EntrevistaHow long is the future of C#? You’ve been on it for almost 10years. C# the project started in late December of ‘98, so we’re coming up on our 10-year anniversary. That’s not 10 years of existing in the industry, but it’s 10 years since inception internally. I’d say we’ve got another 10 years at least, but it all depends. I’ve said I’ve long given up predicting the far-off future of this industry because no one ever gets it right anyway. But I certainly see a strong healthy future for C#. We’re not done innovat-ing, and there’s plenty of work still to do.
EntrevistaDo you get feedback regarding the C# language, not just theimplementation? (…) I read people’s blogs, I read forums where people ask technical questions, go to conferences—all sorts of ways that we get feedback daily on what works and what doesn’t in the language. We take that feedback back to the design team and we maintain a long laundry list of all of the crazy ideas. Some of them will never make it into the lan-guage, but we keep them on the list because there’s something there that maybe someday we’ll get a good idea around this area. We know that we don’t have it right yet, but there’s a desire to do something. Certainly there’s no way we could design the language without all this feedback, so it’s all based on listening to what people do with the product.
EntrevistaWhen I compare C# to Java, C# seems to have a stronger pushtoward evolution. The Java people seem to want a baselinewhere everyone’s code looks more or less the same. Whetheryou’ve programmed Java for a decade, never programmedbefore, or just graduated from a six-month course on Java, allof your code will look the same. C# seems to pull in new ideasfrom Haskell or from F#. Is there a desire to add new featuresthat people who’ve just finished the six-month C# coursehaven’t seen and won’t immediately understand?
EntrevistaI am not in this to engineer the next COBOL; let’s just put it that way.What is it that powers the Internet revolution and the electronic revolutionthat we’ve seen? It’s the fact that we’re constantly evolving. I bring it backto that. The minute you stop evolving, I don’t know that you’re adding anyvalue. This is, again, taking it to the extreme. Of course, there is value instability of the platform, but I think you provide that value by ensuringbackward compatibility. You are free to get off the bus at C# 1.0 and justnot move any further. For those people that really want to be moreproductive and want to build newer kinds of apps like SOA or whatever andget into more dynamic styles of programming—adaptable programs andmore declarative styles of programming like we’re doing with LINQ—thenyou’ve got to evolve or get out of the way, or something else will replaceyou.
EntrevistaWhat do you suggest to become a better C# programmer? It’s hard. There are many good books out there on C# programming and I would encourage people to pick up one of the better books. I’m not going to start naming names here, but there are many good books out there that will help you become a better C# pro-grammer and help you better understand the .NET Framework. There are many things available online that also help. There are things like Codeplex. There’s a bunch of open source projects that you can grab and look at and learn from and so forth. To become a better programmer in general, one of the things that have helped me is to look at different styles of programming and different kinds of programming languages(…)
Entrevista What’s facing us now and in five years?Concurrency is the big one right now. That thing is right in our face, and we’ve got tofind solutions to that problem. One of my biggest challenges in the foreseeable future ishaving our team work that issue.Again, we’d like to do it in an evolutionary fashion, but how do you deal with the sharedstate problem and side effects without breaking all the existing code? We don’t knowyet, but it very well may be that that concurrency is a big enough paradigm change thatwhole new languages are needed or whole new frameworks are needed. Although Idon’t think we’re at that point yet. I think there’s a lot of ground that we can gain frommaking it possible for people to write APIs that internally are massively parallel andwritten by people that really understand a particular domain, be it transformations ornumeric processing or signal processing or bit- maps or image manipulation. (…)
EntrevistaDoes the object-oriented paradigm create problems?You know, it depends on what you group under the object-oriented paradigm.Polymorphism and encapsulation and inheritance are as such not a problem,although functional languages typically have a different view of how you dopolymorphism with their algebraic data types. Aside from that, I think the biggestproblem typically with object-oriented programming is that people do their object-oriented programming in a very imperative manner where objects encapsulatemutable state and you call methods or send messages to objects that cause them tomodify themselves unbeknownst to other people that are referencing these objects.Now you end up with side effects that surprise you that you can’t analyze.In that sense object-oriented programming is a problem, but you could do object-oriented programming with immutable objects. Then you wouldn’t have these sameproblems. That’s kind of what functional programming languages are doing, forexample.
Entrevista Regarding your interest in functional programming, should computer science students study more math and experiment more with functional programming?Well, I certainly think that it is important to include functional programming inany computer science curricula. Whether you start with it that depends. I’m not sure thatyour very first introduction to programming should be functional programming, but Idefinitely think that it ought to be part of a curriculum.
EntrevistaWhat lessons should people learn from your experience?Well, if you look at the first product I worked on, Turbo Pascal, it was very muchabout not believing the traditional way of doing things. Don’t be afraid. Just because people tell you it can’t be done, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it can’t be done. It justmeans that they can’t do it. I think it’s always fun to think outside of the box and try tofind new solutions to existing problems.It was the only thing I wanted to do. I was very, very passionate about it.You have to have that passion to get really good at something, because that makes youput in the hours, and the hours are the real key. You need to put in a lot of work.
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