VB8 Language Specification

For those who want to know what's up in the world of VB, the VB8 Language Spec is available. Mostly, it looks like the language keeps creeping towards the C# language model, so much so that I always recommend that anyone using MS VS simply go the C# route, as it is more true to the .Net model. Not much to report from the Language Innovation department:

  • Operator Overloading
  • Generics
  • IsNot Keyword
  • Using Keyword
  • Unsigned Integer Types
  • Partial Classes
  • Background Worker Object

(Note: In typical MS fashion, the VB Spec is an executable file, but the file is just a zip executable that contains a Word document.)

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Partial classes

Bit of a weird one this; it seems as if its main purpose is to facilitate blending of hand-written code with tool-generated code in a separate location (e.g. code compiled from declarative UI elements specified in XAML files). It seems to me that you could do much the same thing with mixins, and it would be rather more flexible.

Partial classes show up in C# 2.x

Partial classes in C# have been discussed previously on LtU. In my mind, they are not so much intended for human consumption as they are for allowing the portions of code that are tool generated to be put in a seperate file than the manually crafted code. Lot's of pecularities happen when human and the tools were modifying the same file, as there is cross-dependency between the two, and the programmers were naturally going in and messing with the autogenerated code at the same time. By seperating the files, it becomes easier to know when a change to autogenerated code is intended versus what's accidentally being mucked with.