.NET Developments

Jan 30 2008   11:01PM GMT

Visual Basic futures, Volta on display at Lang.NET Symposium Day 2

Yuval Shavit Profile: YuvalShavit

As the Microsoft Lang.NET Symposium went into Day 2, the parade of languages and language combos continued. First out of the blocks was Eric Meijer with a discussion of Volta.

Volta uses a shared programming model to allow ”declarative tier-splitting, ” thus parsing apps into tiered-partitions. Volta has been described as a recompiler that works on MSIL rather than on a textual source language, rewriting MSIL into another target language, such as JavaScript. The Volta tools come out of work in Microsoft Research, but are available as downloads from Microsoft Live Labs.

According to Lang.NET Symposium attendee and .NET Languages blogger Jason Bock, Meijer showed a demo of Volta using VB at the event. Meijer wrote a VB client app that was translated into Javascript. Writes Bock: “Asynchronous programming is also mapped in Volta. [Meijer] showed that Volta has end-to-end profiling, which was really impressive.”

Visual Basic meister Paul Vick talked at the symposium about VB, naturally, and the idea of returning scripting to Visual Basic. According to Ted Neward, Vick said the next goal of Visual Basic was to provide the complete range of core/compiler, project and IDE services for people who want to use VB as a scripting engine. Vick demonstrated a simple WinForms app that hosted a single control that exposed the VB editor.

The odd thing is that Visual Basic seemed to take a detour to static approaches and objects just when much of the programmer community was going into reverse, heading away from C++ and Java and toward Ruby. With its appearance as part of the program at Lang.NET, it can be looked at anew.

Here is a sampling of the inimitable Ted Neward, riffing on the Visual Basic struggling under the yoke of the Gods of Computer Science:

I don’t know what Visual Basic did to anger the Gods of Computer Science, but think about it for a second: they were a dynamic language that ran on a bytecode-based platform, used dynamic typing and late name-based binding by default, provided a “scripting glue” to existing applications (Office being the big one), focused primarily on productivity, and followed a component model from almost the first release. Then, after languishing for years as the skinny guy on the beach as the C++ developers kicked sand on their blanket, they get the static-typing and early-binding religion, just in time to be the skinny guy on the beach as the Ruby developers kick sand on their blanket.

Among others appearing on Day 2 was Tomas Petricek, developer lead for the Phalanger PHP language compiler for .NET. Petricek in the past has shown PHP working on Silverlight, and he is said to be moving toward a partial port of Phalanger PHP to the Dynamic Language Runtime (DLR).

2  Comments on this Post

 
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  • YuvalShavit
    What about Javascript? When can we see Managed JScript on codeplex? Cheers.
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  • YuvalShavit
    Top 10 favourites... [...]here are some other links to sites that we find everyday so here are some popular sites we like today[...]...
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