Microsoft’s latest strategy for its .NET languages (C#, F#, and Visual Basic) emphasizes attributes including performance and interoperability, with the company remaining in charge of governance.
The company published the latest summaries of the plans for the three languages on February 6. No major changes will be found in the updated strategy, but Microsoft said it was committed to full support for all three languages and to open source, backward compatibility and an aggressive strategy. Language evolution for C# and F#.
For C#, Microsoft’s object-oriented language with capabilities like type safety and generics, the strategy calls for continuing to evolve the language while remaining “next-generation.” Although Microsoft intends to continue to power the broader .NET ecosystem and increase its role in the future of C#, the company said it will retain management of design decisions. Innovation is planned for .NET libraries, development tools, and workload support. Language and performance improvements will be sought that benefit all or most developers while maintaining backwards compatibility.
With F# featuring a function-first approach, lightweight syntax, and immutability, plans call for supporting enhancements to the .NET platform and maintaining interoperability with new C# features. “We will drive the evolution of F# and support the F# ecosystem with leadership and language governance,” the company said. But Microsoft will continue to rely on the community to provide developer tools, important libraries, and support for workloads. Microsoft is committed to working across all languages, tools, and documentation to lower the barrier of entry to F# for new developers and organizations and extend the reach of F# into new domains.
With Visual Basic (VB), a language for building type-safe .NET applications, Microsoft’s intent is to ensure that the language remains simple and accessible with a stable design. Core .NET libraries, such as the BCL (Base Class Library), will support Visual Basic, and many enhancements to the .NET runtime and libraries will automatically benefit VB.
When the C# or .NET runtime adds new features that require language support, Visual Basic will generally take a consume-only approach and avoid the new syntax. A consume-only approach means that VB code can access the .NET APIs and types created in the new .NET runtime functions, but VB won’t add syntax to define the types that those functions will use. Therefore, the new features will benefit VB users with little to no syntax changes. There are no plans to extend VB to new workloads. “We will continue to invest in the Visual Studio experience and interop with C#, especially in core VB scenarios like Windows Forms and libraries.”
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