VL (Visual Language) is the programming language. As a visual language it needs the use of an IDE to be used efficiently. The VL integration in vvvv beta and vvvv gamma provide the same visual IDE for authoring VL programs.
Most likely not, there is no backwards compatibility or copy pasting between beta and VL even for overlapping nodes. And it’s unlikely there will be as even some of standard nodes have slight differences, there’s the whole concept types and there are major structural differences such as spreads being handled using loops.
And the Stride nodeset may have some overlap with the DX11 nodes we all know and love, such as primitives and maybe some texture filters. But it’s designed from the ground up based on a significantly different and platform-independent backend with a built-in entity-component support. So while concepts may translate the nodes themselves will likely differ significantly in many parts.
Beta is in a mature state having been used in countless installations and is still very powerful, especially when you can use VL on demand to handle more complex logic. But the core architecture of beta was created a long time ago and will never support some of the cases vvvv gamma is tackling, such as multi-platform and executable export.
Beta will be maintained in the foreseeable future and will profit from VL developments. But the more exciting new things will likely come in gamma.
If you need what only beta is offering at the moment, the best way is to learn that first and then continue onto gamma. There are some key similarities so it won’t be like learning two entirely different things, even though there also are differences.
If you are not in a rush and want to only focus on one, then yes, go for gamma and the most important missing features will slowly arrive, such as the mentioned Stride integration, expected sometime before the NODE20 in October.
Yes, indeed. Patches and other beta contributions are not compatible as is with gamma. That said, some plugins have a considerable part written in C# and then only thin wrappers for beta. The C# code could be reused with new gamma wrappers or used directly in gamma to make these compatible.
Also, even if not in super tidy nodesets, you already have access to a great ocean of functionality in the form of nugets (https://nuget.org/), many of which are directly compatible with gamma.
Learning Stride as the game engine itself and its editor will certainly help you prepare for the future coming with VL.Stride.
It will be possible to use it purely in gamma in a similar way to current DX11 but also in conjunction with scenes created using the Stride editor, which will allow you to visually build up complex 3D scenes, with prefabs and all, and then infuse them with VL logic in gamma.