Reminiscing 2008…

With the year almost coming to an end, I was looking back at some of the remarkable events this past year.  One of the fondest memories I have of this year, although with mixed feelings, is Bill Gate’s keynote and luncheon at TechEd This keynote marked Bill’s last public speech before he made the switch to focus more on his foundation.  I found it to be a very appropriate venue for him to finish on as he took a step back from the day to day Microsoft business.  He spoke to the audience that Microsoft was first created for – Developers.  As I have blogged about in the past, the luncheon that he hosted with a few community leaders that day was also very powerful in its messaging about the potential impact of technology and individuals partnering together to make an impact in advance of natural or other disasters.  


The mixed feelings come from the fact that I feel like I was a part of history here, but I am also saddened to witness a close to a great era. I am, of course, honored to continue the legacy of commitment to innovate and support the great work of the developer community and agree with Bill’s message that it is an exciting time to be a developer and there are many great things that lay ahead.


When I look at everything else that happened this year, I know that while Bill has moved on to new things, his presence and guidance are still felt as we move forward into the future.


As I walk down memory lane, here are some of the key things that stood out in my mind. 


Heroes Happen Here: In February we had a huge launch for Visual Studio 2008 and .NET Fx 3.5 along with Windows Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008.  These products were received amazingly well and it is great to see customers build amazing applications with these products.


Silverlight Powered the Olympics: To enable the Olympic Games to reach millions of people and enable hundreds of thousands to concurrently watch live events such as Michael’s swimming, NBC created an amazing site that was powered by Silverlight 2 Beta 2.  In the first four days of the Olympic Games, there were 13.5 million video streams, 16.9 million unique users, and 291.1 million page views.  To provide some context, in the entire Athens Olympic Games four years ago, there were only 2.2 million video streams launched.  Subsequent to the Olympics launch, we also shipped Silverlight 2 and Expression 2, the tooling for designers to support Silverlight and WPF applications.


DreamSpark and BizSpark: We announced Microsoft DreamSpark, a program which makes professional-level developer and design tools available to students around the world at no charge, to support and advance their learning and skills through technical design, technology, math, science and engineering activities.  This program equips tomorrow’s leaders with the professional tools to inspire and create today.  We also announced another program to help jumpstart startup businesses – Microsoft BizSpark.  These companies will get fast and easy access to current Microsoft full-featured development tools, platform technologies, and production licenses of server products that can be used for immediate use in developing and bringing to market their products with no upfront costs and minimal requirements.  Startups will also get access to the community technology preview (CTP) of the Microsoft Azure Services Platform.  They will receive professional technical support from Microsoft and community support from BizSpark Network Partners around the world. 


Windows Azure: At the PDC, we announced Windows Azure Services Platform as Microsoft’s new cloud computing and services platform hosted in Microsoft’s data centers.  We have a great set of tools with Visual Studio and the .NET Framework, and we want developers to be able to use them to build cloud applications. We did a preview of some of these tools available at PDC.

Foray into Parallel Computing: We established the Parallel Computing Initiative in 2007 which encompasses the vision, strategy, and innovative technologies for delivering natural and immersive personal computing experiences that harness the computing power of manycore architectures. This year, we announced our first big steps to deliver Parallel Computing technologies in Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 and the .NET Framework 4.0.  This will include programming models for concisely expressing concurrency, including new .NET Framework libraries such as the Task Parallel Library and Parallel LINQ as well as the Parallel Pattern Library and Concurrency Runtime for developing native applications with C++ that execute efficiently on parallel hardware and parallel profiling and debugging experiences.  This is all a part of the Emerging Trends pillar of Visual Studio 2010.


There are many interesting things I haven’t mentioned including the revealing of the Visual Studio 2010 and .NET Fx 4 pillars, launch of the DevLabs website, the combining of Team Dev and Team Data, Application Guidance, Visual C++ 2008 Feature Pack, and much more.


Have a happy holiday season and I wish you all a very happy new year! 



