Welcome!

Microsoft Cloud Authors: Andreas Grabner, Nick Basinger, Kevin Benedict, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: Microsoft Cloud

Microsoft Cloud: Article

.NET Archives: Getting Reacquainted with the Father of C#

Derek Ferguson, Editor-in-Chief of .NET Developer's Journal, Talks to Hejlsberg In a Major Interview

In our premier issue, back in October 2002, we ran a full-length interview with Anders Hejlsberg, the Distinguished Engineer at Microsoft responsible for the creation of the C# programming language. Then, in March 2005, we presented a follow-up interview conducted by .NETDJ's editor-in-chief, Derek Ferguson, at Microsoft's Tech Ed 2004 conference in San Diego, California. Here it is again in full.

.NETDJ: Between now and the last time we spoke, Borland has entered the .NET space. As an ex-Borland employee who is now one of the most revered .NET icons, what are your thoughts on this?

AH:
I'm very excited that they are doing that! It is the right thing for the Delphi community and .NET is the logical next place for all Windows development tools to go. I think it is a win-win situation.

.NETDJ:
I didn't realize the last time we spoke that you started off at Microsoft building the Windows Foundation Classes for J++. I never had a chance to look at WFC during its day. If I looked at it today, would I see bits I'd recognize from the .NET Framework?


AH:
Some of the ideas from WFC were carried forward into Windows Forms, so you would see stuff there.

.NETDJ:
Where, if anywhere, do you see a need for "a language specializing in... <blank>" today? For example, I think there is a real need for a new entry-level programming language. What do you think?

AH: I think there is a healthy cross-pollination that occurs between all the programming languages. While you might see C# pioneer in one direction and VB pioneer another, ultimately there is a lot of crossing over of ideas over time. Certainly, anything we do on the C# team we let the VB folks participate in and vice versa.

.NETDJ:
I recently spoke with Soma Somasegar, Microsoft's Corporate VP of the Developer Division, and he mentioned that you were one of the people looking at how XML usage can be done better from a programmatic standpoint. Can you tell us a little about this work?


AH:
Well, I wasn't involved in X#, but two of the people who were on the X# team are now members of the C# team. Some of X#'s ideas are being carried forward in C#. These are not going to look the same way as they did in X#. However, I think that the core concepts will carry forward. I can't make any commitments, though.

Actually, the main thrust of X# was trying to deal with relational data. It also tried to deal with XML, but it did not deal with loosely typed XML, which is what most of the XML in the world is.

My feeling is that if XML is strongly typed, then it can very conveniently be represented as classes. So what we really need is syntax for creating "object literals" - objects with nested objects - all in a single expression. We are kind of calling these "object initializers."

I would not expect to see XML literals embedded in the C# programming language, however. There are two ways to think about integrating concepts. On one hand, you can just embed one language in another. Honestly, however, this approach just calls attention immediately to all of the differences between the two languages. Take Embedded SQL, for example. You still have to learn two languages, but you also have to learn how those two languages interact.

On the other hand, if you could just take the conceptual things that are in two languages and merge them into one, you could get a much more productive environment. This is the approach to data I want to take in future versions of C#.

.NETDJ:
The last time we spoke (at OOPSLA 2002), you had just announced that anonymous methods would be added to C#, but you couldn't give a timeline. Now we know that that will occur in Visual Studio 2005. What has happened between now and then to take this idea from a vision to reality?


AH:
The stuff we talked about at OOPSLA was the first glimpse we gave of the new C# language features that will be in Visual Studio 2005. There are many that are well-known: generics, anonymous methods, iterators, and partial classes. There are also many more - nullable types, which we just talked about today - and a whole bunch of smaller things that are not as well-known.

Nullable types basically represent the ability to have value types that can be set to null, which is something that people very much ask for. I recently asked a group of programmers, "How many of you access data in your applications?" Virtually everyone raised his hand.

People do a lot of database access, and yet there are some pretty notable impediments to interactions between databases and programming languages. One of these mismatches is the absence of nullable types from programming languages. SQL databases have always had nullable types, but programming languages have never had nullable types. One of the things that you are sort of seeing here is the beginning of us trying to think really deeply about this problem. Nullable types are a specific problem that we are solving as a part of .NET 2.0. In .NET 1.0, value types can't be null, but in 2.0 they can.

