Kirk Evans Blog

.NET From a Markup Perspective

Nokia gets Metrowerks: There’s more to providing solutions.

Nokia and Metrowerks Agree on Transfer of Application Development Technology to Nokia.  A friend of mine pointed this out to me today, asking how this plays against Microsoft’s SmartPhone and PocketPC Phone strategy. 

I am not a strategy insider or anything, but this one seems pretty clear:  this is not so much about the phone strategy as it is the strategy for providing developers with the tools they need.  Look at the support in Whidbey for mobile devices and then see how this compares to what Metrowerks offers for Symbian.  Like CodeTEST, Whidbey includes unit testing and code coverage analysis.  But picture the rest of Whidbey: you aren’t limited to developing mobile applications, you are able to create ASP.NET and Windows Forms UIs, smart clients using Visual Studio Tools for Office, and a host of other new project types in Whidbey.  And let’s not forget the team development support found in Visual Studio Team System.

Sure, it’s interesting that Nokia just invested in code coverage tools, and interesting that they are making an investment for the Symbian OS.  Now look at the bigger picture:  your organization is developing software that solves business problems, and those problems span much more than your ability to develop for a handheld device.  You need to provide alternate system interfaces for other types of client access, such as web page UIs or smart clients.  You need to integrate with your business intelligence capabilities and provide new means of extrapolating data using the tools you already own, like Office.  Security needs to be accounted for across multiple systems in the enterprise, and you need a strategy for defining and controlling business processes.  Your data storage solution should integrate seamlessly throughout these products, and your solution should not cause you to create an overly complex development environment consisting of many disparate utilities to attempt to manage the process.

Your development strategy should be so much deeper than a glancing consideration of your ability to perform code coverage for an application targeted to a mobile device. 

It turns out that my friend has only a passing familiarity with Microsoft developer tools.  Let’s see if I can make him a quick believer.