A new and *good* "VB"

As I write this, the yearly SAW is under way. One of the subjects I put on the table at last year's workshop was that I thought (and still think) it's about time for a new and *good* "VB".

What do you think? Has it become significantly easier to build software since 1991? Have we as a group become significantly more productive? (If so, would you say "yes" even if we take maintenance into account?)

VB had its merits and its flaws, but I think it represented a big shift in productivity for a big crowd. That said, it's not exactly a new VB I envision. It's something kind of in its spirit, but something that doesnít put lots of obstacles in the way of creating *good* software. It should help in creating software that can be maintained and taken further, maybe by more skilled developers if needed after the first successful application is built and used for some time. Probably also in making it easy to involve business analysts, domain experts, testers...

As I wrote here, there is no lack of new RAD tools ("drag till you drop" etc), but they are not focusing on creating expressive and beautiful code, maintainable software. Is it a law of nature that approachable tools must create bad results below the surface? I donít see that. (Please note that I *donít* expect a tool to make design and software development easy, thatís definitely not what Iím talking about. I just donít think it has to add lots of accidental complexity either.)

Why so little (no?) interest from the big vendors? It seems quite easy just to harvest some obvious and proven good ideas and concepts to put together in a nice and approachable package to take a big leap, and I think it would represent a huge difference for loads of non-alpha geeks. Sure, itís a moving target, but this might not be moving at all as fast as some of the current RAD attempts...

I put together my own toolbox as do many others, of course. We would probably do that anyway, but that's not the case for everybody. As I understand it, lots of developers go with the tools they get in the single package from the single vendor of their choice.

OK, there are attempts here and there for what I in the header called a new and *good* "VB". Those attempts are as far as I know from small vendors (and open source of course) and I guess this will spread.

Or maybe the "situation" will have been solved at SAW in a few days?
:-)