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Sunday, April 1, 2001

New Language Targets Sub-Average Programmers


April 1, 2001 — Trying to bridge the gap between its Visual Basic for Applications and C# programming languages, Microsoft Corp. today unveiled the latest member of its Visual Studio.NET family: C--, a C-like language written for sub par corporate developers.

“During the past three or four years, many businesses have been forced to hire second-rate programmers,” said Jasper “mad cow” Holstein, Microsoft’s junior product manager for C-- (pronounced C minus minus). “We’ve known for a long time that those sub-par developers can’t hack real object-oriented programming languages like C++. We tried creating an easier language for them to use, C#, which is just like Java only better. But frankly, a lot of those old COBOL and RPG programmers just don’t get it. Thus, Visual C--.”

Unveiled by Microsoft chief software architect Bill Gates during February’s magnitude 6.8 earthquake in Seattle, C-- is poised to rock the world for millions of inept programmers across the globe, said Holstein. “Ask yourself these simple questions: Can you use a mouse? Can you connect lines to circles? Can you find the semicolon on your keyboard? If you answered yes to at least two of these, then you can program in C--. Not very well, but if you were any good, you’d be using C#. Right?”

According to technical documentation provided on Microsoft’s Web site, C-- offers developmentally challenged programmers several benefits over C# or Visual Basic: simplicity, in that the only punctuation mark used is the semicolon and the IDE accepts only upper-case letters; fiscally responsible object orientation without an inheritance tax; type safety, in that the integrated development environment includes a spell checker; scalability, in that programmers can run their software on either notebook or desktop PCs; and version control, because C-- programs run only on the latest version of Windows.

“The goal is to balance productivity and simplicity,” said Holstein. “Since corporations realize that their bottom-tier coders aren’t very productive anyway, C-- will help them do simple things. In our benchmarks, trained C-- programmers can create a ‘Hello, World’ program with only 150 lines of code, and can have it running in less than an hour. Those same programmers took nearly three days to perform that same task using C#, and most never got the C++ version of ‘Hello, World’ working even after a couple of weeks.”

Microsoft will be releasing the beta of Visual C--.NET on April 1, according to Holstein. Sun Microsystems Inc. chairman Scott McNealy, after watching the C-- introduction on CNN, hinted that his company had also been developing a watered-down programming language, code-named “AuLait,” and that it and the J2WE (Java 2 Weak Edition) should be ready for public consumption by this year’s JavaOne conference.

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