A reader learns about the sale of VSM and its parent company and seeks clarification of the magazine's future direction.
>Whether and Whither VSM?
I read with great interest the recent announcement that FTP had been purchased by 1105 Media.
I've read VSM for many years, and I remember the days fondly when it was called Visual Basic Programmer's Journal, in that far away time before the advent of .NET. Like many, I've been disappointed by the diminishing size of the magazine, but the magazine continues to hold a special place in my heart, if only because it has provided so many articles through the years that have made my job easier. Once upon a time, my co-worker and I submitted a tip, which was published in your special tips supplement. I've also had the pleasure of meeting both the magazine's founder, Jim Fawcette, and its editor in chief, Patrick Meader, at FTP's conferences, on a couple occasions. That sense of community that the magazine built up is a big part of why I continue to read the magazine, despite its diminishing page counts. Almost as bad, the delivery of the magazine has been highly inconsistent. I've gotten many of my issues months late, to the point where I'm uncertain if I've gotten all my issues.
Those complaints aside, I've learned a lot reading VSM, so I'm filled with concern on several levels.
My first concern is based on a simple question: Will the magazine continue? And, if it does continue, what will the new ownership mean for the magazine in terms of content?
My sincerest hope is that the magazine's new owner will be able turn the magazine around and restore some of its lost heft. Maybe a 140 page magazine with a dozen how-to articles isn't realistic anymore—I will hope it is, anyway—but the magazine would benefit a lot from any increase in the number of pages, as well as in the number of how-to articles you run in it. At a minimum, I'd like to see two or three more original articles per issue.
Best of luck to VSM magazine and to its new owners. You have a lot to live up to. I, for one, hope you do.
Thank you for your remarks. We are glad that you have stuck with us through the leaner times at the magazine, and we hope to make your loyalty to the magazine pay strong dividends in the coming months. As to your concerns, we want to reassure you that the magazine will continue to operate, and that it will continue to feature practical how-to articles and tips. We, like you, would like to see a return to larger page counts and heftier issues, but first things first: The most important consideration is providing you with a great magazine. To that end, we will review all aspects of how we create the magazine, with an eye toward making a good thing even better. I think you will be pleased by the changes we have in mind for the magazine.–Eds.
Thanks for an informative interview with the ASP.NET guru, Scott Guthrie [Interview Exclusive: Scott Guthrie, "The Rich Web Experience—And Beyond," VSM December 2006].
Perhaps what I liked best about the interview is that VSM asked some difficult questions, which Scott responded to with aplomb. I thought it was great that VSM asked Scott whether it was a mistake to create a new data binding model relative to Windows Forms. I have often questioned the same myself.
I don't necessarily agree with Scott's answer to the question, but the answer he gave did provide some insight into why Microsoft took the approach it did with this technology.
Keep up the good work.