In the SampleManager world, we love to talk about the .NET options. But, do we really use it?
For all the talking about .NET, the real truth of the matter is that legacy customers have a LOT of VGL code. And, when push comes to shove, it’s easier to change the legacy VGL code than to rewrite entire programs. Customers talk about wanting to move to .NET but, as far as I’ve seen, are not willing to pay to rewrite their programs from VGL to .NET. That’s not meant as a criticism, either. Customers have limited budgets and they are trying to use them to add features to their systems not to rework things that are already working.
The other is this — while proprietary languages such as VGL were created for systems such as SampleManager in order to make it easier for non-programmers to learn to program them, the .NET code does not fall into that same category. Those languages are “real” programming languages. It’s not that VGL doesn’t benefit from being used by “real” programmers, too, just that it’s somewhat easier to slide-by with lesser programming skills using languages such as VGL than it is with the .NET languages. In our industry, we now have many, many people programming these systems who are not programmers, which is true of other systems besides SampleManager, by the way.
Is this going to mean that we start seriously training more of our industry to be “real” programmers? No, I don’t think that it does, actually. Our industry has not taken programming particularly seriously, in the past, and will probably not start, now, after all these years. I do feel sorry for the people who thought they would be modifying a few records and clicking a few buttons, but are suddenly struggling to figure out how to make a routine call and what kind of variable to pass into a program. But that’s the situation we have created and, once again, not just with SampleManager but with our attitudes about programmers — that we think we don’t really need professional programmers and, as such, do not need to train our people on this skill.