Letters to Redmond
October Reader Letters: Apology Not Quite Accepted
Mary Jo Foley's August column, "Microsoft .NET Developers: Apology Accepted?" covered recent moves on Microsoft's part to appease .NET developers slighted by the company's focus on the Windows Runtime. "Redmond's developer team wants it officially known that Microsoft .NET languages are still very much part of the picture, as are desktop apps," she wrote. "So now the big question is: Apology accepted?" Redmond readers respond.
Mary Jo Foley's article really struck a chord with me, and the title completely echoed my feelings on the issue. It's unfortunate to see Microsoft is still going to lengths to avoid choosing a clear path forward.
My take? It's not an apology if you skirt fault while making no move toward fixing the problem! As a developer, I'm staying sharp in both technologies. Not because it's fun or easy (it's not), but because I don't want to be left in the lurch when Microsoft ultimately kills off one of those paths. With my luck, it'd be the one I chose.
I have a hard time accepting an apology when they dumped Visual Basic for DOS on me. Seriously, I was a little miffed when I devoted a large amount of brain share to Silverlight. I came up on deck and noticed that the entire Microsoft crew had abandoned ship. I was loyal since Visual Basic 1 (and, yes, Visual Basic for DOS), and switched to C#, but now I'm not so sure about .NET given where Microsoft is with Windows 8 and the roadmap.
I'm a Visual Basic .NET developer and all I can see is Microsoft ditching us in favor of HTML5. Thanks a bunch, Microsoft. After the stupidity of Windows 8, what else could Redmond do to destroy its user base? For productivity the desktop is king and Windows 8 should be consigned to the mobile OS and kept away from productivity users forever.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Does Microsoft think we've so soon forgotten the contemptuous debacle it referred to as the "Silverlight Fire-Starter"? Short of Scott Guthrie being given full control over the Developer Division, Redmond's credibility within the developer community and the enterprise are damaged beyond repair. The Windows Runtime is a failure, Surface RT a failure and Windows 8 is, overall, of little interest to consumers and of no interest to the enterprise.
For those of us responsible for guiding corporate investments in development technologies -- those of us treated with contempt despite millions of dollars and man-hours invested in Silverlight -- what are we to conclude? Redmond's credibility was needlessly crucified all for the sake of a consumer/mobile play that's been a massive failure, just as predicted. Worse yet, no one is coming forward to acknowledge the damage done, and no one is coming forward to reestablish a vision of the future worthy of confidence, restored faith and continued investment in the Microsoft platform. In short, nothing at all is being done for .NET devs -- certainly nothing brought forth at the Build conference qualifies.
Count me among those who still believe Scott Guthrie could, should and must reemerge from Windows Azure exile as perhaps the one last individual capable of turning things around. Short of that, it's just simply over.
"The not-so-secret fact is most of the Windows Store apps that have been built to date were built with C#."
The other thing I was told was the direction of the two groups, WinJS and XAML, is starting to split. The WinJS guys are trying to target developers who want to build unique, branded experiences, and the XAML guys are targeting businesses and developers trying to build more standard applications that follow the Microsoft guidance and development templates.
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