State of .NET Development

By the time you read this issue, Visual Studio .NET will have been on the market for almost a year and a half. For some of us it seems longer because of the long VS .NET beta cycle. To me, it’s amazing how far we have come in such a short time. When I began developing .NET applications for production, I was impressed at how much content there was online in such as short amount of time. The body of knowledge surrounding VS .NET is astounding when you think about the age of the product. This leads me to what I wish to talk about.

Last week I was in a heated e-mail discussion about the state of VS .NET vs. other more “mature” technologies. This discussion was centered on the immaturity of the .NET platform and the infrastructure surrounding it. As you can imagine, I came down on the side that developing applications in .NET is perfectly fine and that the market is more mature than this person might think. He came down on the opposite side. I am going to highlight some of the points he made and show where I differed in opinion.

Point 1: VS .NET Suffers from a Lack of Information
My friend pointed out that there is a lack of information on some of the following aspects of .NET development: reliability, scalability, best practices, frameworks, development guidelines, deployment, and versioning.

I found this statement to be made on bad or outdated information. There is a ton of information available on many of these items. For what it’s worth, I pointed out a number of Web sites that contain information on just these subjects. Some of them are:

www.dotnetjunkies.com

www.angrycoder.com

www.aspalliance.com

www.gotdotnet.com

www.microsoft.com/resources/practices

www.code-magazine.com (of course)

…and many others

These sites contain numerous papers, samples, and forums that discuss each of the matters described above.

Point 2: Lack of Frameworks for .NET
As I write this, I know of a couple of frameworks/toolsets available for .NET developers. Check out the www.oakleafsd.com and www.deklarit.com for some examples of frameworks and toolsets. I am sure there are more but space is limited here.

Point 3: Lack of Development Standards and Best Practices
This item I find strange. From .NET’s inception there have been a number of proposed development standards and best practices. One tool I know of called fxCop (available at http://www.gotdotnet.com/team/fxcop/), will analyze your .NET code and make recommendations based on .NET development standards. There are also a number of books, Web sites, and white papers available on many of these subjects.

Point 4: .NET as a Silver Bullet
Face it?.NET is a fun and productive environment to work in. This creates enthusiasm, which to some feels like “Silver Bullet Syndrome.” Is .NET the answer to all development problems? Absolutely not. Does .NET solve many problems that developers face in today’s development environment? Absolutely. .NET addresses the multiplatform development problems (desktop, Web, and mobile devices) that developers are currently challenged with. It does this with a comprehensive, cohesive, and consistent development experience.

Point 5: The .NET Press Is Intellectually Dishonest
As a journalist, developer, speaker, and book author, I find this comment almost offensive. I know that in this publication we have published columns on some of the “warts” of .NET development.

In order to provide a more rounded view of the .NET world, we have added some new writers to CoDe Magazine, and I’m happy to welcome them on board: Ken Getz, Nick Landry, and Jonathan Goodyear. Ken is a very well-known writer/instructor, and I’m sure you’ll start reading CoDe Magazine from the back of the issue to read what he’s going to say next. Nick has been a conference regular speaking on mobile development for years and mobile development is a topic we’ll cover more regularly for a while. Jonathan (the angryCoder) is a well-know pundit. If you have read any of Jonathan’s writings on www.angrycoder.com, you know that he doesn’t always agree with the party line. As a .NET publication, we remain committed to showing you how to use these technologies in your everyday development.

As you can see, I don’t necessarily agree with my opponents points. I don’t know if I ever convinced him or not. But being a magazine editor with 35,000+ readers has its advantages when it comes to the last word.

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