Letters

Readers respond to Kathleen Dollard's Guest Opinion that asserted no developer can remain competent given the rate of change in developer tools and technologies.

Is Rate of Change a Microsoft Issue?
I agree 100 percent with Kathleen Dollard's article, "Pace of Change Leaves No One Competent" [Guest Opinion, VSM May 2007]. I am trying to be a one-programmer shop, and I work many more hours than I ever did while working for someone else. I consider myself to be a good programmer—I have more than 15 years experience—but I still feel unhappy about the results.

It makes me wonder: Do I feel this way because Visual Studio developers operate in the Microsoft world? I have looked a little bit into Ruby on Rails (just to explore), and it looks well put together. By that, I mean the creators behind it made a conscientious decision to try to reduce the sheer number of technologies, tools, and components, and it appears on the surface that they were successful to me. I especially like the ease of data access, AJAX, the emphasis on formalizing the project structure, built-in testing, debugging, logging, and so on.

It appears to me that you can be in that environment and not feel the need to acquire any additional tools or components for some time. Basically, it looks like Ruby on Rails has specialized for people building dynamic, database driven Web sites. This is in distinct contrast to Microsoft, which appears to be a platform intended for everyone and everything, without necessarily providing the particular focus I'm looking for.

I'm curious how other Visual Studio readers feel.

Cihan Karasinir
received by e-mail

Outsourcing Root of Many Issues
I agree completely with Kathleen Dollard's article, "Pace of Change Leaves No One Competent" [Guest Opinion, VSM May 2007]. However, there is one factor at play that Kathleen's article didn't address: outsourcing. Some outsourcing firms will code anything just to "make the dates" of projects. Much of the code isn't structured, doesn't follow standards, and many have meaningless code added just to try out the latest thing.

I have seen hundreds of resumes from outsource developers who claim to be .NET coders, but they flounder when you ask them specific questions. Yet companies hire them anyway because they are cheap; (remember, you get what you pay for). This trend will catch up with such companies when the poorly written code starts to break down and gets harder to maintain. I am sure everyone has heard it all before, but the process of outsourcing is slowly having a significant detrimental effect on the U.S. in general and on development, specifically. It's only a matter of time before it comes back and bites us in the ass.

Bob Davis
received by e-mail

Correction
VSM omitted a significant change to the conclusion of the May 2007 Programming Techniques column on extension methods, "Beautify Your Code With Extensions." You can find the corrected version of the article here VSM regrets the error.

Correction
In the print version of the Readers Choice Awards/Buyers Guide special issue, VSM listed the winning products' names for a pair of its categories incorrectly. First, the winner for UI Components—Web Forms is WebChart for ASP.NET from ComponentArt. Second, the winner of the Grid Components—Web Forms category is Grid for ASP.NET from ComponentArt. VSM regrets the error.

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