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Last post Author Topic: Why the aversion to .NET Frameworks?  (Read 21166 times)

Renegade

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Re: Why the aversion to .NET Frameworks?
« Reply #50 on: November 17, 2010, 08:10:21 PM »
A friend of mine says, "C is the answer." Not C++. C. He's brilliant. He's the guy teaching the multiple PhDs at the premiere government technology think-tank about programming. I have a lot of respect for him. He's got more programming talent in his thumbnail than I'll ever have.

But... He's a freak. A brilliant freak. But a freak. Very few people are that good.

There are even freaks out there that love assembler.

Then... There are the rest of us. The ones that are good, but not gifted. Most programmers.

And then... There is the reality that at the end of the day, empty plates suck, big dinners rock, and C doesn't put food on the plate for most people.

I've got other friends that have been doing C/C++ for years, and when they discovered .NET, it was a revelation for them. They love it. They can get more done easier and faster.

Now, I'm going to get into some radical stuff and likely piss some people off. i.e. Nothing surprising. ;)


Perhaps a few people might remember HTML, as in HTML 1.0 all the way up to 4.01. It was fault tolerant. It enabled the Internet because it wasn't impossible to use. SGML is a beast. A nasty beast. Completely unsuitable for humans. HTML on the other hand has been wonderful.

Now, if you're a purist, you should likely be frowning on that dirty, nasty, sloppy HTML, and tout a much more robust and refined language like SGML. Ahem... Houston, we have a problem...

The reality is that it's usually pretty silly to look down on most languages. Here's a good example - PHP. Now, if you look at PHP, you have multiple methods that do the exact same thing. That is, when given the same input, the methods return the same output. This is bad. Very bad. Now, if you believed that, you have a problem because you probably don't understand PHP or C# or some other languages very well, or probably more correctly, you're confusing frameworks and libraries for the language itself. Those redundant PHP methods come in different modules and libraries. It's not a problem with the core PHP language. In the same way, frowning on C# is rather silly. Even if you hate .NET, which is NOT C#. The C# language is just a language. If someone wanted to, they could write a compiler that compiled C# to native code. You can use C directly from some command line shells. That doesn't mean that C is an interpreted language.

When it comes to JIT, well, it's a price that you pay. But seriously... Is startup time all THAT important? If a program takes 5 seconds or 15 seconds, so what? Is it annoying? Sure. Is it a deal breaker? Certainly not.

But what do you get in return?

Productivity.

Managed code.

Both of those are big deals. Very big deals. Managed code is simply the way of the future. With software projects becoming larger and larger, managed code offers, well... who cares. It's not really all that interesting.

What IS interesting is productivity. When a programmer can get done the same task in half the time as he would with other tools, this is good. It makes software development more profitable, which makes more software products viable, which puts more choices out there for consumers. It also makes possible projects that otherwise would not be profitable due to productivity issues. This makes niche software viable in areas that would otherwise go ignored.

All this is good for us as consumers.

As for .NET software out there, there's a LOT. Magic the Gathering Online is a .NET application. There are plenty of them out there in the consumer world, and not just the line-of-business application and server world.

There are times when C, C++, C# or whatever language you want to name just isn't appropriate. Not all languages are suited to all tasks. F#, Haskel, Erlang and other functional languages are very good at mathematics. Can you do the same things with C? Sure. Would you want to? Maybe and maybe not. It's all case by case.

C# is a great general programming language that really works well for a lot of things. But, it's a lot like chocolate ice cream - there are people out there that really like strawberry a lot more. That doesn't make strawberry or chocolate bad or good. It just makes them different.

As for Mono, well, again, it has a time and a place. And yes, there is software out there for consumers done in Mono.

The problem there is that unless you SEE the .NET framework (or Mono) installed, there's no good way to just tell if it's a .NET/Mono program or not. And a lot of them simply invisibly install with no indication that they are .NET/Mono. Why would they? Do you care? I certainly don't. When I use a program, I couldn't care less what language it is done in. Well, except for Objective-C because it's evil sent from the Devil and only total douchebags use it. Errr... Well, that might not be true, but it just felt good to say it anyways~! :P

I suppose we techies just love our holy wars!
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f0dder

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Re: Why the aversion to .NET Frameworks?
« Reply #51 on: November 18, 2010, 06:09:26 AM »
... Especially people clinging on to C (and using the insecure libc functions) really shouldn't be doing any sort of networked code, please. ...

