Road Ahead part IX

In case you didn’t see it already, Paul Vick has asked people what they would like to see in the language post Whidbey.  Anders has been talking some on channel 9 about the kind of things C# might be looking at.  Hopefully Paul and Amanda (blogless) might get some white board stuff happening on channel 9 too.  Something about whiteboards, they allows us to convey new ideas really well, IMO .

So far though, if this is the “futures” market, then my money is on YagJ I think that’s what we really need is a unified approach on the big picture items across VB and C#. 

What I don’t want to see is stuff like the C# team promoting things and the VB.NET team not talking about them.  Take for example generics. For ages everyone thought that was only a C# thing, yet reality was it came out of work on rotor research and was not a language specific item. Yet the C# team got in early and a lot of folk thought it was. 

Anyway … onto the big picture items ….

Well I look at what we do, and a lot of it is fetching data, displaying it, and then saving it.  And somewhere amongst that, manipulating it. Data at present is either late bound, or comes in the form of classes and typed datasets. The late bound uses is often with xml. So I think it would be nice if there was a simplified syntax, a native XML support.  A bit like how VB has the ! syntax.   And the ability to then have an Imports like statement for an XSD and have those strings validated.

Set operations would then be the next big thing.  The ability to create dynamic filters for selecting and sorting objects as well as datasets, and even in memory xml nodes. That is, bringing the concepts of SQL to objects and xml and removed from SQL 😉

On the binding, I am in two minds whether we need new code constructs for that.  Is binding an operation or a method? I think it’s a method. So I would rather see work go into the visuals for binding…. that nice drag and drop feeling.

And that’s where I would like to see some big picture additions. More designers, more of the white horse.  I would like to see a designer that has tiny screen shots of all a winforms application forms, and be able to draw relations between forms, visually set the start up form, the lifetime model, and interaction between forms.  Like let’s say I set an action item on a form to open another form. The designer would draw a line representing the information flow based on the action. And if I could then drag and drop fields or properties from my form to indicate the data to be passed to with that action. The result appearing as a package attached to that action arrow.  (I know, I know, I need a whiteboard here ) I would then like to also be able to zoom in/out from the app, wire up relations with the data, drag and drop pattern blocks onto the app surface to add basic features etc.

So I s’psoe what I am saying is I would like to see more “Visual” in Visual Basic J