges tomorrow.

2006-08-15 05:20:46
Good Idea, a real weekness of the Microsoft design philosophy is constantly Rewrite your code base for every new language that comes down the pike.
This would really help Business get of the Microsoft Rewrite train.
Convert it to Java-VB and then support it across platform and on a stable code base.

This is a Killer Application for Java.

As a side note: Any comparison of the companies that jumped off cobol on the mainframe in the 90's vs. the ones that stayed: The ones that stayed mainframe cobol are laughing all the way to the bank. Microsoft have gone thru VB4 VB5 VB6 C++ Com DCom and now C#.
Vast sums of wasted money.

2006-08-15 06:39:32
This seems pointless, without COM library and COM components support, drag-and-drop and wizards, this will be useless to VB users, anyhow VB is nasty procedural junk, it was never a proper OOP.

I think the effort would be better spent sorting out Swing so that it has a much shallower learning curve, via many JDK helper classes and proper function support, for event handling etc.

2006-08-16 18:18:53
I'd be more interested in seeing what kinds of tooling and support Sun provides in Netbeans. Should be interesting to watch this effort develop further.
Simon Hibbs
2006-08-18 09:42:13
Five years ago this would have been a great idea, but now it's not realy interesting. VB on .NET hasn't shown the dominance the language had in version 6 as many VB developers jumped directly to C#.

Languages such as Ruby and Python are much more interesting on the JVM and .NET platforms. They offer the same ease of development of VB, but with cleaner and more modern syntaxes. Ruby has huge mind share in the web programming arena now, while Python is widely used for network or GUI programming and system scripting.

Unless Sun can come up with a database access model to compete with ADO.NET, VB on the JVM is just pointless and even then due to the nature of the platform those features would be accessible from other, better languages anyway.

Simon Hibbs

2006-08-19 09:42:08
To Mr. Hobbs:
The only advantage MS has over Java is in ReNAMING it's tech every two years.
In Java: a PreparedStatement is still the same name, and a ResultSet is still a result set.
Microsoft is great at rebadging old tech with minor improvements, and calling it a new release,
requiring the user base to do a complete REWRITE, this is how Microsoft competes with it's own user base. Because microsoft doesn't use .net in it's own products( Vista ) it put's it's users at a competitive disadvantage with itself.

2006-08-20 21:18:32
I think Sun should develop its own and unique VB-like language, so that people who knows VB can migrate by learning 1 or 2 differences.

But those should be important differences, like being OO and fully compatible with Java.

If Sun tries to be compatible to VB, which of them would they choose? VB1? VB2? VB3? VB4? VB5? VB6? VB.NET1? VB.NET2? VB.NET3?

2006-08-23 19:50:14
...guess the ultimate goal is just a IDE WAR and marketize SUN's products. This is not for "Java developer play ground". And its gioing to take long time to simulate what current capable is.

SUN should stand firm and promising on the IDE. Because VB developer don't really look like developer, they are toy player. The only gain more VB developers is to have powerful, ease to use IDE. Java Creator2 is just a starting point but 10 years back idea if compare to Delphi. However, it is good seeing that the new born of Java Creator2 and its free. But I need to use separate IDE for client-server tier (JSwing)...

It is IDE WAR.

2006-09-07 15:54:29
If you really are attempting to get the "Visual Basic" "Developers," you will need a way to convert visual basic groups, projects, user controls, forms, modules, and classes. Your Basic will need to support activex controls, activex dlls, and ocx components from third-party vendors. It will also need to be able to access custom and system DLLs. If you do that, you may get more vb developers to use this application. If not, you might get a mild response. I understand that these controls might make the application Windows specific. But, VB6 was made for Windows anyways. Probably a lot of VB6 shops cannot easily convert to another language because of the lack of decent converters that don't require a lot of code changes.
2006-09-29 13:47:16
Java to support Visual Basic Good Idea
2007-05-28 02:00:31
when would this be available? we are very eagear to execute vb code in java, for our software to have the cross-platform functionality of java.


2007-10-23 14:50:05
2008-03-03 02:39:08
professor am very intresting about your article VB using java.sir amstudent studying 4rth year engg student but am research this new and intresting please send detailed project or atleast overview of your article coz i'll give seminar on this topic.
nce to meet you sir