You mean people writing such non-networked code as; Linux, Apache and PHP? (all of which are still "clinging" to straight C).
Yep.

Thanks to clining on to C (C++ isn't nearly as bad, but isn't necessarily the best choice either), we have wonderful buffer overflows, memory leaks, double-free exploits and what have you. Even when those problems are fixed, for long-running daemons you get memory fragmentation issues unless the developers have been very careful and use pooled allocators - or rely on the cruddy old one-process-per-connection model, or the less-cruddy-but-still-meh "use one process for N client connections then reap because we know we leak memory like a sieve" model.

Truth is, C (and asm) simply can't be beat for systems level programming where size and speed (i.e. performance) really matter.
This really depends on what your're doing. For a lot of code, especially dealing with networked stuff, having an efficient I/O model + efficient threading + a proper string class that stores length and doens't have multithreaded COW ref-counting bottlenecks + a fast non-fragmenting memory allocator (usually means garbage collecting) is going to matter a lot more than a slightly more aggressive native code optimizer.

The only place assembly belongs these days is extremely low-level code that needs to take advantage of CPU features. The OS low-level "ZeroPage" function, optimization for sound and video codecs, etc... but in regular usermode applications? Just about never. I wouldn't mind seeing C being dropped entirely in favor of C++ - yes, even for kernel development, although you'd probably use a subset of C++ features there (using it as a "Super C"). For library development & other-language interop, use C++ internally and a C interface to the rest of the world. But please, stop writing raw C code - the only legitimate reason would be developing for platforms where no C++ compiler is available, like some of the really limited microcontrollers.
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vlastimil

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Re: Why the aversion to .NET Frameworks?
« Reply #52 on: November 18, 2010, 06:16:02 AM »
Eh, I am in ".net sucks" camp, because:

* I had a very bad experience with the first few versions. In order to use them properly, I had to learn a lot of useless things. Microsoft wants you to believe that writing .net apps is easy. That is true for simple apps that start, does it thing and ends. But writing larger, correctly behaving .net app is a nightmare. The problem is of course the collision of managed and unmanaged code and you still cannot avoid it, because Windows is unmanaged. I could tell you stories about memory and resource leaks caused by totally harmless and unexpected things. Using .net properly is harder than using C++.

* It misuses the C name. How does Ms sell the new VB? It renames it.

* Microsoft pushed it too early. It was full of bugs and it is still immature now.

* It is not innovative, it is just a Java clone. After Ms lost its case against Sun regarding Java modifications, they decided to use their marketing muscle instead. I hate this bully behavior.

* .net framework is too big, requires admin access and it is changing too often. A no-go if you actually want the broadest audience for your applications. (Don't argue with Paint.net, it is Microsoft's tool for spreading the .net framework.)

So, I'll switch to .net 5 years after the first managed Windows version is released I do not see that coming any time soon. Microsoft is not stupid, just sneaky 8).

f0dder

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Re: Why the aversion to .NET Frameworks?
« Reply #53 on: November 18, 2010, 06:41:48 AM »
The original versions of C# and .NET were lackluster - that's a pretty awfully bad reason for dismissing them today, though.

With C# 2.0 it became usable - generic and iterators.
With C# 3.0 it became interesting, and worthwhile to use - lambdas, extension methods, LINQ, anonymous types, and implicitly typed variables.

Yep, C# has borrowed a lot from Java, just like Java borrowed a lot from languages that came before it. It's my impression that C# (the language) has surpassed Java (the language) by now, and I definitely find it more comfortable to develop in C# than Java (which is partly because of the language, and partly the tools and framework).

The .NET framework definitely isn't perfect, there's bugs here and there, and it can be frustrating to figure out how all the parts play together... some of the standard interfaces you need to implement are pretty horrible (INotififyPropertyChanged is HORRIBLE, but at least you can abstract the horrors away somewhat). But there's also a lot of good stuff in there!

Even with some of the quirks, it's definitely a LOT more pleasant working with WPF than other GUI toolkits I've played with... With databinding leading to the MVVM design pattern and a convention-based MVVM framework, it becomes possible and almost pleasant to decouple GUI and model code, and get clean and testable applications.

Using .net properly is harder than using C++.
The one thing from C++ I miss in C# is deterministic object destruction - RAII is great. Unfortunately, and for good technical reasons, that's just not going to happen. So we're stuck with IDisposable and using - but it's not really that bad once you wrap your head around it, and consider alternative ways to solve problems. Example: instead of returning an IDisposable object from a method, perhaps you should consider taking in a "do-work" delegate as input to the method instead...

