For day 2 of the Blogging A-to-Z challenge, I'm going to talk about the first computer language I learned, which is still alive and kicking in the .NET universe decades after it first appeared on a MS-DOS 1.0 system disk: BASIC.
BASIC stands for "Beginner's All-Purpose Symbolic Instruction Code." The original specification came from John Kemeny and Thomas Kurtz at Dartmouth College in 1964. Today it's one of the core .NET languages included with Visual Studio as "VB.NET" (for "Visual BASIC," Microsoft's dialect of BASIC released in 1991).
Yesterday I showed you a "Hello, World" application written in C#. (You can download the source code here.)
Here's the VB.NET version:
What's different? Well, a lot of things: no braces, no
include lines, no semicolon line endings...and that's just for a 2-line program.
But look at what's the same. Because this is a .NET program, the actual guts of it look almost exactly the same. There are two calls to different methods on the
Console object, and except for the missing semicolons, they are identical to the calls in C#.
Here's the IL:
.method public static void Main() cil managed
.custom instance void [mscorlib]System.STAThreadAttribute::.ctor() = ( 01 00 00 00 )
// Code size 19 (0x13)
IL_0001: ldstr "Hello, World!"
IL_0006: call void [mscorlib]System.Console::WriteLine(string)
IL_000c: call valuetype [mscorlib]System.ConsoleKeyInfo [mscorlib]System.Console::ReadKey()
} // end of method Program::Main
Wow. The IL is exactly the same. So both the VB.NET and C# code compile down to functionally identical assemblies.
And that's one of the most important characteristics of .NET: it lets you write code in any language you want (as long as someone has written a compiler for it), and run it on any platform you want (as long as there's a CLR for it).
I worked with Visual BASIC from versions 1 to 6, and then did one project in VB.NET before switching to C# in 2002. You really would need to pay me a lot of money to go back to it. I believe C# is more expressive, more concise, and more able to reflect my intentions than VB.NET.
But there is nothing wrong with VB.NET. If you want to use BASIC, enjoy. With the .NET ecosystem, it's up to you.