Comments (35)

  1. Tom Kirby-Green says:

    It has been an awesome year. As a developer I’m personally very happy that multi core has happened. Sometimes it’s good to have a disruptive force come in and shake things up. The business of software just got interesting again and as a developer I’ve been introduced by the likes of Brian Beckman et al to many wonderful technologies, patterns and methods that I would never otherwise have come across in my "single threaded, clock speed doubling, comfort zone". I’m looking forward to seeing how Microsoft tools up and educates around this. A tip of the hat to you and in particular Channel 9 for all your efforts in educating on the parallel issue. More of the same please. Bring on 2009, .NET 4, Windows 7 and VS 2KA!

  2. Christian S says:

    I’m really loving the direction Microsoft has been going in. The express editions, the openness … it’s all so sexy. Thanks for all of your hard work, and keep it up!

    I’ve you linked from my blog and will definitely be keeping an eye on upcoming posts.

    Thanks Soma!

    Christian S

    Subrift Software

  3. Ree says:

    Frankly, it has been a terrible year for MS since 2006. And it shows, because 3.5 footprint is not reduced, it is not kicking off and 2.0 bits are simply ignored.

    For Heaven’s Sake: fix the JITer to be more efficient, and GDI+ should be fully hardware accelerated and page-fault-less by now.

    Why not fix problems? And why keep creating new ones?

    The entire Windows footprint has to match that of thin Linux bits and it is not, not in cloud space, not in desktop space, not in HPC, not anywhere helping the complexity MS created for itself.


    Engineering and fixing things first and foremost..

  4. Mark Gordon says:

    Soma, it was some year all right.

    We saw the best development environments Microsoft ever produced, the 6.0 era, receive their end of life. The useless button bar menu system infected office. .NET bloat faster then Oprah at an all you can eat buffet. Microsoft released security updates for I.E. faster then wall street CEOS running for government bailout money. The only positive was the overwhelming rejection of Vista which was long overdue. If you call this a success I hate to see your failures. Wait I have Visual Studio.

    I cringe at the thought what next year holds.

  5. Sam says:

    The best things from Microsoft of this year (and may be 2007) in my opinion are:

    1. Silverlight 2.0/WPF improvements/Expression Blend

    2. Windows 7 and Azure at PDC

    3. Bizspark

    4. C# 3.5 features

    5. LINQ

    6. VS.NET 2008

    7. IE 8

    8. Windows HPC Server in top 25 servers list

    9. Charts in ASP.NET/Silverlight

    10. VS.NET 2010 previews from blogs at msdn

    Things that need work:

    1. Office 2007

    2. ADO.NET Entity Framework

    3. Silverlight’s independence from ASP.NET and its own security model for authentication/authorization

    4. More free training videos for developers

    5. More frequent updates to Live maps, Hotmail, Spaces, etc. (Google has amazing update frequency – Google maps adding amazing features)

  6. Dan says:

    Personally, with all due respect, I wish you were more frustrated with your companies development efforts over the past year(s). This would give us some indication you understand what the reality is. To date the reality of the development tools being offered has fallen considerably short of the hype and 2008 shouldn’t be considered a success by any means. There is still a lot of work that needs to be done and the direction you/Microsoft seem to be taking is opposite of what the development community needs.

  7. Uriel says:

    2008 is clearly a year to forget, Microsoft has grown into a lumbering bureaucracy that cannot react quickly to fix problems or innovate yet they make idiotic decisions with disastrous consequences.

    In key arenas like win mobile and Live, microsoft is trailing their competition. If Azure gets sucked into the live preception umbrella and basically is exclusive to the windows environment I don’t expect any major inroads to be made. Assuming Visual Studio and .NET are the foundation for these platforms there is an obvious problem if Microsoft can not use it’s own development tools to create innovative applications consumers want.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Yeah, I also don’t think that 2008 was that great a year. .NET 3.5, VS 2008, etc. seem all like to small steps, and not even in the right direction. We’re left at where we were before, waiting for the next Visual Studio which is supposed to solve all our problems (Intellisense in C++? ParallelFX in .NET? WPF?).

    Given the track record (VS 2002, 2003 except for the C++ Compiler, 2005, 2008), I’d rather hope that Microsoft really does magic this time, otherwise the days where I was developing mainly on Windows are counted. After all, Mono is adding nice SSE functions and easy to embed, GCC is getting C++0x quickly, LLVM is waiting around the corner, and the technology stack on Linux is getting mature instead of being rewritten every few years (MFC FP? WPF? WinForms? How many GUI Toolkits have you brought out in the last few years? Which one is going to be the one for future Windows versions? C/C++/C#, am I doomed if I start an application with C++ now, cause Windows N+1 might provide managed only APIs? On Linux, this is no question, go ahead with C/C++, same on Mac OS X)

  9. R.J says:

    >> am I doomed if I start an application with C++ now, cause Windows N+1 might provide managed only APIs

    This is my question too.