* It misuses the C name. How does Ms sell the new VB? It renames it.
Oh, that's flamebait if I ever saw it. Using C in the name is, imho, entirely appropriate - it's a C-based language after all, calling it a VB is really lame.

The problem is of course the collision of managed and unmanaged code and you still cannot avoid it, because Windows is unmanaged. I could tell you stories about memory and resource leaks caused by totally harmless and unexpected things.
Some examples would be interesting, otherwise it's just FUD to me. And hey, p/invoke is a lot more pleasant than JNI.

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Eóin

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Re: Why the aversion to .NET Frameworks?
« Reply #54 on: November 18, 2010, 08:57:50 AM »
The one thing from C++ I miss in C# is deterministic object destruction - RAII is great.

Of course there is always C++/CLI. Managed C++ was an ugly kludge but C++/CLI seems really elegant, and considering MS has C++ God :D Herb Sutter at the helm, it would seem that they take supporting and developing it very serious.

That said the Compact Framework doesn't support it, so no Windows Phone 7 programming :(

wraith808

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Re: Why the aversion to .NET Frameworks?
« Reply #55 on: November 18, 2010, 10:54:53 AM »
Using .net properly is harder than using C++.
I suppose you need to define properly.


* It misuses the C name. How does Ms sell the new VB? It renames it.
Oh, that's flamebait if I ever saw it. Using C in the name is, imho, entirely appropriate - it's a C-based language after all, calling it a VB is really lame.
Agreed 100%.  Comparing C# to VB is like...  I can't even find a good approximation, because they're just not the same at all.  Syntactically it's quite close to C++, and structurally, you couldn't really objectively compare it to VB.

Flamebait +1.

Eóin

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Re: Why the aversion to .NET Frameworks?
« Reply #56 on: November 18, 2010, 12:26:10 PM »
I find it interesting though, that MS make a point of maintaining feature parity between VB.net and C#.

A number of the features introduced to C# 4.0 already exist or will be introduced in some form or other in Visual Basic:
  • Late binding in VB is similar in many ways to dynamic binding in C#. In VB 10 (the “sister” VB version to C# 4.0), late binding has been extended to target the DLR for dynamic objects. Thus VB has the same degree of integration with dynamic objects as does C#.
  • Named and optional arguments have been part of Visual Basic for a long time, and the C# version of the feature is explicitly engineered with maximal VB interoperability in mind.
  • VB also already allows reference parameters to be omitted, and exposes indexed properties.
  • PIA embedding and variance are both being introduced to VB and C# at the same time.
VB in turn is adding a number of features that have hitherto been a mainstay of C#. As a result future versions of C# and VB will have much better feature parity, for the benefit of everyone.

As a language for just getting things done by non-programmers, it seems to work well enough. I know, from among the classmates who graduated with me and went on to work in the financial sector, that all internal development is Visual Basic mixed with Excel. That's absolutely all!!
« Last Edit: November 18, 2010, 12:32:36 PM by Eóin »

Renegade

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Re: Why the aversion to .NET Frameworks?
« Reply #57 on: November 18, 2010, 01:36:05 PM »
VB.NET is a fantastic language. It's much easier to use for beginners, and still offers truckloads of power. I'm not sure why there's so much hostility towards it from a lot of people. People always seem to look down on it.

I think the acid test for a language should be, "Does it let you get things done efficiently?" That will depend on what you're doing, and not all languages are appropriate to all tasks, but that doesn't make a language bad because it's not appropriate for a specific task.
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f0dder

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Re: Why the aversion to .NET Frameworks?
« Reply #58 on: November 18, 2010, 04:29:25 PM »
The hostility towards VB is... probably because the entry barrier is so low. Too many people who shouldn't be programming (at least not before bumping up their skill level) are able to churn out programs. The visual designer introduced back in prehistoric days definitely has a lot of blame there (and hey, it rocked!). Especially because it's so damn easy double-clicking a button in the visual editor and write business logic in the OnClick handler.

VB.net today might not be as horrible as VB6, but... well, I definitely don't like the syntax, and code written without "option strict" and "option explicit" make me shudder. With that on, however, VB isn't all that bad - although I'll never get to terms with the syntax.

