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BASIC SIG (February 7th, 2017) - VB's ByRef/ByVal (VB's "it just works" approach to CLR ref) and "All About Nullables"

Rough agenda:

* Progress update: Website, Slack.NET...
* Discuss ways that you can get involved, regardless of skill level.
* ByVal and ByRef, what does this mean along with deeper dive of CLR ref and how VB takes this a step further.
* "All About Nullables"  Dim a As Integer?... A question?  What does that mean?  Why does it exist?  How do I handle these?  How does it affect/help me?  
* Brainstorm future topics.

If you haven't joined the Slack group, we've now automated the invite (leveraging SlackAPI) at BASICSIG.

Please help spread the word across twitter and facebook...
 
Please RSVP

As a requirement to meet at this location, I have to share: This event is not sponsored or endorsed by the by the North Richland Hills Library, The Maker Spot or the City of North Richland Hills.
 
 

(Re)Announcing BASICSIG!

After visiting Microsoft for the Microsoft MVP Summit in November, I was a bit “beat down”.  I came to a somewhat difficult (and in my mind, somewhat shocking) realization. 

VB is dead!

Wait, what?

OK, so it requires a little explanation…

After speaking with several long time MVP’s who were (and, in many cases, still are) self-identified as being VB MVP’s… I asked each and every one of them the following question:

“Are you actually using VB?”

Wow!  None of them…

Reason being?

Peer pressure.

They all told me the same answer.  When they present at .NET user groups, they felt that when they presented topics using VB as a language, they were negatively received.  In other words, they are doing something that they enjoy in the language that they prefer on a platform that embraces multiple languages (I should also mention for FREE) and the audience response is their reason for feeling rejected?!?!?! 

What kind of seriously broken steaming pile of fecal matter is that????

This says volumes both on the part of the presenters and especially the general .NET community members. 

Oh wait… it’s gets better…

… redacted …

(This section could not be shared as it would potentially break NDA… something I take very seriously… so…)

Let me share how I felt for the first two days of the Summit…

“Why did I waste my time coming to this thing?” which led to Tuesday evening me seriously considering catching an earlier flight home.  I figured, well, I’m here… let me at least stay the night and catch up with a few friends I’ve made over the years that I only see during these types of events.  I headed out to catch a shuttle to the other side of town…

While waiting for the shuttle, two guys were talking and I could see that they were also fellow MVP’s.  I introduced myself and we got to talking.  They were going to use an Uber to go there and asked if I wanted to ride along.  Heck… haven’t “uber’d” as yet… so why not.

It wasn’t until about halfway across town that the conversation changed… two fellow VB guys from the Netherlands who are actively using VB every day!  (Seriously!)

…skipping the details…

OK, so I decided to stay for the rest of the event.  The event itself was not something that I found tremendously valuable… it was what happened between the talks.

VB is NOT dead!

However, that doesn’t say that there is a serious problem with the state of VB.

First… the good news.

You can use VB (to a large degree) to build Xamarin based applications.  It’s not friendly, but at least it’s possible.

Thanks to work that I participated in on the Thursday “hackathon”; VB can be used to build .NET Core applications (compile on Windows, run anywhere that .NET Core works).

VB is a core part of Roslyn; one of the fundamental .NET’s future doesn’t work without it components.

VB is now open source…

There was a comment that was made that really stuck with me…

“C# is the baby, VB is the teenager.”

Everyone loves to give all their attention to the baby.  This makes the teenager feel a little left out.  They aren’t loved is the feeling the teenager gets.  However, this perception isn’t reality.  VB is loved.  It is still very much alive.  However, that new kid is getting a lot of attention.  And, you know what?  That’s OK!

Now for the bad news…

Microsoft has multiple children… VB, C#, F#, TypeScript, etc.

They aren’t able to put themselves in a position of perceived favoritism.  Even doing their best to avoid that, they still come across as doing so.

With that said… the voice of the VB community is “silent”.  Your champions are gone.  They’ve raised their white flags and have surrendered.  Within the "active" .NET community, VB is silent.  Amongst the "used to be" VB MVP's... they are on the verge of being extinct.

What does this mean?

We need new blood.  We need new champions.  We need to stand together and let our voice be heard.

How do we do this?

We need to band together, we need to build a strong community!  We need to work together.  We need to encourage new developers to join our ranks.  We need to help them grow.  We need to get involved. To do so, we need to be organized… we need to create our own events... events that welcome our ranks.

This is where the BASICSIG comes into the picture.

Announcing BASICSIG; a global organization dedicated to all of those interested in the continued usage and evolution of the BASIC programming language.

Join the conversation… http://basicsig.com

There’s a lot of work to be done, but to start… we can simply start by talking to one another.  So the first milestone is easily accomplished by joining our slack group.  To do so, visit http://basicsig.com and use that page to automate the invite.  In other words, if you are reading this and visit that site… put in your email address and I’ll send you an invite (automated)… using VB (of course).

Stay tuned… there’s a lot more to come.

[edit] For full disclosure, trying to talk to the "self-identified" VB MVP's was a momentous task as, unlike prior Summits, they weren't in any single place.  So I just did the best I could by being on the lookout for them.  So there could very well be some that are still very active; the point is that all of them that I encountered with the above question answered the same way.  So for those I could not find, there's still hope... maybe.  In other words, the poll results are only as good as the input data.  With that out of the way, the fact that the "VB crowd" was no longer clustered in any single discussion also says "something".  In other words, there were no official topics that were specifically targeted to the VB audience; at least, not until, several of us suggested one and Anthony D. Green (product manager for VB) was kind enough to put together something for us. ;-)  That discussion included exactly one (1) VB influencer apparently representing all of the USA (me).  We have to fix this. :-D

BASIC SIG (November 1st, 2016) - Are line numbers evil?

