Language peer sets for Ruby:
Designed 1988 ↑
1980s languages ↑
Late Cold War↑
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Country: United States
Alan Cooper, Cooper Interaction Design, 1988
This was the renaming of the Tripod project for release by MS
Sold to Microsoft, who replaced back end to become VB.
||VISUAL BASIC ||
|| Evolution of
Cooper, Alan (2000) Cooper, Alan "The One-Phrase Resume"
Cooper, Alan (2000) Cooper, Alan "Why I am called 'the Father of Visual Basic'"
Interview at webword.com You are the "Father of Visual Basic", what does that mean? What did the experience teach you?
In early 1988 I invented a visual programming language called Ruby that I sold to Bill Gates. Ruby had a very well-developed direct-manipulation engine, but had a very weak programming language. However, I designed the language in such a way that it could be easily upgraded. Bill exchanged the entire language with his then moribund QuickBasic product, and Visual Basic was born. I like to say that "I did the visual, and Microsoft did the Basic."
One of the most impressive lessons from VB is the power of a good design. Almost every programming tool available today uses the interaction paradigm first established with Visual Basic. While the underlying languages--the techy, programmer part--changes from product to product, they all look and work the same. What's more, the visual programming tool is now embedded in every Microsoft Office component and in many third party applications.
One other lesson: If you examine the history of Microsoft's products, you will find several failures and many, many huge successes. But you will find very few products that were clearly, obviously successful in their very first release. Visual Basic is a notable exception to that pattern. The very first version of VB was a huge commercial and critical success, despite how technically weak it was compared to its current incarnation. I attribute this to the fact that VB was DESIGNED, whereas most all other Microsoft products are just programmed (Microsoft will claim that they have been designed, but, referring to your first question, there is a big difference between PROGRAM design and PRODUCT design.).
MS Windows, for example, was bad enough to be the laughing stock of the industry for the first five years of its life. It took five major releases before the laughter subsided. MS Word, for another example, wasn't generally considered a successful product until it had undergone several major revisions. Those revisions are a LOT more expensive than a few months of design.