Adaptable Developers

The MSDN feed indicates that there are several new walkthroughs available today:

  • Build a Data-Driven Website Using Visual Basic .NET and Visual Studio .NET 2003
  • Build a Data-Driven Website Using Visual C# .NET and Visual Studio .NET 2003
  • Build a Data-Driven Website Using Visual Basic .NET and ASP.NET Web Matrix
  • Build a Data-Driven Website Using Visual C# .NET and ASP.NET Web Matrix
  • Build a Data-Driven Website Using Visual C# .NET and the .NET Framework SDK

I haven't looked at these articles, but I assume they contain the same information, except some are in C# and some are in VB.NET, and some use Visual Studio .NET and the others use different tools. At first I wondered why there is not a "Build a Data-Driven Website Using Visual Basic .NET and the .NET Framework SDK" (the one missing combination), but then I realized that VB .NET developers are assumed to be incapable of using command-line tools.

At first I was pissed off at the MSDN folks for once again promulgating the belief that VB .NET programmers can't read C# (and vice versa), or that a Web Matrix programmer won't be able to figure out which menu items to use to create an application, having only been led step-by-step through the Visual Studio process. But of course, the MSDN folks have to do this because there really are a lot of developers who are unable or unwilling to make sense out of code that is not in the one language they know, or who don't know their tools well enough to use them after being shown a demonstration with a similar tool.

I have some sympathy when a C programmer has trouble reading Haskell, or a Fortran programmer has trouble reading Prolog. But C# and VB.NET are essentially the same language, with some minor syntactical differences. If you know one of those languages, you should have no problem reading the other unless you are either incredibly stupid or incredibly closed-minded. If you can't figure out that a "project" in one IDE is like a "solution" in another IDE, then please find another career so I won't risk running into you someday.

If you are learning .NET, you should be able to read C#, VB.NET, and JScript.NET with equal facility. C programmers and C++ programmers should have no trouble reading one anothers' code, nor should Lisp and Scheme programmers, or Smalltalk and Ruby programmers. If you are unwilling to learn even a little about things at the boundaries of your existing knowledge, you have no business calling yourself a professional or being proud of your skills, no matter what field you are in.

I look forward to the day when MSDN could publish an article called "Build a Data-Driven Website Using .NET", without the need to focus on specific languages or specific tools. I know that day will never come, so I'll have to settle for finding colleagues who would be capable of understanding such an article.

© 2003-2017 Kristopher Johnson