The stuff Eóin mentions above sounds like it's pretty useful for COM interop... which is especially important for MS Office stuff written in VB, which there's probably still a pretty big market for :)
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Renegade

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Re: Why the aversion to .NET Frameworks?
« Reply #59 on: November 18, 2010, 05:39:16 PM »
The hostility towards VB is... probably because the entry barrier is so low. Too many people who shouldn't be programming

There's more to it than that. If that were it, there would be just as much or even more disgust for PHP. It's part of it, but there's more to it than just that. The barrier for PHP is even lower.
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

wraith808

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Re: Why the aversion to .NET Frameworks?
« Reply #60 on: November 18, 2010, 09:17:56 PM »
The hostility towards VB is... probably because the entry barrier is so low. Too many people who shouldn't be programming

There's more to it than that. If that were it, there would be just as much or even more disgust for PHP. It's part of it, but there's more to it than just that. The barrier for PHP is even lower.

The hostility towards VB.NET is the legacy of VB.  I'm having to do some work in VB6 right now.  And it's positively painful.  Especially when you start adding in COM and such.

f0dder

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Re: Why the aversion to .NET Frameworks?
« Reply #61 on: November 19, 2010, 01:53:31 AM »
The hostility towards VB is... probably because the entry barrier is so low. Too many people who shouldn't be programming
There's more to it than that. If that were it, there would be just as much or even more disgust for PHP.
There should be! ;) (it's possible to write decent stuff in PHP, but there's ugly stuff in the language, and the standard library is a complete messy hackjob).

It's part of it, but there's more to it than just that. The barrier for PHP is even lower.
The barrier for PHP lower? I don't agree. You do need to write a bit of code & HTML to get anywhere with PHP - with VB, you just drag stuff onto a form.
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Renegade

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Re: Why the aversion to .NET Frameworks?
« Reply #62 on: November 19, 2010, 02:51:52 AM »
Meh... Dunno. I suppose it's a matter of opinion. You can use an IDE to drag and drop for web development with PHP as well.

I think the web in general offers a lower barrier to entry than other kinds of development. I think that lowers the barrier for PHP as well.

Like here's an HTML page:

Code: HTML [Select]
  1.  

Just save that with an HTML extension and you have the first step to hello world. And here's hello world in HTML:

Code: HTML [Select]
  1. Hello world!

And the super-complex version of hello world:

Code: HTML [Select]
  1. <!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/loose.dtd">
  2.  <head>
  3.   <title> Hello world! </title>
  4.  </head>
  5.  
  6.  <body>
  7.   <p>Hello world!</p>
  8.  </body>
  9. </html>

HTML is basically the lowest barrier to entry. The next logical step from it is CSS, JavaScript, and then a scripting language or server side processing technology like PHP. :)

Now, I think ASP offers a lower barrier than PHP because it's easier, but not really anymore as it's obsolete. The real option is PHP.

Here's hello world in PHP:

Code: HTML [Select]
  1. Hello world!

;)

And the complex versions:

Code: PHP [Select]
  1. <?php
  2. Print "Hello, World!";
  3. ?>


Code: PHP (brief) [Select]
  1. <?php
  2. Echo "Hello, World!";
  3. ?>



Code: PHP [Select]
  1. <?php
  2. $hello = "Hello";
  3. $world = "world!";
  4. print "$hello $world";
  5. ?>

Code: PHP [Select]
  1. <?php
  2. $hello = "Hello";
  3. $world = "world!";
  4. echo("$hello $world");
  5. ?>

And the super complex one! :)

Code: PHP [Select]
  1. <?php
  2. $hello = "Hello";
  3. $world = "world!";
  4. print $hello." ".$world;
  5. ?>

Echo. Print. Man... They just can't make up their minds, can they? :P

(Funny how you can't even get through hello world without issues.)

Mind you, hello world always looks trivial. :)

But, whatever. They're both pretty easy. (I find VB.NET syntax is actually easier than PHP though.)


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vlastimil

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Re: Why the aversion to .NET Frameworks?
« Reply #63 on: November 19, 2010, 10:54:56 AM »
For me, the bad experience with the first versions is important. I had expectations and was disappointed on so many fronts. They turned me from a potential fan into a passionate hater. If Ms kept the first two versions internal and released #3, it could have been a different story. This way, we lost a good deal of time working around unintuitive bugs using a system that was supposed to be simpler.

