After visiting Microsoft for the Microsoft MVP Summit in November, I was a bit “beat down”. I came to a somewhat difficult (and in my mind, somewhat shocking) realization.
VB is dead!
OK, so it requires a little explanation…
After speaking with several long time MVP’s who were (and, in many cases, still are) self-identified as being VB MVP’s… I asked each and every one of them the following question:
“Are you actually using VB?”
Wow! None of them…
They all told me the same answer. When they present at .NET user groups, they felt that when they presented topics using VB as a language, they were negatively received. In other words, they are doing something that they enjoy in the language that they prefer on a platform that embraces multiple languages (I should also mention for FREE) and the audience response is their reason for feeling rejected?!?!?!
What kind of seriously broken steaming pile of fecal matter is that????
This says volumes both on the part of the presenters and especially the general .NET community members.
Oh wait… it’s gets better…
… redacted …
(This section could not be shared as it would potentially break NDA… something I take very seriously… so…)
Let me share how I felt for the first two days of the Summit…
“Why did I waste my time coming to this thing?” which led to Tuesday evening me seriously considering catching an earlier flight home. I figured, well, I’m here… let me at least stay the night and catch up with a few friends I’ve made over the years that I only see during these types of events. I headed out to catch a shuttle to the other side of town…
While waiting for the shuttle, two guys were talking and I could see that they were also fellow MVP’s. I introduced myself and we got to talking. They were going to use an Uber to go there and asked if I wanted to ride along. Heck… haven’t “uber’d” as yet… so why not.
It wasn’t until about halfway across town that the conversation changed… two fellow VB guys from the Netherlands who are actively using VB every day! (Seriously!)
…skipping the details…
OK, so I decided to stay for the rest of the event. The event itself was not something that I found tremendously valuable… it was what happened between the talks.
VB is NOT dead!
However, that doesn’t say that there is a serious problem with the state of VB.
First… the good news.
You can use VB (to a large degree) to build Xamarin based applications. It’s not friendly, but at least it’s possible.
Thanks to work that I participated in on the Thursday “hackathon”; VB can be used to build .NET Core applications (compile on Windows, run anywhere that .NET Core works).
VB is a core part of Roslyn; one of the fundamental .NET’s future doesn’t work without it components.
VB is now open source…
There was a comment that was made that really stuck with me…
“C# is the baby, VB is the teenager.”
Everyone loves to give all their attention to the baby. This makes the teenager feel a little left out. They aren’t loved is the feeling the teenager gets. However, this perception isn’t reality. VB is loved. It is still very much alive. However, that new kid is getting a lot of attention. And, you know what? That’s OK!
Now for the bad news…
Microsoft has multiple children… VB, C#, F#, TypeScript, etc.
They aren’t able to put themselves in a position of perceived favoritism. Even doing their best to avoid that, they still come across as doing so.
With that said… the voice of the VB community is “silent”. Your champions are gone. They’ve raised their white flags and have surrendered. Within the "active" .NET community, VB is silent. Amongst the "used to be" VB MVP's... they are on the verge of being extinct.
What does this mean?
We need new blood. We need new champions. We need to stand together and let our voice be heard.
How do we do this?
We need to band together, we need to build a strong community! We need to work together. We need to encourage new developers to join our ranks. We need to help them grow. We need to get involved. To do so, we need to be organized… we need to create our own events... events that welcome our ranks.
This is where the BASICSIG comes into the picture.
Announcing BASICSIG; a global organization dedicated to all of those interested in the continued usage and evolution of the BASIC programming language.
Join the conversation… http://basicsig.com
There’s a lot of work to be done, but to start… we can simply start by talking to one another. So the first milestone is easily accomplished by joining our slack group. To do so, visit http://basicsig.com and use that page to automate the invite. In other words, if you are reading this and visit that site… put in your email address and I’ll send you an invite (automated)… using VB (of course).
Stay tuned… there’s a lot more to come.
 For full disclosure, trying to talk to the "self-identified" VB MVP's was a momentous task as, unlike prior Summits, they weren't in any single place. So I just did the best I could by being on the lookout for them. So there could very well be some that are still very active; the point is that all of them that I encountered with the above question answered the same way. So for those I could not find, there's still hope... maybe. In other words, the poll results are only as good as the input data. With that out of the way, the fact that the "VB crowd" was no longer clustered in any single discussion also says "something". In other words, there were no official topics that were specifically targeted to the VB audience; at least, not until, several of us suggested one and Anthony D. Green (product manager for VB) was kind enough to put together something for us. ;-) That discussion included exactly one (1) VB influencer apparently representing all of the USA (me). We have to fix this. :-D