Another survey and another set of interesting results. From the get go, I expected this survey to generate a lot of interest since the choice between VB and C# seems pseudo-religious. Mention you're a VB programmer in a room full of geeks and your liable to earn the scoffs, smirks- if not outright insults- of the crowd. Unfortunate, but true.
I got my start in .NET programming VB. "No!" you say. Actually, yes. My first real "programming" experience was as a web developer doing VBScript for ASP classic. Once I made the jump to ASP.NET, I had to choose a .NET language: VB.NET felt right at home, C# looked like geek speak. So VB.NET it was. I liked VB, too, even in the face of my younger brother (a much more talented programmer than I, now headed-off to work in Redmond) ribbing me with the fact that VB was created "to enable dumb people to program." He may not have got that exactly correct, but VB's naming roots (and little else these days) are in BASIC, which stands for...anyone?..."Beginner's All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code."
Needless to say, I've since migrated to programming primarily in C#. Not because I'm ashamed of VB, but I finally realized how much syntactic overhead is involved in writing VB code. But enough about me, let's analyze you.
Over 60% of survey respondents indicate that C# is their primary programming language, about 34% VB, and a few people use J# or some other .NET language. This is absolutely consistent with other indicators I've recently seen- from O'Reilly book sales trends to Telerik customer requests- that suggest VB's usage is on the decline. The question is why?
I theorize that it may have to do with two primary factors:
- Visual Tool Support - For the legions of enterprise programmers out there (the group largely associated with defaulting to VB, thanks largely to the era of pre-.NET Windows dev tools), the visual tools that once only existed for VB now exist for C#. Using Visual Studio no longer means that you have to use VB. With more choices, enterprise developers (motivated by factor two) my be opting for C# with visual developer support.
- The VB Stigma - Good or bad, VB definitely carries a stigma in geek circles. Even "9 to 5" programmers know this and they would probably prefer to avoid the harassment. With the modern incarnations of Visual Studio, they can now use a C-like language with ease and "feel cool" when attending conferences and hanging out with other geeks. I'll toss a little personal experience at supporting this theory.
Watch for the next survey announcement soon.