C# and VB.NET – A Comparison of .NET languages


C# and VB.NET – A Comparison of .NET languages

C# and VB.NET (Visual Basic .NET) are both implementations of Microsoft’s .NET platform, sharing many similarities as well as differences. While C# clearly dominates in usage across the industry, VB.NET maintains an avid following especially among long-time Visual Basic developers. This article comprehensively compares language syntax, capabilities, performance, interoperability, adoption trends, and more. By understanding the strengths of each language, .NET developers can make an informed choice based on their specific needs.

C# was introduced by Microsoft in 2000 as a natively object-oriented, type safe programming language derived from C and C++. It was designed specifically for .NET development. VB.NET made its debut in 2002 as an evolution of Microsoft’s Beginner’s All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code (BASIC), redesigned and optimized for .NET. This brought full object-oriented programming features to the language for the first time while retaining much of the readability of classic Visual Basic. Both languages have kept pace evolving year after year alongside steady improvements into the .NET platform itself.

Key Differences Between C# & VB.NET

Following are the key differences between

Syntax Comparison

As .NET languages compile down to Common Intermediate Language (CIL), C# and VB.NET inherently share similarities in their core constructs like types, objects, namespaces, conditional logic, loops, exception handling, etc. However, syntax for equivalent concepts varies significantly between the two languages:

C# Syntax Examples:

// Single line comment





// Namespace declaration

namespace MyApp


// Entry point method

public static void Main()


// Built-in type

int number = 10;

// Type safety checks

if (number is int)


Console.WriteLine($”Integer: {number}”);




// Class definition

public class Product


// Auto-implemented property

public int Id {get; set;}

// Method

public string GetInfo()


return $”Id = {Id}”;



VB.NET Syntax Examples:

‘ Single line comment”’

”’ Multi-line Comment


‘ Namespace declaration

Namespace MyApp

‘ Entry point method

Public Shared Sub Main()

‘ Built-in type

Dim number As Integer = 10

‘ Type safety check

If TypeOf number Is Integer Then

Console.WriteLine(“Integer: {0}”, number)

End If

End Sub

End Namespace

‘ Class definition

Public Class Product

‘ Auto-implemented property

Public Property Id As Integer

‘ Method

Public Function GetInfo() As String

Return $”Id = {Id}”

End Function

End Class

While the two syntaxes have similarities, VB.NET code tends be much more verbose requiring additional language elements like End statements. C# provides terser shortcuts appealing to those used to C-style languages. However, VB.NET reads akin to plain English helping new programmers get started.

Object-Oriented Programming

Both C# and VB.NET fully support object-oriented programming including features like:

  • Encapsulation via access modifiers – hide implementation details using access modifiers like public, private, protected, internal etc.

  • Inheritance – base and derive classes inheriting behavior and extending capabilities

  • Polymorphism – override base class functions to provide custom implementations

  • Interfaces and abstract classes

For example, both languages allow creating abstract base classes defining skeleton contracts for subclasses to flesh out:


Pu­blic abstract class Shape


public abstract double Area();


public class Circle : Shape


private double radius;

public override double Area()


return Math.PI * Math.Pow(radius, 2);




Public MustInherit Class Shape

Public MustOverride Function Area() As Double

End Class

Public Class Circle

Inherits Shape

Private radius As Double

Public Overrides Function Area() As Double

Return Math.PI * Math.Pow(radius, 2)

End Function

End Class

While object-oriented concepts look similar, VB.NET developers need to be mindful of declaring default properties with As rather than using C# auto-properties.

Functional Programming

Functional concepts like first-class/higher order functions, expression-bodied members and pattern matching gained first class support in C# long before VB.NET which lagged a bit – though the gap is closing with recent VB.NET improvements. Hire .NET developers to leverage the advantages offered by functional programming. Look at the example below to understand the concept in practical way.

For example, C# provides terse expression-bodied function members saving lines of code:

// Expression-bodied method

public double Calculate(double value) => Math.Round(value * 2, 2);

// Expression-bodied property

public DateTime LastUpdated { get; } = DateTime.Now;

VB.NET now offers this capability but with more verbosity:

‘ Expression bodied function

Public Function Calculate(ByVal value As Double) As Double

Return Math.Round(value * 2, 2)

End Function

‘ Read-only auto-property

Public ReadOnly Property LastUpdated As Date


Return Date.Now

End Get

End Property

C# also supports pattern matching constructs through `is` expressions, `switch` expressions and deconstruction:

// Type pattern matching

if (shape is Circle c)


// Use circle instance c


// Deconstructing assignment

var (name, age) = GetPersonData();

// Switch expression



case Circle c:

// Code here


// Omitting break uses fallthrough


Similar capabilities now exist in VB.NET but require extra verbiage:

‘ Type pattern matching

If TypeOf shape Is Circle Then

Dim c As Circle = DirectCast(shape, Circle)

‘ Use circle instance c

End If

‘ Deconstructing assignment

Dim name = GetPersonData().Name

Dim age = GetPersonData().Age

‘ Switch block instead of expression

Select Case shape

Case Circle

‘ Code here

Exit Select

Case Else

‘ Code here

End Select

C# definitely provides a terser, more expressive syntax for functional concepts compared to VB.NET. However, latest VB.NET releases are catching up.

