For the last few weeks I have been looking for a job as a programmer. One of the jobs that interests me involves writing Many of my friends who are also programmers have howled with anguish at the mere mention of this technology.

In order to get a better idea of how the language works, I’ve written a small program for editing the PATH environment variable on Windows machines:

I find myself editing this variable on various Windows machines pretty regularly. Every time, I also am annoyed by the small text box in the dialog in the Control Panel.

So far I’ve enjoyed the experience of writing with Visual Basic and can’t see what all the fuss is about. Having written PHP for years, I’m used to ignoring the comments of language purists. I’m much more interested in getting something working than any imagined superiority of different languages.

4 Responses to “Percidae”

  1. Saul says:


    I haven’t looked at VB in many years, since long before .Net in fact.

    I had a look at the project files, but I wasn’t able to find anything beyond lots of generated code. I assume there is some hand-written core logic, but it’s not easy to get to – I suppose people are unlikely to open any projects outside of Visual Studio, and I’m sure it all makes sense in the IDE. Perhaps this IDE (and only the one IDE I assume) centric philosophy is one reason for the hostility. It certainly makes it less easy for programmers from diverse backgrounds to contribute.

    It reminds me of an article I read this week:

    I have no problem with IDEs (although I can’t imagine leaving my editor behind right now) but I can see reasons for being against generated code (at least, excessive amounts of it, there’s nearly always a need for some code generation). Of course, and as Mr Petzold acknowledges, code generation speeds everything up, which is usually the most important thing ‘in the real world’.

    I will definitely try Visual Studio, and C# soon. Probably as soon as I get round to buying a copy of Windows 7.

  2. Robert Impey says:

    I’m using Eclipse for PHP development at my new job. That doesn’t seem to get in the way (in terms of locking you into the IDE).

    It is possible to develop VB.Net projects using Mono Develop. I’ve tried that on a Mac and an Ubuntu machine. Because of the nature of Percidae (Windows systems maintenance) I’m not interested in that option and am not bothered about being locked into Windows. This would not be the case for almost any other project.

    The .NET platform is pretty useful, but I definitely prefer C# to VB.Net.

  3. Brian says:

    I used to teach VB .NET to secondary school students and without doubt it has a great IDE that can really help beginning programmers, especially the code completion feature. However, I’d much rather teach Java programming nowadays–with or without an IDE–and that seems to be the trend in most schools.

  4. Robert Impey says:


    Do you know if many schools are teaching Java programming on platforms other than Windows?

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