Re: Programming project required (drifting away from Extropianism)

From: Samantha Atkins (
Date: Wed Jan 24 2001 - 00:29:33 MST

Terry Donaghe wrote:
> Samantha,
> I'm not really sure what world you're living in. Apparently you feel that
> it is impossible to program anything useful in Visual Basic or even any
> other Microsoft tool.

Where the heck did I say that? I don't think I did. In my previous job
I spent 3 years doing nothing but MS (mainly C++/COM and a bit of VB).
I didn't say you can't write decent programs in all MS environments. I
will say you can't write much more than toys in VB. Everything serious
I needed to do with it depended on having a COM library written in
another language (usually C++) or my writing some components in C++. VB
as of VB 6 is seriously broken as a development tool both from its
language characteristics and limitations and its packaging.

> I was personally involved in a VB project that
> enabled Carolina Power and Light's bulk power marketing team the ability to
> sell and buy excess power thus adding millions of dollars to the company's
> bottom line. This was a 24/7 application that was written entirely in
> Visual Basic 5 using an Oracle back end. Stupid me, I didn't know anything
> about stored procedures back then, but dang it if the thing didn't work just
> fine in spite of my lack of Oracality.

Sure. You can find somethings that VB's build in stuff (well actually
plus whatever DB libraries you were using which were not (most likely)
written in VB5 (for sure Oracle's drivers weren't)) is adequate for.
This doesn't change the fact that it is a weak language and a poor
development environment.

> I am currently involved in an application at Honeywell which uses multiple
> components written in Visual Basic 6. Oh dear, since this software is so
> horrible, it must be a big mistake! Nope, works just fine. Does the job.

Components in VB6 are limited in that they can only use a subset of COM
and its threading abilities. If that subset is sufficient for this app
then you are fine, for this app. That still doesn't make VB6 a fine
tool for general programming.

> Intel, *gasp* uses Microsoft technolgies. Intel, Samantha, is a very large
> company. And they use Microsoft technologies, including Visual Basic and
> Active Server Pages.

That doesn't mean they are great either, does it?

> It makes me wonder, if Visual Basic is such a "weak" tool, why so many huge,
> succesful companies bank on it...

Because a lot of them were sold a MS bill of goods and wouldn't know
good software tools and environemnts if they bit them in the ass?

You have been on enough projects, as I have, to know that tool decisions
are not often made for exactly rational reasons.

- samantha

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