I did not see this one coming

by Miguel de Icaza

Am not sure how come I never made the connection between Matt Warren and his involvement in C# 3.0 and LINQ (I only made the connection while reading Tim Anderson's review of VS 2008).

I have been re-reading his blog in fascination in my spare time, but this caught my attention:

Ever since I joined up with the C# team nearly two years ago I've been frustrated by my inability to wax poetic about all the goodness we were working on. I was sworn to secrecy. Mum was the word. Perhaps if you were paying attention to the work in C# 2.0 and C-Omega, you may have guessed what was to come. Looking back, it's easy enough to recognize it in the design of Generics, Iterators and Anonymous methods. The existence of Nullables in there as well should have made it obvious. We were planning ahead for the big pay off, language integrated query.

You may be amazed that so much planning goes on in the features that we roll out version to version. Sometimes big ideas and far-reaching visions take many releases to come to fruition. You cannot always do them in one release. Sometimes you have to take a risk and dole them out piece by piece. This may cause a bit of confusion at first, when no one can truly understand why a particular feature was included and not others, or why one design was chosen. Yet once all the pieces are together you can finally make sense of it all, and then as if by magic it all just seems right.

At some ECMA meetings in 2004 (the time stamps for some of my notes on the disk are January of 2004) some of the new features were being presented at ECMA and it was obvious to see the benefit for those features (generics, check; anonymous methods, check; iterators, check; partial classes, check) but a few of the features made no sense.

Nullable type decorations made no sense to me ("int? a"). I remember feeling that they were pure compiler bloat and that the use case of databases made no sense. Am not a database developer, but I felt that the syntactic sugar at the time really was not bringing much to the plate. During one of the meetings, I remember putting together a parody for new type qualifiers (which is the timestamped file I kept) for other domain-specific features that I felt were just as useless.

Even with early access to the C# 2 specification for so long, I did not see these components coming together and fitting perfectly to create LINQ.

Posted on 19 Dec 2007