Asynchronous Programming

Both C# and VB.NET make crafting asynchronous, non-blocking application logic simple through language-level constructs like async/await instead of convoluted callbacks or thread management.

Here’s fetching data from a web API asynchronously:


async Task<string> FetchDataAsync()


HttpClient client = new HttpClient();

string url = “https://jsonplaceholder.typicode.com/posts/1”;

var response = await client.GetAsync(url);

return await response.Content.ReadAsStringAsync();



Async Function FetchDataAsync() As Task(Of String)

Dim client = New HttpClient()

Dim url = “https://jsonplaceholder.typicode.com/posts/1”

Dim response = Await client.GetAsync(url)

Return Await response.Content.ReadAsStringAsync()

End Function

Both languages provide the same async programming capabilities with slightly different syntax. VB.NET uses an Async modifier compared to C#’s async keyword.

LINQ Support

A language-integrated query or LINQ allows querying objects in memory or data sources using an SQL-like pattern while abstracting away lower-level data access logic. Both C# and VB.NET provide equivalent support for LINQ over objects, databases, XML and more via similar query syntax.

Here’s filtering a list of products to return cheap books under $5:


var cheapBooks = products

.Where(p => p.Category == “Book” && p.Price < 5);


Dim cheapBooks = From p In products

Where p.Category = “Book” And p.Price < 5

So while LINQ capability is on par, VB.NET opts for familiar SQL-esque syntax rather than C#’s lambda expressions.

Interop and Native Code

For interoperating with native Win32 DLLs, both languages utilize P/Invoke declarations and DllImport attributes for mapping unmanaged APIs to the .NET type system.



public static extern bool ShowWindow(IntPtr hWnd, int nCmdShow);



Public Shared Function ShowWindow(hWnd As IntPtr, nCmdShow As Integer) As Boolean

End Function

Here the languages are identical in approach. VB.NET developers need to be aware of disabling features like Option Strict to allow late binding for interop scenarios. When it comes to incorporating existing native C++ code, C# allows embedding C++ directly using unsafe blocks and pointers for cases where interop overhead is undesirable:

unsafe {

int* p = (int*)0x0020;


VB.NET currently lacks this capability – requiring COM interop instead for native C++ code.

Performance Benchmarking

Given the similarity of CIL output, one might assume C# and VB.NET performance equals. However, micro benchmarks reveal C# consistently outperforms VB.NET code:

While native compilation reduces this gap, C# seems to have an edge over VB.NET especially for numeric, looping and recursion performance. This likely arises from compiler optimizations afforded by terser C# syntax. The differences are marginal for general business apps, but performance sensitive domains like games or algorithms warrant C#.

Ecosystem Comparison

In terms of community adoption among professional developers, C# dramatically outpaces VB.NET – by some estimates at a over 9:1 ratio. Most open source .NET libraries and frameworks target C# primarily. Third party tools, IDE plugins and diagnostics also focus on enhancing C# over VB.NET. This also contributes to C# dominating job postings for .NET roles. While VB.NET adoption keeps declining year over year, C# continues its meteoric rise.

However, VB.NET remains entrenched within the Microsoft ecosystem. Office VBA scripts can often be ported easily to VB.NET maintaining syntax familiarity. VB.NET is also prevalent on internal business apps where C++/VB6 maintainers transitioned existing systems incrementally. For reviving legacy VB6 desktop applications with modern .NET desktop capabilities, VB.NET is a natural fit retaining interface designer tooling. Microsoft Power Platform offerings like PowerApps and PowerBI also incorporate VB.NET syntax in their formulas for accessing data.

For open-source contributions or working at technology companies, C# undoubtedly opens more opportunities than VB.NET currently. However, VB.NET remains relevant within certain Microsoft-centric domains.

C#, VB.NET or Both?

Given the overlapping capabilities but different optimizations, should .NET developers focus on only C#, VB.NET or both languages? Here are some guidelines:

C# Only – Recommended for programmers from Java, JavaScript or C/C++ backgrounds given terser, C-style syntax. Also ideal for startups and open source projects given wider C# adoption.

VB.NET Only – Makes sense for VB6 or VBA developers maintaining existing projects and teams where retraining productivity matters. Also useful when Power Platform integration is a priority.

Both – Large enterprises supporting legacy VB systems plus new C# development benefit from developers fluent in both languages for maintenance or migration efforts. Ideal for consultants servicing diverse client needs.

For most typical business application development, choosing either language has no significant downside. However, ensuring team uniformity avoids unnecessary complexity when sharing code.


C# and VB.NET offer distinct options for .NET development. C# boasts concise syntax and popularity, while VB.NET is beginner-friendly. Choose strategically for your organization’s needs. Consider to hire dedicated developers to leverage their expertise and ensure seamless integration with your chosen language.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *