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Where do you see .Net today?

Robert has an interesting post on the delay of PDC (that Craig also wrote about) but I think he nailed the reason - nothing to show. I usually hate to pull direct quotes from a post but I need to put it into its right context.

Key thoughts: "After all, if Microsoft is unwilling to use
it (.Net) to develop Windows or Office, why should the rest of us base our
life on it?

... .NET
still takes too long to startup and load into memory and because
Windows is now being compared to OSX they can’t afford to ship
components that would slow down Windows.

... yes, .... the .NET runtimes
ship with Vista. But almost no Vista code was written in .NET (if any,
actually). Microsoft tries to keep this secret because they know it
gives a black eye to .NET. "

Let me be straight: I like the promise of .Net - I'm as excited by it as I am about the next version of Visual Studio! I love what Silverlight promises - I think WPF can be awesome - and I know that the next generation of applications will truly stand things on end.

The only issue? When does the next generation arrive?

And by arrive, I mean, hit the point where companies aren't hedging on to use DotNet 1.1 or DotNet 2.0 (er, 3.0), where developers aren't waiting for "the next generation" to design their next app or waiting for a service pack before they can release.

Yes - there are always going to be next-gen platforms coming around the bend - but lately it seems as though we're getting too many "previews" and not enough "releases". While many developers talk enthusiastically about Vista, I'm not hearing that from the users, which is too bad. They are waiting for SP1. I recall when we used to get a .0 product and waited for the .1 version which usually came out fairly quickly afterwards but now things are in Service Pack mode, which typically takes a larger development cycle - it's worth it, but it just takes longer.

I've started to see a few (previously Microsoft fan) developers start looking at alternative approaches for things that used to be a slam-dunk for Microsoft (source control, server databases, application platforms, designers). Their recent divorce from FoxPro isn't going to give them a lot of fans in that community either. And trying to move over to DotNet, when it seems to be constantly changing (even for the better, but just not there yet), may not be frustrating to early adopters, but it sure is for those in the field.

My recent post about how to reach out to developers brought an interesting response by Hank Fay (sp) who suggested many developers (in the field) don't care to be reached - they just want to get the job done. Development jobs that need to be done quickly but with a stable platform.

I know it's there - somewhere - but the "next new thing" for applications hasn't struck a chord yet that I've seen (maybe I'm reading the wrong things, but if I am, that means the message isn't reaching where it should) .

Instead of showcasing the "previews", maybe some time should be spent showcasing the successes of these current tools. Now, that would make for an interesting PDC.

Microsoft postpones PDC « Scobleizer

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Hank Fay said…
Make that Fay instead of Fey and you'll have it just right. <s>
The other platforms, and we're really only talking about Java as a .Net-level competitor, are constantly changing as well. Every new Java version is the one that is promised to get it right. (Yes, I know about Python and Dabo, I think it's great, and let me know when the widgets catch up to VFP standards, nevermind .Net 3rd-party standards.)

To turn my previous comment around: a platform can be considered ready for real work when developers have no need to be reached, or to reach out, in order to do their jobs. That was the case with FoxPro: the area of greatest activity in the community was when the product was unfinished, and workarounds had to be created in order to do one's job. Having a FoxTalk subscription wasn't a luxury, it was a necessity, at a time when, e.g., executing code within a prg being edited wasn't part of the IDE (the subject of a FoxTalk article back then).

I can't see .Net reaching that practical standard for completeness and stability in less than 2 releases. And given the propagation delay that occurs after a release, we have a minimum of 5 years before .Net is likely to be ready for everyday use. Like FoxPro in the early days of the 90's, real work will be able to be done with it, but at a price in developer efficiency and effectiveness.
Game Geek said…
Yes, it would be great to see the success of these current tools, but that's not the focus of the PDC...that's what TechEd is for. The PDC traditionally is forward looking, two years out. TechEd is focused on current tools and things you do today.

While many have said that Microsoft has nothing to show, I thing it has much to do with what I said in my blog...Steve Sinofsky doesn't want things to get out until he's ready for them to be shown and I think the columnists, Mary Jo, Scoble, and others, missed this point entirely.
Andrew MacNeill said…
Good point Craig about Sinofsky but I still think they have enough to show at a PDC.

Silverlight is in "alpha", isn't it? Yet they are offering a "Go Live" license with it - so why not use PDC as a showcase for that "new" technology?

Likewise with Orca -

I spoke at one of the PDCs when MS was out there promoting IE 5 (I think - we were talking about Dynamic HTML for the first time) so I realize it's a showcase for future stuff - but there's enough new stuff to go around, in my opinion.

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