Goodbye to Line Continuation Characters

by Paul Kimmel

Say your goodbyes to line continuation characters, with a brief look back at Basic.


The Microsoft MVP Summit is fast approaching. The last couple of years they've hired a rock band and sang Karaoke. My friend Keith Elder has a great voice, so for fun I tweaked the Green Day Lyrics to Good Riddance. Permit my stab at hilarity and good fun. Maybe Keith will belt it out for me, so I can laugh my butt off. Keith's forte' is country, so then again maybe he won't.

Good Redmonce [Sing to Green Day's Good Riddance]
Another turning point, a fork stuck in your toe
Time grabs you by the brain, directs you where to go
So make the best of this, and don't ask Redmond why
It's not a question, but a cluster lost in time
It's something unpredictable, but in the end it's right
The Summit was the time of your life.
So take the Photoshop, and crop the friends you find
Add them to Facebook and say these friends are mine
Tattoos of memories dead brain cells on trial
For what it's worth it was worth all the while
It's something unpredictable, but in the end it's right.
The Summit was the time of your life.

It's something unpredictable, but in the end it's right.
The Summit was the time of your life.

It's something unpredictable, but in the end it's right.
The Summit was the time of your life

The good thing about this Summit and right now is that VS2010 beta 2 is out, a lot of the technology is in the public domain, so we can start exploring the new release and the new framework together.

A History of Basic

I tweaked my first BASIC code in 1978. It was ROM BASIC on a TRS 80, dubbed the trash 80. This was about three years after Microsoft was formed in 1975. (I had a couple thousand dollars in Savings Bonds. Ah, had I only purchased Microsoft stock a few short years later I would be writing from my villa in Spain. I can't complain the Microsoft contagion has been very good to me.) The program I tweaked was a simple tank game, slightly more complicated than pong. (Remember pong?)

I found video games the year after, but ignored computers until 1987. My parents used to worry video games would rot my brain, but combined with being an avid reader my interested in computers has served me well.

Since 1978 and after from 1987 until now I have programmed in just about every VB language imaginable. PIC Basic, GW-BASIC, Visual Basic for DOS, BASIC for DOS 7.1, Visual Basic for Windows, and .NET.

Sometimes Basic feels clunky and cumbersome, but Basic has been very good to me. I am a VB MVP and have been for six years. I have written several books on Basic, and have had a long-running column, VB Today, for eleven years. Basic today is a long way away from its roots. Today you can do anything for Windows or the web that you want to. You can write really powerful OO code or just use Basic perhaps as some of us always have--click and code. The latter way is the way that will provide your solutions with the greatest flexibility and power, but ultimately it is an individual choice how you use Basic.

Goodbye Line Continuation Characters

One very simple change is that the line continuation character is no longer required. You know that simple yet annoying _ at the end of each line that we have probably typed a million times. I sometimes seem to upset hard core VBers by saying things like the line continuation character sucks, but it does suck. (It especially sucks if you write code for books and have to adjust them in code for pagination in print.)

VB is still VB even if it slowly becomes less differentiable from C# over time. It is a good language and very programmer friendly.


The only constant is change. Upgrade to Visual Studio 2010. Just getting rid of line continuation is enough for me, but upgrade so you can use LINQ, Parallel constructs, the new and improved Entity Framework features and all of the cool features in VS2010. And thank you for reading all of these years.

About the Author

Paul Kimmel is the VB Today columnist for CodeGuru and has written several books on object-oriented programming and .NET. Check out his upcoming book Professional DevExpress ASP.NET Controls (from Wiley) now available on Amazon.com and fine bookstores everywhere. Look for his upcoming book Teach Yourself the ADO.NET Entity Framework in 24 Hours (from Sams). You may contact him for technology questions at pkimmel@softconcepts .com. Paul Kimmel is a Technical Evangelist for Developer Express, Inc, and you can ask him about Developer Express at paulk@devexpress.com and read his DX blog at http:// community.devexpress.com/blogs/paulk.

This article was originally published on Friday Feb 19th 2010
Mobile Site | Full Site