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VB.NET vs C#

Here in the real world where work actually gets done for actual monetary compensation, developers choose Visual Basic for one reason and one reason only: It’s the programming equivalent to the Leatherman Pocket Multitool. Visual Basic (for Applications) is employed in the MS Office Object Model (from Office 2000 up to and including the new 2012. Visual Basic (for Applications) is employed in the ArcGIS software suite API. VBA is embedded in dozens of other high-end and industry-specific software products for built-in extensibility as well. Visual Basic is employed in Windows Scripting Host (WSH/wscript) and the Command-Based Scripting Host (cscript), and VBScript is processed/executed in HTML markup by all webbrowsers worth having. In Legacy Visual Basic (6 and earlier) VB also exposed OOP, and in DotNET VB exposes OOP plus DotNET. The syntaxes, array functions, and other basic language behaviors are absolutely identical across these multiple and various platforms meaning that if you VB then you do all of the above. If you’re a Visual Basic developer, all of the above is right at your fingertips as long as you’re willing/able to learn the variant engine capabilities.

C# doesn’t offer half of this. In fact, C# only offers DotNET. C# is however, as others have mentioned, an internationally standardized syntax as opposed to a company proprietary language. C# also enjoys an avid following in non-DotNET circles, with multiple interpreters available for Linux/Unix; if you develop on DotNET with C# though, you’re as tied to Windows with DotNET as you would be with Visual Basic. There is a (allegedly functional) product called Mono to extend DotNET onto Linux/Mac platforms, but Mono sucks hard and loud; many proponents will screech that it’s VB that sucks and therefore the Mono project doesn’t support it as well as C#, but if you’ve ever actually tried to use Mono you’d have learnt really fast that System.Windows.Forms doesn’t work well in Mono in any language and System.Net.Security is almost entirely nonexistent (at least if you want/need to work with any SSL over 1.0 and/or use any crypto newer than 10 years old).

On the whole “$10,000.00 USD per year more for developing with C#” question, because the VB developer can literally do anything the C# developer can do and then a whole lot more, the VB developer gets to write his/her own ticket (very, very literally) when working with/for anybody who relies on Microsoft Products like Windows, MS Office, (and ESRI products, and other VBA-embedded products). The C# developer without any ability to do anything but prattle nonsense about how lowly and worthless VB skills are, on the other hand, literally can’t do anything but weigh in heavily on topics he/she knows little/nothing about and then say nasty things like, “I don’t know what you’re talking about and I don’t think you do either,” when they get called on it. So in the end, you should never, never, never select a programming language for any development based on which language is better than another; you should find a competent developer who can tell you his/her own reasons for preferring one language over the other and then let them do it their own way because that way you’ll get the best possible final product out of them.

 

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