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Wa wa, my language is better than yours!  It's the same old tired argument again over on Channel 9.  Let's get it straight once and for all, it isn't the language that is an issue.  The inherent problem that causes VB programmers to have an inferiority complex is not the language, but rather the company they keep.  The truth is VB is easier to pick up than C# for some reason (probably because VB is a bit more verbose).  And that appeals to RAD developers.  A big problem with most RAD developers is that they tend not to have a great understanding of good design methodologies or OO techniques.  Many of them couldn't even tell you what a Pattern is.

This is of course no offense to the RAD developer, there is obviously a need for them and they do what they do well.  But simply put, that is why VB programmers draw little respect.  The highly skilled, VBOO developers are out numbered by the VB RAD developers.  So the reputation goes with the territory.  The real comparison should be between OO and RAD developers, not between languages.  Now granted, VB does some funky things C# doesn't and that I do take issue with, but net-net if you're a talented OO developer in VB or C# you are basically equal in my book.

VBOO Programmer...


Posted on Sunday, September 25, 2005 5:06 PM .Net , Other | Back to top

Comments on this post: Same Old Argument

# re: Same Old Argument
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At first I thought we might just share the opinion that the, YAWN!, language debate is old and ignorant. I was wrong. All you've stated in this article is that you realize there is a lack of respect for VB programmers so in your own defense you divide them and place yourself into the group that seems "less" of a problem.

If someone really wants to do their part to put the end to the age old argument then just don't comment. It's the bickering back and forth that perpetuates it. It's like a school yard game of "I know you are but what am I". There's no winner, only two loosers.

VB Programmer
Left by Eric Hammersley on Sep 25, 2005 8:04 PM

# re: Same Old Argument
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I disagree with your assessment of the point of my comments. I believe the bickering is valid. I think the target of the bickering is what is wrong. Without question there are good programmers and there are bad programmers. That is what the bickering is all about.

So let's just say it out loud; "what constitutes a bad programmer?” In my opinion, a bad programmer is one that doesn't have a design, a plan or a framework to follow, yet produces a ton of functional code that makes the end user believe they got what they needed. To me a bad programmer is one who gets the job done, but God help the one who has to maintain/rewrite the highly functional, barely supportable code after him.

Good and bad design and development is what the bickering is really about. And my point is that a language does not make a programmer good or bad, just different. It is my observation that VB tends to draw a number of developers that don't share my views on design, planning and framework. Therefore the language takes the hit.

So if you are trying to extract a overall point from my original post it goes way beyond "shut up about VB vs. C# “. My point is to start screaming as loud as you can about those that design, architect and use Patterns and Practices vs. those who don't.

If we don't engage the correct target of this debate, there are way more than two losers here! Clients, employers, and the entire IT industry for that matter. If we engage the correct target then this debate should not represent an "I know you are but what am I" mind set, but rather "how do we enable our community to become better designers and developers to produce superior, maintainable software?” Thus there is genuine value in having this debate.

Left by --chaz on Sep 25, 2005 9:31 PM

# re: Same Old Argument
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I started the debate on Channel 9 because this old issue hasn't really been resolved as I still encounter a lot of FUD.

A good example is that my company will hire a C# developer for £5000 - £10,000 more than a VB.NET developer, this is because the HR guys have been stirred by my predecessors that C# is superior to C#. After making 10 phone calls to connections and agents I realised that this was common misconception and the route cause is developers as we stir the recruitment guys, not the other way around.

When it effects someones pay, then this is a serious issue. VB.Net developers do not desire to be classed as second rate, paying the price for a language that is just a little bit different where you can do the same it's just a matter of personal style.

What causes this issue? Predudice? Stigma? History?

By debating this issue on C9 we as a group can discuss this issue openly and honestly as the first step to putting this issue finally behind us, this is what I want to achieve a flat playing-field for ALL .Net developers because here (in the UK) we don't have it.
Left by Dave Oliver aka Channel 9's Sabo on Sep 26, 2005 3:22 AM

# re: Same Old Argument
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Your point is clearer to me now and I agree that I didn't fully grasp it from the first post. I can agree with your "what constitutes a bad programmer?" and that it is a valid topic of discussion... if that is really what the bickering is about. A majority of the bickering is a combination of arrogance, ignorance and superiority. A lot of people's stand against VB has less to do with the bad programmer and more to do with an inaccurate assessment of the VB language itself, or perhaps a genetic pre-disposition.

VB draws numbers because it's easier for a "Bob" to learn in his garage, etc. and we've all discussed why this is. I don't believe that is a bad thing for the language, being verbose or used by Bob that is, but this observation is almost always accompanied with a statement that the language is "dumbed down" from the {} wingers. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve heard that comment.

"... the correct target of this debate." I agree there is a lot to lose... and much has already been lost. Dave's comment, as well as his post over at his blog is a scary but true picture. You don't have to be in the UK in order to see the skewed pay rates either. I do my part by hiring VB developers as well as C# developers. After the first few months or so my VB guys can write C# and the C# guys can write VB. Granted they may not be as productive outside their “comfort” language but they get there. Some ask me why. I never understood how the answer wasn't obvious but I tell them, for starters, that no developer should sit on just one language. One of the key merits of a good developer is versatility. Some still don't understand and they are the {} wingers of tomorrow. I have yet to meet a VB developer who has thought it was a bad idea to learn C# but almost every other C# developer I encounter nearly refuses to learn VB. I try my hardest to change it around me but I have very little luck. Why is this?

Touching on Dave’s comments slightly I believe it is history that has caused the problem. The history of VB and its lack of OO for so many years have left it with a “black” eye. Developers of several years frown on VB because they hear VB and think of VB6. Developers who are fresh into the game frown on VB because they don’t know any better so they follow the developers of yester-year.

I closing I believe the battle, or debate if you will can not be won on a single front. I hate to use this term but the “second-class language and citizen” come to mind. You can’t be one without the other. Until VB is looked upon as a first-class language its developers will never be considered “up to par” with the community. I believe your approach, if I understand it, is a valid one. One way to show it is a top notch language is to master its use and provide code of the utmost quality. There’s a lot of crap out there, been to Code Project lately? This is where Bob in his garage hurts the language because he honestly believes he cranks out good code whereas the professional developer knows better. This allows the quick observer to proclaim “VB coders suck, just look at the code on Code Project”. There’s nothing we can do about that. Lord knows there’s a butt ton of crappy C# code over there as well.
Left by Eric Hammersley on Sep 26, 2005 7:49 AM

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