Role Reversal?

I attended an event yesterday at PDC where a member of the C++ product team was discussing the new features for C++ in Whidbey. He kept repeatedly emphasizing that C++ developers are the smartest and most talented developers in the world. There was something oddly familiar about the way he kept defending his existence as a programmer that was feeling sort of deja vu-like.

Then it dawned on me – it seemed an awful lot like in the past when I have heard VB developers getting defensive about their language and their skills when they were around C++ developers, or more recently, VB.NETprogrammers around C# programmers. It takes on a whiny “no, I’m important, REALLY!!!! Come on, guys!” sort of sound after awhile.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m no laguage bigot. I’m primarily a C++ background, with my language of choice being C# these days. I think you should choose whatever language makes the most sense for the task and your skill set. .NET has done an amazing job of leveling the playing field with that respect.

I do sort of question the productivity of using C++ in the managed world though. There are certainly many specialized tasks where C++ has power that the other languages may not. But as always, with power comes responsibility to not misuse it, which is where so much productivity has been lost in the past – chasing down those mis-uses and fixing them.

I just found it amusing (even as a C++ guy myself) to see that C++ guys are having to justify their existance so vigorously in the face of the adoption of C# and VB.NET for the bulk of .NET development.