FTP Online just posted a full version of a recent interview with Chris Dias titled “VB.NET Branches Out”.
OK, I don't find “branches out” to be in any way compelling, but at least it looked like they were finally going to “officially“ differentiate VB from C#. All the features were there...great answers by Chris to surprisingly pithy questions from Patrick Meader...I'm going “Yeah, they _finally_ get it!”...and then *Wham!*, face-first into the wall. Goddamnit. Chris said:
“The root of the question is: Is there something they won't be able to do in VB.NET that they will be able to do in another language such as C#? The answer to that is "no." There are features that one or the other might not have, but the fundamental capabilities will be the same, because they derive from the framework.”
Well, as _I_ see it, these are two orthogonal issues. When Chris said “no”, he blew the opportunity to finally do something to differentiate the two tools (note that I'm not saying “languages“). Sure, they use (_not_ “derive from“) the same framework, but that's a nothingburger. The C# advocate is still going to say something like “you can't do unsafe code in VB“ (or something similar) and if the answer to “what can VB do that C# can't?” is “not a damned thing” then we're back to then “I have to choose C# because I don't want to limit myself”.
In my very unhumble opinion, what these products need is _more_ differentiation, not less. There needs to be something compelling that you can do in VB that you cannot - and likely will never be able to - do in C#. I really don't care what it is...that's not important...but as long as VB is seen by the “advanced“ programming community as a providing something “less” - rather than “different” - it's going to continue to come off as second rate, no matter how much effort Microsoft puts into the “development experience”.
Seems obvious to me. Does everyone else agree?
I have a meeting scheduled next week with Chris (and Jay Roxe, the new VB product manager) and am very interested to hear what the rest of the developer community thinks about my conclusion.