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'[OT] Visual Basic'
2000\04\19@165729 by M. Adam Davis

It appears to me that you have a very narrow viewpoint here.  You seem to be
stating that VB is a hammer that shouldn't be used.

Paul Anderson wrote:
> Sure, but that makes no comment as to it's real-world usefulness.

If it were not useful in the 'real-world' then companies would not be paying
Microsoft to buy it, and devlopers to develop in it.

Visual Basic is good for two things: Rapid Application Development, and app
development for those who don't want a world class application, and don't have
the time to learn a lower language.  Delivering an application faster and more
cheaply is better for many applications than delivering an efficient program
(with respect to computer load and operation speed)

> No serious application is well served by Visual Basic.  VB programmers tend
> to treat it like a hammer, and every problem starts to look like a nail.

Many VB programmers know only VB, which is their problem.  However, nearly any
application can be developed in VB more quickly than nearly any other language,
and therefore many companies choose VB since programming time is more expensive
than processor time.  (ie, stick it to the customer and reduce internal
operating costs)

But then you'll find the same attitude in nearly every part of society.  I could
say that Linux people look at Linux as a hammer, and all computers as nails.  It
isn't true, not all Linux people are that way.  It really depends on how you
grow them.  Modern computer course tracks teach programming concepts, not
programming specifics.  One is limited by what one has learned.

> They can rarely tolerate the concept that some languages are better for
> some applications than others.

Again you are using blanket statements.  There are times when this tool is more
appropiate than other tools.  It is almost always more 'ideal' to develop in a
language other than VB, but then, the 'real-world' isn't ideal, is it?  The
major issues are cost and time.  To develop and debug a small application which
accesses a number of databases, performs minor data processing, and posts the
information to multiple websites intelligently, it would take a few hours by an
inexperienced programmer(read: low pay).  If done in nearly any other common
language you would take a little bit longer(except, perhaps, by an expert
programmer who is not cheap), and the programmer would charge you more.  VB made
it cheap to develop for Windows, and easy to do so with a small learning curve.
The only reason why companies pay higher salaries for more experienced VB
programmers is not to create newer, better applications, but to maintain older
apps, developed by inexperienced programmers.

Now, *I* don't agree with VB as a compiler.  I would much rather have it compile
to an EXE which doesn't need a run time dll.  It is atrocious!  However, a good
basic compiler will compile as efficiently as a C compiler for the same program
(give or take 5%).  Out of curiosity, is it VB that you despise, or basic in


Logic is a systematic method of coming to the wrong conclusion with confidence.

2000\04\19@173127 by William Chops Westfield

face picon face
Hmm.  Does this make Visual basic the "cobol" of the microcomputer


2000\04\20@003055 by Thierry Vanmarcke

> Now, *I* don't agree with VB as a compiler.  I would much rather have it
> to an EXE which doesn't need a run time dll.  It is atrocious!  However, a
> basic compiler will compile as efficiently as a C compiler for the same
> (give or take 5%).

Yep, this is very true!
A good basic compiler will be as efficient (or more) than a c-compiler.
If you don't believe me check out pb-dll (
This is a real nice basic-compiler that has great speed, true exe-files,...

I just love basic and I'm proud of it ;-)   (maybe I am just to stupid to
program in C)

2000\04\20@003149 by Paul Anderson

On Wed, 19 Apr 2000, M. Adam Davis wrote:

> Out of curiosity, is it VB that you despise, or basic in
> general?
Both.  Really, BASIC is a very ugly language - most other languages at
least have some level elegance to them(Perl has regex, C has pointers and
indentation, assembler is logical and simple, python has some neat object
orientation, etc.), but basic, UGH, it's a kluge through and through.

Visual Basic reinforces this klugery, and tends to discourage actually
THINKING about the code.  For example, a friend of mine who recently
learned C had programmed in visual basic for a number of years.  He sends
me this program full of if() statements, like so:

    if ((xx == 13) || (xx == 18))
       if ((yy == 2) || (yy == 3) || (yy == 4))
         yn = FALSE;
     if (((xx == 13) || (xx == 15) || (xx == 17)) && (yy == 5))
       yn = FALSE;

120 lines of this, no comments, just these if() statements over and over
and over again.(It was to detect wall boundaries in a small game engine he
was trying to write.)  He couldn't get it to work properly, I looked
through it and told him to throw the whole program in the garbage(more
than 2/3rds of which was these stupid if() statements) and do a rewrite.
I told him to use an array of structs to store the xy coordinates of the
boundaries, then load the data out of file to fill in the array.  When a
player wants to move, all he has to do is use a loop that cycles through
the structs to see if the coordinate the user wishes to move to is
occupied, if so, return an appropriate value.

He rewrote the program, and replaced the 120 lines of unreadable if()
statements with less than 20 lines of code, and instead of having the
boundary coordinates hardwired, they could now be configured through an
external configuration file.  Visual Basic does not encourage the sort of
mentality that always tries to make the program smaller, faster, and
better.  Visual Basic by it's nature gives people the impression that they
can pick some bozo up off the street, give him five minutes of teaching
and he'll write a good program.  That just isn't true.  It takes years to
become a good programmer.

Visual Basic encourages some extremely sloppy coding practices, and very
few of the people that use it on a regular basis and enjoy it have an
intelligence far greater than that of an eggplant.  I'm not saying that
they can't be good programmers, it's just that Visual Basic, by virtue of
it's construction, encourages them to be sloppy, lazy and bad programmers.

I don't know what it is with microsoft, but they have this skill for
coming up with massively stupid ideas and issuing an edict that this is
how things are to be done from now on(hands up everyone who detests
hungarian notation and 35-letter variable names).

Paul Anderson - Self-employed Megalomaniac
"We must move forwards, not backwards, upwards not forwards and constantly
twirling, twirling to freedom!"

2000\04\24@093329 by M. Adam Davis

Well, Paul, I can see that you've already joined the ranks of the language

I would like to give you some advice here, something along the lines of "The
more tools you understand and use, the better off you are.", but I don't think
it would make a difference.  This is something you'll have to gain through

I wish you the best of luck in your endeavours.


Paul Anderson wrote:
{Quote hidden}

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