Is C# the Boost of C-family languages?

For all the cons of giving a single entity control over C#, one pro is that it gives the language an unmatched agility to try new things in the C family of languages. LINQ—both its language integration and its backing APIs—is an incredibly powerful tool for querying and transforming data with very concise code. I really can’t express how much I’ve come to love it.

The new async support announced at PDC10 is basically the holy grail of async coding, letting you focus on what your task is and not how you’re going to implement a complex async code path for it. It’s an old idea that many async coders have come up with, but, as far as I know, has never been successfully implemented simply because it required too much language support.

The lack of peer review and standards committee for .​NET shows—there’s a pretty high rate of turnover as Microsoft tries to iron down the right way to tackle problems, and it results in a very large library with lots of redundant functionality. As much as this might hurt .​NET, I’m starting to view C# as a sort of Boost for the C language family. Some great ideas are getting real-​world use, and if other languages eventually feel the need to get something similar, they will have a bounty of experience to pull from.

C++, at least, is a terrifyingly complex language. Getting new features into it is an uphill battle, even when they address a problem that everyone is frustrated with. Getting complex new features like these into it would be a very long process, with a lot of arguing and years of delay. Any extra incubation time we can give them is a plus.

Posted on October 28, 2010 in Asynchronous, Boost, C, C#, C++, Coding, Microsoft

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