Top Microsoft developers prefer old-school coding methods
Bangalore: Microsoft has done more to popularize graphical programming than any other vendor. The company's development tools, led by Visual Basic and Visual Studio, have been used by millions of software developers over the past two decades. But, during a panel discussion on the future of programming at last week's Professional Developers Conference in Los Angeles, Microsoft's own top developers espoused their loyalty to old-school methods of coding software, reports Computerworld. "I will fight you if you try to take away my text editor," said Don Box, a Microsoft distinguished engineer. "Do people want to draw pictures (to program)? Sure, I guess," continued Box, who works on creating declarative languages and tools for Microsoft. "But if you grew up programming when I did, you did it in text. And I think we lose that at our peril." "Graphical programming environments are usable when they are useless, but unusable when they would be useful," said Jeffrey Snover, another Microsoft distinguished engineer and Creator of Microsoft's PowerShell scripting tool for Windows. "When there are five things on the screen, you can burp that out (in text). But when there are 500 things, (graphical programming) is completely unusable. You zoom in and zoom out and you lose the entire context." Microsoft is belatedly increasing support for the Unified Modeling Language, or UML, in the upcoming Visual Studio 2010 release that's slated to ship next year. Besides visual programming tools and UML, Microsoft is pushing managed code through its Common Language Runtime (CLR) technology in the next version of the tool set. Managed code runs inside a virtual machine. That makes it easier and faster to write, and more secure, say proponents. Managed code also lets developers "perform above their level of competence," Snover said.