This is a "challenge month" where each participant will use GW-BASIC to build something "interesting" (something that works) from scratch in the hour and a half that is available.  Each project will be judged on across several aspects and the winner will walk away with an ESP8266!
 

As a requirement to meet at this location, I have to share: This event is not sponsored or endorsed by the by the North Richland Hills Library, The Maker Spot or the City of North Richland Hills.

BASIC SIG (October 4th, 2016) - What would you ask the VB team?

I'll be going to Microsoft next month, so this month we will talk candidly about the current state of VB.NET... no sacred cows... ask anything and I'll be sure to get some of these questions answered with a recap (without breaking NDA) in Decembers meeting.

As a requirement to meet at this location, I have to share: This event is not sponsored or endorsed by the by the North Richland Hills Library, The Maker Spot or the City of North Richland Hills.

BASIC SIG (September 6th, 2016) - Random Topics

Work has clobbered me this month, so we will just be covering random topics, questions, etc.  So come and ask "anything".

As a requirement to meet at this location, I have to share: This event is not sponsored or endorsed by the by the North Richland Hills Library, The Maker Spot or the City of North Richland Hills.

BASIC SIG (August 2nd, 2016) - VB.NET... let's finish building something!

Continuing the efforts of the last two meetings, we will finish the project, using it to demonstrate the language features as well as some of the process behind "how to build software"... attend and participate.

As a requirement to meet at this location, I have to share: This event is not sponsored or endorsed by the by the North Richland Hills Library, The Maker Spot or the City of North Richland Hills.

BASIC SIG (July 5th, 2016) - VB.NET... let's continue to build something!

Last month went very well, a lot of interaction and we actually successfully built a random, undetermined, application from scratch that actually "worked".  We will continue to build on this project, using it to demonstrate the language features as well as some of the process behind "how to build software"... attend and participate.

As a requirement to meet at this location, I have to share: This event is not sponsored or endorsed by the by the North Richland Hills Library, The Maker Spot or the City of North Richland Hills.

BASIC SIG (June 7th, 2016) - VB.NET... let's build something!

We are going to build something using VB.NET... attend and participate.

As a requirement to meet at this location, I have to share: This event is not sponsored or endorsed by the by the North Richland Hills Library, The Maker Spot or the City of North Richland Hills.

BASIC SIG (May 3rd, 2016) - Visual Basic 2015 and Beyond

A review of where we are with Visual Basic 2015 followed by what *might* be coming next based on trends and review of history.

As a requirement to meet at this location, I have to share: This event is not sponsored or endorsed by the by the North Richland Hills Library, The Maker Spot or the City of North Richland Hills.

BASIC SIG (April 5th, 2016) - ESP8266: IoT using BASIC! (Repeat)

What do you get with you take a microcontroller that costs between $2-$10 and set it up so that you can program it via the web with BASIC?  Let's find out!

As a requirement to meet at this location, I have to share: This event is not sponsored or endorsed by the by the North Richland Hills Library, The Maker Spot or the City of North Richland Hills.

BASIC SIG (March 1st, 2016) - ESP8266: IoT using BASIC!

What do you get with you take a microcontroller that costs between $2-$10 and set it up so that you can program it via the web with BASIC?  Let's find out!

As a requirement to meet at this location, I have to share: This event is not sponsored or endorsed by the by the North Richland Hills Library, The Maker Spot or the City of North Richland Hills.

BASIC SIG (February 2nd, 2016) - The basics of BASIC Pt.4

We will continue covering the basics of BASIC; in other words, introduction to programming using Microsoft Visual BASIC 14.

Additionally, I'm putting out an official call to arms for everyone to spread the word to every single person interested in developing in BASIC; whether experienced or new, hobbiest or professional and everywhere in between.  The focus, direction and attention for the future of Microsoft Visual BASIC is at another proverbial crossroads; meaning that this is *your* opportunity to have a voice.  More details to come as they develop.

As usual, please RSVP so I know how much pizza to order.

As a requirement to meet at this location, I have to share: This event is not sponsored or endorsed by the by the North Richland Hills Library, The Maker Spot or the City of North Richland Hills.

BASIC SIG (January 5th, 2016) - The basics of BASIC Pt.3

We will continue covering the basics of BASIC; in other words, introduction to programming using Microsoft Visual BASIC 14.

Additionally, I'm putting out an official call to arms for everyone to spread the word to every single person interested in developing in BASIC; whether experienced or new, hobbiest or professional and everywhere in between.  The focus, direction and attention for the future of Microsoft Visual BASIC is at another proverbial crossroads; meaning that this is *your* opportunity to have a voice.  More details to come as they develop.

As usual, please RSVP so I know how much pizza to order.

As a requirement to meet at this location, I have to share: This event is not sponsored or endorsed by the by the North Richland Hills Library, The Maker Spot or the City of North Richland Hills.

BASIC SIG (December 1st, 2015) - The basics of BASIC Pt.2

We will continue covering the basics of BASIC; in other words, introduction to programming.

As usual, please RSVP so I know how much pizza to order.

As a requirement to meet at this location, I have to share: This event is not sponsored or endorsed by the by the North Richland Hills Library, The Maker Spot or the City of North Richland Hills

BASIC SIG (November 3rd, 2015) - The basics of BASIC and BCX

(aka Beginning programming and C/C++ in BASIC)

We will be covering the basics of BASIC; in other words, introduction to programming.  Additionally, for those who are more familiar with the basics, we will be discussing BCX; a version of BASIC that is essentially C/C++ with a BASIC spin.

As usual, please RSVP so I know how much pizza to order.

As a requirement to meet at this location, I have to share: This event is not sponsored or endorsed by the by the North Richland Hills Library, The Maker Spot or the City of North Richland Hills.

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