C# really was much closer to VB than to C. I am not talking about syntax, but about the mindset and concepts used. Java syntax is close to C and yet they use a distinctive name. I do not care much about syntax, it is just a first layer of a programming language and one of the less important ones. Look at .net, you can do almost the same with all of the languages.

Do the later C# versions support multiple base classes? I stopped watching.

So, few examples of the bad things in 1.x and/or 2.0. It's been years, so my memory is a bit fuzzy and I lost my net_sucks.ppt I made at the end of that .net project.
* Unfixable random dll-loading deadlock in 1.x mixed assemblies...
* COM -> .net -> COM is a death circle even if your .net objects and COM objects follow the rules...
* Fatal focus problem with controls created internally by the framework on an invisible form. Do not remember the details anymore.
* Watching windows setting changes in a form from within the form via a harmless delegate caused the form and all it referenced never to be collected. 100s of MB of memory leaks...

f0dder

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Re: Why the aversion to .NET Frameworks?
« Reply #64 on: November 19, 2010, 11:39:31 AM »
C# really was much closer to VB than to C. I am not talking about syntax, but about the mindset and concepts used.
Care to explain? I've done C, C++, Java, C# and (tiny amounts of) VB - and I see C# and Java sharing a lot, having C++ legacy... and can't identify VB in C#.

Do the later C# versions support multiple base classes? I stopped watching.
No, it doesn't support Multiple Inheritance, and hopefully won't. For the cases where MI would be sane in C++, you use interfaces (and possibly composition) in modern languages.
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Eóin

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Re: Why the aversion to .NET Frameworks?
« Reply #65 on: November 19, 2010, 11:46:40 AM »
For me, the bad experience with the first versions is important. I had expectations and was disappointed on so many fronts. They turned me from a potential fan into a passionate hater. If Ms kept the first two versions internal and released #3, it could have been a different story.

I agree, it's for the same reasons I hate LangX. I mean writing machine code in punch cards was just so tedious and error prone that it left a bad taste in my mouth. The IT industry should really should have kept every method of programming under wraps until LangX was was complete. That way first the impression would have been better. [/sarcasm]

vlastimil

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Re: Why the aversion to .NET Frameworks?
« Reply #66 on: November 19, 2010, 12:19:36 PM »
Care to explain? I've done C, C++, Java, C# and (tiny amounts of) VB - and I see C# and Java sharing a lot, having C++ legacy... and can't identify VB in C#.

They have C++ syntax, true. Programming mindset is different and much closer to VB. They have a framework instead of direct access to C/C++ Windows API. They limit you in order to increase safety. They have quirks, because wrapping something is always problematic. Their IDE supports fast development of simple tools or specialized apps, they usually fail when things get complex.

Though I am not saying C++ is superior to VB, I am just saying C# is closer to VB than to C.

For the cases where MI would be sane in C++, you use interfaces (and possibly composition) in modern languages.

Well, then I must be insane  :Thmbsup:, I am using it a lot and it has saved me a hundreds of lines of code. The multiple-inheritance workarounds cause code duplication or bloat.

---

Eoin, I am explaining my feelings and there is no need for sarcasm. Microsoft is a big company and should not have used superior marketing instead of superior technology to push their thing over Java. Just read the quote in your signature.

Eóin

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Re: Why the aversion to .NET Frameworks?
« Reply #67 on: November 19, 2010, 12:36:55 PM »
vlastmil, I was just joking ;)

vlastimil

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Re: Why the aversion to .NET Frameworks?
« Reply #68 on: November 19, 2010, 12:55:24 PM »
OK, no problem  :)

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Re: Why the aversion to .NET Frameworks?
« Reply #69 on: November 19, 2010, 01:14:55 PM »
For the cases where MI would be sane in C++, you use interfaces (and possibly composition) in modern languages.

Well, then I must be insane  :Thmbsup:, I am using it a lot and it has saved me a hundreds of lines of code. The multiple-inheritance workarounds cause code duplication or bloat.

Not if utilized correctly.  That's the difference, I think.  It is a different mindset to a certain extent, because you have to think differently to get your work done.  Your design has to be different.  But, after doing it that way, it makes much more sense IMO.  And is definitely a lot more readable and maintainable.  And in the end, especially if you're working on something that someone else created, that's what makes the difference.

vlastimil

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Re: Why the aversion to .NET Frameworks?
« Reply #70 on: November 19, 2010, 02:02:09 PM »
Could be, but I missed it. Maybe I am too old to abandon my habits  :D