Microsoft explains its .NET language strategy in detail

Software and its development are important sectors for Microsoft. The company recently announced an update to Visual Studio 2017 Release Candidate and the second preview of Visual Studio Tools for Samsung's Tizen as well. Both these moves indicate increased focus on cross-platform development, among other things.

To that end, Microsoft has detailed its .NET language strategy, explaining how each language is important for developers as well as the company.

In a recent blog post, Microsoft has explained its language strategy, its framework, and the method to determine how each programming language will evolve. That said, the company has noted that it's just sharing additional context regarding its .NET strategy, and it should only be viewed as guidance, rather than a roadmap.

Talking about C#, Microsoft noted how it is currently one of the most popular programming languages with millions of users. For example, it is being utilized for mobile development in Xamarin, business applications, web apps in ASP.NET, and game development in Unity. The company says that the language has remained popular because it has evolved the language "tastefully and programmatically".

Microsoft states that it will continue improving C# over the years, to meet the demands of developers. It promises to "innovate aggressively", while not over-focusing on particular segments and keeping its core design intact. The company says that version 7.0 of C# will feature pattern matching and tuples as some of its biggest features.

Microsoft also emphasized the importance of Visual Basic, saying that hundreds of thousands of people are using it to develop business applications. It stated that the language is very popular among new developers. That said, that most developers do transition to C# to some time, as the latter's samples, ecosystem, and community are "often richer".

Moving on, the company stated that it would keep Visual Basic approachable for new developers. Innovation will be focused on the scenarios where the language is popular, such as cross-language tooling experience. This marks a shift from Microsoft's plan in 2010, when it stated that Visual Basic and C# were on a "shared course".

Lastly, the company also mentioned F#, noting that although it isn't used by many people, it is one of the "most loved" languages. Many developers use it for web and cloud services, analytical tools, and data manipulation. It also praised the "phenomenally engaged" community which had tirelessly contributed towards the development of F# as the front-runner for open-source .NET.

In the future, Microsoft plans to make it the "best-tooled functional language", by making contributions easier, among other things. It will try to ensure that new features in C# interoperate well with F# as well. The language will now tackle target platforms that are integral to the community.

Microsoft says that it has detailed its vision for .NET languages so that whenever the company makes a decision regarding it, people see where it comes from. It states that the better-informed you are regarding the company's strategy, the more intelligent business decisions you'll be able to make moving forward.

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