Adopting Silverlight. The real story – Part 1.


I’m going out on a limb here but this new idea of mine is to write a series of short blog posts on how a typical customer I’ve seen goes through the overall adoption phase of Silverlight. This is drawn from friends whom have adopted it through to past history I’ve personally had when building RIA’s (dating back to 2000, when RIA’s were DHTML apps). I’ve added some color to the first chapter to give it less of “corporate role guide” feel (hopefully anyway) so hopefully folks won’t take offense.

This first post is simply setting the scene so it’s a little wordy. The following posts here after will be a mix of story telling with show and tell both in code and visuals. Hopefully this will help folks going forward, if not it’s a nice creative outlet anyway.

Now to buy more lego…

Chapter 1 - Bloody Aussies…

He sits at the end of the table, listening to Macca pitch the vision of what the next version of the companies flagship product will look like. It’s the same pitch he’s always heard, as in the end it was him who first gave it to Macca but of course, Macca was always a better presenter so it made sense to let him do this one given the importance.

Our CIO,image Steve, however looks bored, probably because he’s an ass and doesn’t get what we’re doing anyway, to him it’s always about ROI, an acronym the guy seems to always throw around but rarely ever really follows through on. If he wants to be bored, so be it, he’s not the one we’re really pitching to anyway and I hope Macca keeps focus on Mike our Project Manager, as in the end that anal retentive bastard is the one I'm worried the most about.

Ah Good, Macca’s finishing up now, I love his usual And So Gentleman.. style closings, it’s usually like watching a Prosecutor bring home the case, only less tears and more boredom.

“So Gentleman there you have it, Silverlight is something we can use given it has no extra costs associated to it and we’re able to reach a wider audience than we have before, it’s simply a must have enhancement to our existing product line..” says Macca.

image Steve begins to lean forward forward and says: 

“Thank you Mr MacDonald, that was a very in-depth presentation on this idea. I’m going to cut to the chase and simply state that I agree, we do need to reach out to more customers with our products and I can’t see why Silverlight would cause issue, that being said however, it’s still a new technology. I’ve always found that new isn’t always good, so i think the smart money is we put together a basic prototype of what you’ve just outlined. If it’s going to have low impact on our existing workload, then it’s something we should take a serious look at. “

Steve then turns towards Macca and Mike and asks: “ I want you to work with Mike more closely on this one and I want  you Mike to keep an eye on the likely costs, as if we commit fully to this, I need to know what the ROI overall will be..”

Oh bloody hell, he had to work ROI in there again. Macca owes me $10 as I knew he’d say it. Macca, the optimist always seems to think Steve is smarter than he appears. Sucker..

I get up out of my chair and head over to where Macca is. I notice he’s packing up & fumbling around with cables again, boy this guy needs a wireless mouse I thought to myself.

I suppose I'll help him pack up, as I know he’s got that nervous look in his eyes again, usually happens when he and I finish a conversation with a friend of ours in Microsoft, Barnesy.

Barnesy has a habit of making things seems simpler than they are and he always manages to talk me into jumping into things feet first. He seems confident though with his product Silverlight, but still.. aussies can’t be trusted and especially Aussie Microsoftees.

“Nice work Macca, you have a Silver tongue my friend, I swear you could sell sand to a desert dweller…” I remarked to Macca.

image “Not true, hate Sand, always gets in places where it’s uncomfortable.” he responds. “Geez that Steve is a hard nut to crack isn’t he? that guy seems so preoccupied with ROI that i swear that’s all he says whenever you pitch ideas at him… Great work Mr MacDonald blah blah ROI.. it’s like its a nervous twitch of his or something.”

Macca stops unraveling the cables and looks at me with one of his usual I’m nervous expressions.

”Do you think we can pull this off though, I mean, Barnesy was good in his pitch to us around why Silverlight could be a good bet, but bloody aussies are always casual about risk, it has to do with them getting too much sun you see..” he asks.

I in turn give him one of my big goofy smiles.

“Yeah, it’s a solid enough bet, don’t worry to much about Silverlight, you read a lot of stupidity about it at times, but in the end our guys love .NET and we can ship with it. The next trick for us though is to convince Mike that he needs to spend money from the project budgets on a designer, as we’re going to need some eye candy to keep Steve happy” I respond.

I notice as Macca goes back to unraveling the cables, I think I may pass on the packing up help, as it appears he just made the knots worse.

“hmm..Mike will do the right thing, let me handle that. Just get your team started as soon as possible, as we need to get some proof of life out the door sooner rather than later. “ Macca remarks. “The budgets are almost spent this quarter so let’s steal some of that war chest while we can”

“On it..” I reply as if I knew that was what needed to be done. Best to act confident here, as Macca will want confidence now more than ever.

I then walk back to my area and head into Pugzys office. Pug’s got a mixed reputation in the team, as he’s a little immature in personality but damn is he a creative thinker when it comes down to it though. I might get him to brainstorm with me a little on what this application should look like.

“Pugyz, whatever you’re working on can wait. Let’s head down the cafeteria and get a coffee. I’ve got something you’re going to love working on but it’s going to be a little risky..”

image “Oh crap, the last time you came to me with this kind of thing we spent 5 months goofing around in Adobe Flex. I know it’s something to do with that kind of thing as whenever you and Barnesy get together, he always manages to convince you to try things differently to what we’re used to.” he groans.

“True that, but this is different, as I choose Flex last time and Barnesy warned me about it so I guess that ones on me. This time however, he’s got a good idea for us and best of all, no need to worry about learning a new language, so shut your pie whole and follow me.” I responded. “If you ever tell Barnesy Flex was my fault by the way, I’ll move you into the HR systems team and where you’ll be buried in Invoice Tracking software testing, so mums the word ok?”

“Yeah and I’ll tell HR you made advances at me should try hehe” Pugzy immaturely responds.

I laugh, damn me Pugzy has an answer for every argument.

As I walk down the fire escape staircase, I begin to wonder where I should start. In that, what’s the next step?

Damn you Barnesy, I just realized you didn’t put that in the bloody Silverlight brochure when we meet at Microsoft Corp. last week. I just realized he and I are suddenly going to have a lot more chats about this one as if I’m in this, he’s in it with me.

I sure hope Google’s got the results i need on starting a RIA, as this ones going to be interesting..

To be continued…

Comments (3)
  1. It seems that there are not a lot of fans for your literature.

    Maybe it’s too fictional (…we spent 5 months goofing around in Adobe Flex…, …Flex was my fault…). I guess readers these days prefer more realistic stories like ‘We went with Adobe Flex, why on earth would we switch to something inferior???’. Just kidding 🙂

  2. Garry Trinder says:

    It was actually drawn from a real world case in my past life, where i talked a few friends into adopting Flex in the early days and well it blew up in our faces …sometimes the bleeding edge is a little to bleeding 🙂


  3. Robert Blair says:

    Scott, I liked it.

    I got here looking for material for a Silverlight presentation/intro/internal sales job.

    The Aussie comments are funny. Your depiction generally seems pretty realistic to me as far as software development company culture goes.

    I’ve often thought vaguely about writing a murder mystery set in geeky IT culture, and I think the characters should sound/act something like your guys do …

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