Chris Sells finally gets VB (I mean dynamic languages)

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08 July 2009

As anyone who’s used VB any time after 1994 knows, dynamic languages are really powerful for certain problems. Of course it used to be called “late binding”, but the point is that you can write code against a type you don’t know at development time (or compile time).

This concept is all the rage now, and it is fun (imo) to be able to nod sagely and say “Yes, I’ve been saying this for 14 years now.”

Not that I’d say that to Chris, but it is really nice that he is now an “it getter”*:

But the concept is really, really powerful. And many of the related concepts and capabilities that have come in more recent languages, including VB 9, 10 and C# 4, really enhance the capabilities of “late binding” and open up entire new scenarios.

This is along the lines of the C# people who talk about the couple features that are not in VB, and then dismiss XML literals as being of little or no value. That’s just ignorance talking. XML literals do for XML coding what dynamic languages do for using objects to abstract service/system boundaries.

I have been doing nearly all C# for over a year, but when I need to mess with XML I still create a VB project. Who’d choose to put themselves through the pain incurred in C# to do something that is so much simpler in VB?

In the end, my point is simple: don’t be a language bigot. Every language out there, VB, Python, C# and more, brings something unique and beautiful to the world. We can only hope that our language of choice (whatever that is for you) has an architect with an open mind, who is willing to bring the best ideas into each language…

(and yes, I hope that means things like XML literals, WithEvents and the Implements clause work their way into C# – because those concepts are really powerful and would benefit the language greatly)

Regardless, it is nice to see C# gaining “late binding”, which should provide great benefit a lot of people.

* thank you Steven Colbert