Does The World Still Need Visual Basic?

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visual-basicMicrosoft was quite literally founded on Basic.  Few of us who were doing software development in the 90's could argue that Visual Basic successfully lowered the bar for entry such that just about anybody could write a simple program.  I would even go so far as to say that Visual Basic was a key to the success of Windows in the 90's and 00's.  While Visual Basic developers have been occasionally lambasted by their semicolon adoring counterparts for relying on wizards and code generators, few could argue with the speed to delivery and the suitability of VB for rapid prototyping back then.

But time does march on.  When you attend conferences and watch demos today, it looks fairly clear that JavaScript is the new easily accessible and ubiquitous language for rapid prototyping and fast time to production.  Given the amount of tooling that is available and the non-proprietary nature of the language itself it would seem to be a better alternative for a hobbyist developer to pick up.  What's more, with Windows 8 making JavaScript and HTML 5 a first class development experience for Windows 8 apps, one has to ask if we really need Visual Basic anymore.

What do you think?  Is Microsoft simply reluctant to shoot the dying horse it rode in on or is Visual Basic still a trusted companion with life left in her?

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Paul Ballard

Paul Ballard is a Chief Architect specializing in large scale distributed system development and enterprise software processes. Paul has more than twenty years of development experience including being a former Microsoft MVP, a speaker at technical conferences such as Microsoft Tech-Ed and VSLive, and a published author. Prior to working on the Windows platform, he built software using a vast array of technologies including Java, Unix, C, and even OS/2.