September 16, 2005
@ 05:27 PM

The announcements from about Microsoft's Linq project just keep getting better and better. In his post XML, Dynamic Languages, and VB, Mike Champion writes

Thursday at PDC saw lots of details being put out about another big project our team has been working on -- the deep support for XML in Visual Basic 9...On the VB9 front, the big news is that two major features beyond and on top of LINQ will be supported in VB9:

"XML Literals" is  the ability to embed XML syntax directly into VB code. For example,

Dim ele as XElement = <Customer/>

Is translated by the compiler to

Dim ele as XElement =  new XElement("Customer")

The syntax further allows "expression holes" much like those in ASP.NET where computed values can be inserted.

"Late Bound XML" is the ability to reference XML elements and attributes directly in VB syntax rather than having to call navigation functions.  For example

Dim books as IEnumerable(Of XElement) =

Is translated by the compiler to

Dim books as IEnumerable(Of XElement) = bib.Elements("book")

 We believe that these features will make XML even more accessible to Visual Basic's core audience. Erik Meijer, a hard core languages geek who helped devise the Haskell functional programming language and the experimental XML processing languages X#, Xen, and C-Omega, now touts VB9 as his favorite.

Erik Meijer and I used to spend a lot of time talking about XML integration into popular  programming languages back when I was on the XML team. In fact, all the patent cubes on my desk are related to work we did together in this area. I'm glad to see that some of the ideas we tossed around are going to make it out to developers in the near future. This is great news.