Letters to the Editor
A reader argues that an adventurous spirit actually benefits customers over the long run; another reader requests that VSM go with more practical articles.
Letters to Visual Studio Magazine are welcome. Letters must include your name, address, and daytime phone number to be considered for publication. Letters might be edited for form, fit, and style. Please send them to Letters to the Editor, c/o Visual Studio Magazine, 2600 El Camino Real, Suite 300, San Mateo, CA 94403; fax them to 650-570-6307; or e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Adventurous Spirit Benefits Customers
I'm a little late to the party, but I still wanted to drop you a line to congratulate you for publishing Rockford Lhotka's thoughtful take on development, "Software is Too Darn Hard" [Guest Opinion, VSM April 2006"].
I also wanted to add my two cents to the subject, of course.
It is true that we as developers spend too much time trying out the latest and greatest versions of technologies that are often overkill for a given project, sometimes choosing a technology for its wow factor over an available, highly proven approach. That said, this isn't always a bad thing.
I think the software industry is fueled by innovation, and the willingness of developers to try new things—even in the face of tried-and-true existing solutions. This is one of the reasons our industry has grown in importance so rapidly. Software developers pursue better ways to do things all the time, almost as a matter of course. Sometimes these new approaches aren't any better than the old way of doing things, sometimes they are merely different, and sometimes, yes, they are inherently better solutions that push the entire industry forward.
So, while individual projects might perform less well than tried-and-true solutions on occasion, it's not necessarily for the long-term good of our industry or of our customers for us to stick to the existing solutions in lieu of seeking out better solutions. You never know until you try, and it is software developers' determination and insistence on trying to find better ways to do things that makes this job so much fun, in many cases.
Los Angeles, CA
Stick to the Practical
I've just finished reading Roger Jennings October article, "Objectify Data With ADO.NET vNext" [VSM October 2006], and all I can say is, "Criminy! That is a dense article."
I think the article is dense with information—too dense, maybe—but the conclusion struck me as a little lackluster for an article that spanned so many pages. Wrote Roger: "But be forewarned; there's no guarantee that the EF, EDM, and even LINQ, won't suffer ObjectSpaces' fate before Orcas's release date."
I can appreciate the fact that Roger isn't being a shill for Microsoft technologies, which is laudable for an author and a magazine like VSM when so many articles these days amount to little more than advertisements, but I also couldn't help but wonder why he would spend so much time on an article, only to say, in effect: "I'm not sure if this is such a good idea, after all, and we'll see if Microsoft gets around to shipping it after all."
As a longtime reader, I would prefer to see VSM concentrate on delivering more practical articles, such as the article by Joel Champagne on "Matching by Exception" [Database Design, VSM October 2006]. This article appeared in the same issue, and is more representative of the kinds of articles I'd like to see your magazine concentrate on going forward.
Finally—and I think I might well speak for all your readers on this point—you need to make the magazine longer, and not just by introducing more ads. I doubt I'm alone in lamenting your former issues that featured 10-12 articles every single month, versus the three or four we receive today. Microsoft releases content at a fast and furious pace these days, and I, for one, want to see more magazines that tackle these subjects in a serious, committed, in-depth way. Three to four original articles per month is simply not enough to give people a well-rounded picture of the Visual Studio environment.