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Syntactic Sugar — Visual Basic Feng Shui

Syntactic Sugar

Filed under .NET, Rants, VB Feng Shui

What’s with this?

I’ve seen this term bandied about, usually referring to some new feature in VB, and usually in a disparaging way.


I thought pretty much everything about a 3 or 4GL was syntactic sugar. Without that sugar, we’d be coding in assembler or hex opcodes. I mean, an IF THEN ELSE construct is just syntactic sugar for a bunch of JNEs or JEQs, right? Hell, object oriented code is nothing but syntactic sugar for an array of type structures and function calls with an index as their first argument (the hidden ME pointer in all OO compiler code).

Sounds more like just so much L337ism to me.

I say bring it on. As long as it makes sense, expands the language in useful ways, and isn’t required to make use of the language, the more the merrier. My only concerns would be:

  • Any additional syntax that’s required in order to successfully use the language. That’s VB.NET’s biggest problem now, with respect to adoption by users of VB.
  • Compatibility breaking changes

Still, I think ANDALSO is a tad corny, nice, but corny. So shoot me.


  1. Ralf says:

    XOR! XOR! XOR!

    The uL7!m47+3 encyption evar devized!1!

    Combined with my sweet DATA / READ module it’ll be unstoppable.

    I think I’ll call it INCRYPIMATOR-X. :-)

  2. Darin says:

    That and your own "super secure" encryption routine and you’ll be 1337!

  3. Ralf says:

    Oh! OH! I’m gonna write a DATA / READ Class!

    It’ll be stupid and useless, but it’ll be MINE.


  4. Darin says:

    That’s easy. Just use resources for those DATA/READ blobs<g>

    What I want to know is what happened to the good ol’ DEF FN?

  5. Ralf says:

    ALL computer programs basically boil down to a series of GOTO statements. You might have to unspool the microcode to get there, but dagnabbit even a branch is really just a GOTO.

    What amuses me is that they keep bolting more crap onto the VB platform, yet here it is 2007 and I still don’t have a damn DATA / READ statement. I mean I submitted that feature request 15 years ago!

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