    Until 5 year ago we had almost everything we needed to develop an application appropriate for that days using MFC, but now 🙁 We are arguing about migrating from MFC to the Qt for our new projects. Just using VC IDE and compiler.

    Anyway, we aren’t sure about the future of the native development in windows too.

  10. Publicación del inglés original : Viernes, 19 de diciembre de 2008 20:34 PST por Somasegar Coincidiendo

  11. Shanmugasundaram L says:


    We are proud of you soma..keep doing great job

    Tamil Valzha!

  12. Anonymous says:


    We don’t use .NET in our applications either, why chain our application to winblows. A lack luster year is nothing for M$FT to be proud of!

  13. Tom says:

    completely disagree with you anonymous. definitely not a lack luster year. some amazing products were released in 2008: Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008, .net 3.5 enhancements and Silverlight 2.0

  14. Mark Gordon says:


    SQL Server 2008 – Microsoft has yet to screw this product up YET and are basically leaving the core of SQL Server alone, which is a good thing! The debugger still doesn’t work very well but the auditing and encryption features was a nice enhancement. (Yes I will give credit when credit is due) There is still major work to be done addressing the EDM issues with SQL Server which are more on the EDM side of things. The funny part is SQL’S indexing is based upon VFP’S rushmore technology which so many people on this blog call a legacy application! SQL Server is one of the few bright spots Microsoft has left. I do seriously really like this product.

    Silverlight is Microsoft bloated version of flash, the development tools lack integration into VS and like most Microsoft technologies the data access is horrifically bad.

    There is not room enough in this comment section to list all the .NET related issues. Having said that one of the biggest issues is as soon as you bring in the .BLOAT api wrappers into your application you lose cross platform development.

    Calling this year and the pass couple of years for that matter "Lack Luster" is probably the nicest way to put it. If the 6.0 era was the golden age of development tools then when are obviously in the "stone age" of software development.

    By the way wasn’t it cool when Ballmer Microsoft’s "cheerleader in chief" in Vegas basically said they are giving up on Vista. If he would have announced the same for VS and .NET then that indeed would be a great start to 2009, one can only hope!

  15. Sam says:

    @Mark Gordon: You are back into your stone age mode cheerleading! Tom, ignore his ignorance and ancient history outlook!

    Your comments on Silverlight are rather immature. Silverlight being a UI technology has very little to do with how you access data – its about presenting it. Its a designer’s tool. Use Expression Blend.  Silverlight is not a bloated version of Flash. Do your research before you make such foolish statements. Have you programmed a single website or application using Silverlight?

    You can’t ask for integration into VS for everything (although that’s ideal) and also be critical for bloating up VS.NET. Most of your arguements in comments to Soma’s blogs are ridiculous. The .NET community doesn’t give a damn about what Microsoft is using to develop .NET as long as its easy to use and works. So it doesn’t matter if there are VFP or C or Fortran instructions/technology in the background.

    Every technology has issues. Issues are part of computer science and science in general. Java has issues and C has issues running from several decades! The important point is that with every version things are getting better. If that wasn’t the case, then we wouldn’t see .NET being used or its developer base grow.

    As for Vista, the bad reputation its got is because of biased media/Apple and the initial hardware compatibility issues. The damage is done and  Microsoft has hopefully learnt lessons. In my personal experience Vista is far more superior to XP. Search is awesome and UI is superior. Never had a blue screen in 2 years. Windows 7 looks very good so far and I’m optimistic and looking forward.

  16. Mark Gordon says:

    @Sam – Doesn’t it bother you making excuses for incompentance. Why can’t we have integration and solid software especially given the amount of people working at Microsoft; Microsoft who, by the way, are supposed to be a leader in software development and technology. Why do we accept bugs as the status quo and just deal with it as a given?

