A short background: I have been programming off and on for about 12 (wow, i told mouser yesterday that it had been 8 years but while writing this I realized its been longer than that.) years, mostly off. I love it, but have trouble sticking with it since no one I know is even slightly interested, and having a friend or two that shares your love makes it so much more fun. My experience was with commodore asm and basic (mostly basic then Borland turbo pascal and c/c++, all procedural dos stuff. When Windows became big (hey, we all know 3.1 sucked) I scaled back since there weren't many free options for doing event driven windows programming back then. I did do some Visual Basic with vb 4 and 5, but then I basically stopped other than doing ASP with data access via ODBC to Access 97 databases for years (a second job i have, part time). Well, now you know my entire life history! Well some of it.
Recently, I have really been wanting to get back into programming, over the last few years I have tried to get back into it, but books are expensive and there are too darn many options out there. I am way too indecisive and always second guess my decisions. I keep thinking I want to get back into C++, since that is the language that I did a lot of before I started drifting away, and really love how the language is structured. But, keep in mind I only did procedural stuff in C++. And, finally, we come to the question. I have gotten the whole Visual Basic Express 2005 stuff from Microsoft and started messing around with it some, mostly Visual Basic, but a wee bit with the C++ product. I keep hearing a lot about C#, and have been toying with the idea of just going for it with that language. I have this little voice in the back of my head that keeps telling me any of the managed languages aren't really programming, not like a real C++ compiler that compiles to stand alones haha. Shades of VB4 bytecode runtimes. I know that is an outdated view, and its hard to shake, but I am trying. So, C#, or C++? Or keep on doing Visual Basic? What do you guys think? Also, anyone here know offhand if the C++ Express 2005 in that stuff from Microsoft compiles standalone exes or do they also require .net?
Thanks beforehand for any advice, and sorry for the rambling.