Microsoft to open up compilers for Visual Basic, C#

Language improvements for multicore processors also promised

Microsoft, which has been pursuing concurrent improvements for its Visual Basic and C# programming languages, plans to open up compilers for the languages and add capabilities for asynchronous programming and immutability.

Discussed at the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference (PDC) in Los Angeles today, the blueprint for the two languages will feature compilers as services and accommodations for multicore processors, said Luca Bolognese, program manager for the languages group at Microsoft.

[ See InfoWorld's report on the convergence of the Visual Basic and C#. | Follow our ongoning coverage of the PDC 009 event. ]

With the opening of the compilers, Microsoft will move away from a "black box" mode and let developers see what is going on inside, offering programming benefits. "Using the same data structures that the compiler users is incredibly useful,"  Bolognese said. With increased insight into the compilers, developers could, for example, parse code or simplify the building of refactorings, he said.

Asynchronous programming and immutability "allow you to write easier parallel code," benefitting applications running on multicore processors, Bolognese said. With asynchronous programming, he added, threads are freed up for processing of different operations.

Meanwhile, the planned Visual Studio 2010 software development platform, due in March 2010, offers declarative and dynamic programming as well as concurrency for C# and Visual Basic. "In Visual Studio 2010, we move the two languages much closer together, so now we are in a good spot co-evolve them as one," Bolognese said. "In the future, you won't see any big feature inserted in one language and not in the other," he said.

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