VSM Ballyhoos Boondoggles

A reader claims .NET is one of Microsoft's biggest wastes, as made evident by the fact that a new version is released often in an attempt to make it more palatable to VB6 developers.

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VSM Ballyhoos Boondoggles
I have been a subscriber to VSM for many years now and have noticed a big push recently to make the readership use the latest and greatest version of Visual Studio .NET. In doing so, VSM has all but ignored the facts—.NET has proven to be another of Microsoft's great boondoggles, one that rivals the previously ballyhooed release of Microsoft Bob.

Microsoft has spent millions of dollars on .NET the way only Microsoft can. However, sales are not only down, they're in the floorboards.

The "why" of this is obvious to anyone willing to look at the facts. Microsoft .NET has taken programming a giant step backward in the evolution of application development. Until the release of .NET, it was obvious to me (and my peers) that the evolution of programming was leading rapidly to an environment where most of the programs would be created graphically by bolting together graphical representations of commonly used components. After all, how long can we continue to charge our customers to rewrite the same code to maintain sales or customer data in the database? But .NET coding is now much closer to C++ than anything else—definitely a step backwards because even seasoned C programmers have long complained at the over-complexity of C++. Obviously, the reason for this had much less to do with making programming tasks easier and more to do with the cost of creating a brand-new object-oriented development environment.

The upshot is that we now see a new .NET version every few months in an attempt to tweak it to be more palatable to the newly disloyal VB6 developers. VSM writers (who obviously get the latest Microsoft versions for free) use the latest version of .NET to create their sample applications. However, Microsoft in its greedy wisdom has made all code created with a new version incompatible with the older versions. Those of us who are attempting to find ways to use the poorly designed .NET environment too often find that we can no longer run the VSM sample code because we no longer have the latest version of .NET.

I, for one, have no interest in purchasing expensive new versions of .NET until I can prove for myself (by writing code) that it is a viable way to create workable applications. When possible, as it would be with the article "Enhance UI Performance in WinForms" [June 2004], it would be great if VSM could provide code that will run in older versions of .NET as well as in the latest Microsoft tweak. Maybe we developers can yet find a way to use .NET to make a profit.

Tom Nickelsen, Aliso Viejo, Calif.

Writers are responsible for procuring their own copy of VS.NET. It might be comped to them in some instances, but that's true for most development tools. The cost of the development tool is rarely the point on which using a particular development tool hinges, whether you develop for .NET or J2EE.

Calling All Heroes
I saw Patrick Meader's Editor's Note on the e-mail he received on the now-defunct Basic Heroes column ["Are You a .NET Hero?" September 2004]. I would like to contribute my encouragement to profiling real-world examples of what people are doing with .NET in interesting, non-commercial environments. I work in such an environment at The Writers Guild of America in Los Angeles and am developing new systems for residuals tracking and payment, dues, and account viewing by members over the Internet in Visual Studio .NET 2003; along with maintaining current internal VB6 applications. I would certainly enjoy and benefit from hearing of others' experience along the same lines. Let us hear a bit more of this idea.

Ted Bissell

About the Author

This story was written or compiled based on feedback from the readers of Visual Studio Magazine.

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