.NET author and Dr Dobbs columnist slams .NET’s goals and future

Richard Grimes, author of Developing Applications with Visual Studio .NET (Addison-Wesley, 2002), and regular .NET columnist in Dr Dobbs software development magazine, has recently decided to call it quits on his .NET column in the magazine, as he is disallusioned with the goals for .NET and it’s future.

In his parting article in his column he critizes Microsoft for releasing .NET too early, and for allowing the size of the framework to become overwhelming. He also critizes Microsoft for releasing a framework which he believes it’s purpose was more marketing than technical, to prolong the current use and encourage future use and development with the aging VB language.

This is a major stab in the back for Microsoft but it makes plenty of sense. Along the same lines, to cater for those VB and C++ MFC developers who were feeling tempted to check out the good things happening in the Java development world, Microsoft introduce their own Virtual Machine, the Common Language Runtime, and offer existing MS developers the promise that it doesn’t matter what language you develop with, you can use them all! Wow – what a marketing promise that is – remove the complexities and political barriers of selecting a language for a development project and allow a choice. Plus, and I think this is the ultimate marketing ploy, offer a new language, which has all the language syntax and features of Java, just slightly modified, and call it a different name, C#.

Grimes thinks that Microsoft is losing faith in it’s own marketing promises of .NET. Longhorn, the next major version of Windows was supposed to be based on the technological promises of .NET. However, major new features of the new platform are now either being stripped out completely (WinFS – the new file storage system to replace the DOS based legacy system will all still use today, including NTFS, which was pilfered from OS/2’s HPFS anyway), or are being extracted from the Longhorn release so they can be released earlier to offer to existing Windows’s users to keep the user base happy. Grimes main point is that Microsoft, as if we didn’t know it already, is more concerned with marketing, sales and market share than it is with technological innovation. The radical new changes (WinFS especially) that were to be part of the next new Windows are all dropping by the wayside in favor of sales and release dates. Anyway, when was the last time Microsoft was an innovator in anything? Why innovate if you can buy and plagiarize technologies from your competitors instead?

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