Anders Hejlsberg interview at GOTO

by DotNetNerd 10. October 2012 17:56

Wednesday at GOTO I did my second and last interview at the conference. I was lucky enough to get to talk to Anders Hejlsberg, which was made even more perfect with him announcing the preview of TypeScript during the conference. We had a very nice and comfortable talk, and afterwards I can only be impressed with how calm he is all while leaving no doubt about his passion and knowledge.

We choose to do the interview in Danish, so my apologies to the non-Danish speaking readers. It just made more sense for two Danes in Denmark to speak Danish. Not having seen any interviews with Anders in Danish myself, it was also an opportunity to do that.

To give a short review we talked about GOTO, working with C# and of course TypeScript. The fun part of the story relating to the conference is that Anders actually recruited Mads Torgersen after seeing him talk back when GOTO was still called JAOO. This was of course something special, but other then that he usually goes to conferences to do talks and some networking.

Reguarding the work with C# he talked about how v. 1 of a language lets you do anything, and after that you “can’t fundamentally change the nature of the beast”. It is not really an option to take out parts of a language, because you have to respect the users who are already leveraging these features. An option could be to introduce a mode, making it the users choice to turn off certain features.

When asked about if there are other languages that serve as inspiration Anders said that most languages have some good ideas, and that especially functional languages have been a source of inspiration in the later versions of C#. This was reflected when we talked about features he is the most happy with and things that maybe could have been different. He called out the work around LINQ being a favorite and non-nullable types as something that could have been different if we could turn back time.

I asked about the work with Roslyn, where I was interested in what we should expect it to provide for us as application developers. Anders went over how it can help with flexibility to do better tooling, how it will enable an interactive prompt as well as the option to use C# as a DSL.

Talking about TypeScript Anders elaborated on the focus of TypeScript as a way to make it easier to build large applications in JavaScript. Especially when working as a team it makes sense to have an optional static type system, that lets you work with modules and interfaces and so on. It stands out from CoffeeScript because it is a superset of JavaScript and has optional static typing – which enables fantastic tooling. So the goal is to make JavaScript stronger instead of trying to replace it.

Lastly I asked if they had been thinking about making Windows RT run TypeScript directly without compiling to JavaScript. This is not something that is considered, because the focus is on enabling tooling and because the Chakra JavaScript VM is designed to be the best place to run Javascript no matter where it comes from.

Who am I?

My name is Christian Holm Diget, and I work as an independent consultant, in Denmark, where I write code, give advice on architecture and help with training. On the side I get to do a bit of speaking and help with miscellaneous community events.

Some of my primary focus areas are code quality, programming languages and using new technologies to provide value.

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