Can’t help but laugh at all the arguments about which is the best programming language. We humans are really good at tearing at each other; we have shown this all through the ages. We are insatiable species, it is never good, its never enough. I think Microsoft should be given more credit than it is getting on the policy of moving VB along to the .NET future, while freeing C++ programmers from their cryptic, head breaking world. We’ve all come a long way from days of Assembler Language.
I simply think .NET brings the best in both worlds by bridging the divide. C++ people get the RAD of VB world, VB people get the system core they’ve been missing. So what, VB.NET code runs 10% less than C# code in real live apps, the average user wouldn’t even notice the difference. You all must agree, this is all about modernization. C++ is too close to machine language for a lot of people, with the advent of new and powerful pc (your pc of today is your Cray Mainframe of before) interpreted language does not suffer anymore like before. That is why we could now afford the IL.
All you need do is draw a line between the CPU and the human behind the console. The machine speaks 0s and 1s, the human speaks complex language, with complex inflexions. The human wants the CPU to do things for him, he has to tell the CPU how to do it. So we invented the Assembler language, but this was killing a lot of people, so we moved a level higher, so we invented C and later C++. Professional programmers were joyfully hacking away in C++. But then here comes the community of computer Enthusiasts who want to do more with their computers so, so we invented the almost human (layman) language VB. While both languages were not evolving, the hardware was rapidly evolving leaving the languages in the Stone Age.
Because of today’s high speed CPUs we can afford a platform the both Hobbyist and Professionals can both be happy in, so we invented the IL. Suddenly, the hobbyist found he can now do all the magic of the professional programmer, and the professional programmer discovered he can now have the creativity of the hobbyist world.
All in all, this situation is a very temporal one, guess who is going to come to the rescue of this grand argument? The Machine!
We are at the verge of technology breakthroughs that will dispense with the need to code in any language at all. The machine will now be able to do what it does best: Automate.
I am talking of Artificial Intelligence. A point in time when machine will be able to understand human being and react effectively. Machine will take over the mundane routine of programming, because it will program itself to a certain level. Therefore you don’t need C# neither VB anymore. You just sit behind your console and tell the machine what you want to do. Instead of typing
Dim strName as String…
You’ll just say:
“Draw a form 8cm by 5cm”
“Add 10 Text boxes with labels”
“Add 4 Combo boxes with labels”
“Add 1 Datagridview control, named MyDatagridview1”
“Attach MyDatagridview1 to MyWebService1.Customers”
You can see Artificial Intelligence will change the way we work with computers. It already here with us, but not yet perfect; remember your OCR and Speech recognition. The Military and NASA now works with hardware that has a level of autonomy. These robots make decisions of their own.
When computers reach a level that they can program themselves, they won’t do it in C# and VB, they will do it in Bits. The human as the weakest link (bugs and all) will be eliminated. The machines will have application templates of all known situation faced by man, so like they do in Star Trek universe, all you need do is tell the computer what you want archived, not how to archive it; at least not at mundane level of forms and control design. This period in time is closer than most of you can imagine. You have already started using first generation of it: the .NET IL. So you see, no difference anymore between hardcore programmer and a hobbyist. You will only be limited by your imagination.
Talking of imagination, I know some of you will be wondering “What if we end up with the Matrix Universe instead of that of Star Trek?” I cannot tell you what AI will do to us in the future, but I can tell you, the most stupid of us today will be the most creative in AI’s timeframe.
Live long and prosper my friends.