Microsoft's Flight to Simplicity
If you've been reading Andrew Brust's Redmond Review columns and Redmond Diary blog, you know that he's expressed concern about the complexity of the Microsoft development stack. Last month, Brust lauded the Microsoft effort to transform the Access 2010 database application into a development environment for SharePoint applications ("SharePoint is the New Access," July, 2010). And in a July blog entry ("WebMatrix, Razor and a Return to Simplicity"), Brust explored the new WebMatrix Web development environment and its roots in simple, ASP-like programming.
Both of these innovations seem to run counter to the Microsoft .NET Framework dogma. The database development tooling in Access 2010 for SharePoint sites came not from the Developer Division, but from the folks in the Office group. Likewise, the WebMatrix technology foregoes .NET Framework niceties like IntelliSense in favor of a no-frills experience tuned to building small Web sites and applications.
It's out-of-the-box thinking like this that signals that Microsoft still does, in fact, get it. Other examples include Redmond's adoption of open source projects like jQuery and commitment to ASP.NET Model-View-Controller. Microsoft seems determined to restore focus to productive developers, even as it competes in the enterprise.
Has Microsoft gone far enough? I'm sure a few Visual Basic 6 developers would argue to the contrary. But given the scope of Redmond's ambitions and the critical importance of enterprise-scale development, it's heartening to see Microsoft hew back to its roots. What do you think Microsoft should do to recapture the loyalty of individual developers and small dev shops? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Michael Desmond is an editor and writer for 1105 Media's Enterprise Computing Group.