Thursday, 14 December, 2000

Pros and Cons of VBScript

I started working on a custom web application for a client today, which takes me back to the world of ASP and VBScript.  From a purist standpoint, I still dislike the language because of its weak (non-existent, really) typing and inconsistent syntax.  But it's easy to get a web application up and running with VBScript.  After getting IIS and the debugging support installed on my machine, debugging is almost as nice as with Delphi or VC++, and the Visual InterDev development environment actually isn't too bad.  Sure, there are things I don't like, but I've been impressed at how quickly I've been able to create this application using a language and development environment with which I'm unfamiliar.

A lot of the criticism that I hear about Visual Basic (in all of its forms) is centered around its ease of use:  because it's so easy to create programs, people create a lot of crap.  True enough.  But just because a tool can be misused is no reason not to use it.  C, C++, and Perl are just as easy to misuse, and a lot of people use those languages to create crap, too.  Just take a look at www.freshmeat.net if you don't believe me.

Visual Basic's appeal is that it lets developers quickly create solutions.  Perhaps they're bloated, and maybe they're slower than they could be.  But for most business applications they're good enough.  And that's what businesses want:  applications that solve their problems now.  That's much to be preferred over a small and fast application that'll be ready when it's ready.