(continued on page 2)

More Stories By Derek Ferguson

Derek Ferguson, founding editor and editor-in-chief of .Net Developer's Journal, is a noted technology expert and former Microsoft MVP.

Comments (7)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


IoT & Smart Cities Stories
Tapping into blockchain revolution early enough translates into a substantial business competitiveness advantage. Codete comprehensively develops custom, blockchain-based business solutions, founded on the most advanced cryptographic innovations, and striking a balance point between complexity of the technologies used in quickly-changing stack building, business impact, and cost-effectiveness. Codete researches and provides business consultancy in the field of single most thrilling innovative te...
CloudEXPO has been the M&A capital for Cloud companies for more than a decade with memorable acquisition news stories which came out of CloudEXPO expo floor. DevOpsSUMMIT New York faculty member Greg Bledsoe shared his views on IBM's Red Hat acquisition live from NASDAQ floor. Acquisition news was announced during CloudEXPO New York which took place November 12-13, 2019 in New York City.
With the introduction of IoT and Smart Living in every aspect of our lives, one question has become relevant: What are the security implications? To answer this, first we have to look and explore the security models of the technologies that IoT is founded upon. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nevi Kaja, a Research Engineer at Ford Motor Company, discussed some of the security challenges of the IoT infrastructure and related how these aspects impact Smart Living. The material was delivered interac...
Atmosera delivers modern cloud services that maximize the advantages of cloud-based infrastructures. Offering private, hybrid, and public cloud solutions, Atmosera works closely with customers to engineer, deploy, and operate cloud architectures with advanced services that deliver strategic business outcomes. Atmosera's expertise simplifies the process of cloud transformation and our 20+ years of experience managing complex IT environments provides our customers with the confidence and trust tha...
Intel is an American multinational corporation and technology company headquartered in Santa Clara, California, in the Silicon Valley. It is the world's second largest and second highest valued semiconductor chip maker based on revenue after being overtaken by Samsung, and is the inventor of the x86 series of microprocessors, the processors found in most personal computers (PCs). Intel supplies processors for computer system manufacturers such as Apple, Lenovo, HP, and Dell. Intel also manufactu...
Darktrace is the world's leading AI company for cyber security. Created by mathematicians from the University of Cambridge, Darktrace's Enterprise Immune System is the first non-consumer application of machine learning to work at scale, across all network types, from physical, virtualized, and cloud, through to IoT and industrial control systems. Installed as a self-configuring cyber defense platform, Darktrace continuously learns what is ‘normal' for all devices and users, updating its understa...
At CloudEXPO Silicon Valley, June 24-26, 2019, Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with expanded DevOpsSUMMIT and FinTechEXPO programs within the DXWorldEXPO agenda. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of business. Only 12% still survive. Similar percentages are found throug...
OpsRamp is an enterprise IT operation platform provided by US-based OpsRamp, Inc. It provides SaaS services through support for increasingly complex cloud and hybrid computing environments from system operation to service management. The OpsRamp platform is a SaaS-based, multi-tenant solution that enables enterprise IT organizations and cloud service providers like JBS the flexibility and control they need to manage and monitor today's hybrid, multi-cloud infrastructure, applications, and wor...
Apptio fuels digital business transformation. Technology leaders use Apptio's machine learning to analyze and plan their technology spend so they can invest in products that increase the speed of business and deliver innovation. With Apptio, they translate raw costs, utilization, and billing data into business-centric views that help their organization optimize spending, plan strategically, and drive digital strategy that funds growth of the business. Technology leaders can gather instant recomm...
The Master of Science in Artificial Intelligence (MSAI) provides a comprehensive framework of theory and practice in the emerging field of AI. The program delivers the foundational knowledge needed to explore both key contextual areas and complex technical applications of AI systems. Curriculum incorporates elements of data science, robotics, and machine learning-enabling you to pursue a holistic and interdisciplinary course of study while preparing for a position in AI research, operations, ...