    Have you ever heard of data driven websites? Static coding was back in the DOS era which I thought we moved past?  To a lot of developers not that familiar with true oop n-tier design patterns and the windows api this is cool stuff but to those that are is not all that exciting and in some regards a fairly significant step backwards. Webforms is a prime example given the lack of seperation between layers along with the class browsers inheritance issues and lack of ui control support. Even a legacy application (as some of you refer to is as) VFP’S class browser didn’t have these problems! What about all the business code just being stuffed into the UI by the VS wizards isn’t really nothing short of an embarassment.

    VS and .NET are only growing because they are the only Microsoft development tool left, there is not a competing development environment. Languages like VB and VFP should have been permitted to die a natuaral death due to VS being a "great" environment developers should have been flocking towards it. Instead after 8+ years of VS being around the VFP and VB development communities failed to embrace this "great" product. Therefore to gain acceptance Microsoft had to rip the rug out from under these active communities and issue the end of life. There are close to 100k names on the VB and VFP petitions if you disagree with this thought pattern… I don’t even recall a petition with the move from dos to visual studio 6.0 initally occured. Intriquing to think about….

    I find your apple comment the most interesting the original window 3.x package was very simliar to the mac gui (some even may consider it copied) moreover windows 7 looks like a hybrid between the current mac os and vista instead of some new revolutionary OS. While it is too early to tell what it is all about I don’t share your excitement. Furthermore if you have ever performed software development for a mac a simple thing like implementing a form and ui control doesn’t require 100’s of lines of XAML code to get the look and feel correct so why is the windows development community so accepting of having to write ascii xml files to set properities on a control, I don’t get what people are thinking…

    I’m not giving anyone a hard time about this I think we as developers deserve BETTER tools or at least equal to what we had in the past and as long as we are so in love with our Microsoft preference and continue to use whatever garbage they throw out there will be stuck forever using half implemented or poorly implemented technologies like WPF or MVC instead of demanding these products be finished to a point it doesn’t require a huge overhead of plumbing code to make them useful.

  17. Sam says:

    @Mark Gordon: And you think VFP and VB was the way to go?!!! And that these were the ideal and best "bug-free" products??! We do not accept bugs, but we being humans accidently or unknowningly introduce some in our work due to complexities and nature of this field called computer science. The important thing is reducing and eliminating these bugs with new versions of a piece of software.

    The wizards in VS.NET are for beginners and people who want to learn and create prototype applications. I personally do not use wizards and prefer to code. VFP applications were by no means scalable and maintaining those was another story. Petitions?! If these group of people think it was a beautiful product, why don’t you get together and organize a company that maintains these things instead of whining about it all day at these blogs. Its better to move on with time. Look at how complex software has become today. You can’t use a sling shot and rock to get your work done in today’s world.

    .NET and associated technology provides the necessary tools to write business, scientific and web apps today.

    Developing software for Mac is not so rosy as you claim. Can you name some development tools used to make Mac applications? What development have you done in Mac? In fact after reading your last paragraph, its pretty obvious that you have not written any complete production applications using WPF, WCF or Java or any of the latest technologies from open source recently. Hence you continue to remain in the past and seem to be content with the limited mindset.

    However, I do see a change in your langauge and thats a positive.

    Microsoft, like open source communities, Apple, Sun, and other technology companies out there are doing a decent job to improve their products and make our lives easier. Give credit where its due.

    You cannot expect perfect products from any company or society or group. Having said that, Microsoft should not give up on working smart (not hard) to deliver improved products.

  18. R.J says:

    @Sam: For your information the field you are talking about is not called computer science, it is called Software engineering.

    Computer science (or computing science) is the study of the theoretical foundations of information and computation.

    Software engineering is the application of a systematic, disciplined, quantifiable approach to the development, operation, and maintenance of software, and the study of these approaches.

    >> Developing software for Mac is not so rosy as you claim. Can you name some development tools used to make Mac applications?

    We use C++ and Qt to develop Mac applications and it’s really cool. Using all those open source c++ libraries around and Qt and it’s designer and also a text editor we have everything we need to develop a complete and cross-platform application. The only problem is the lack of integration in tool set but it’s almost nothing for experienced developers.

    Sam I agree with you that .NET and its associated technologies provides lots of tools to write applications and I appreciate it but inventing new technologies instead of fixing existing problems is not acceptable.

  19. Sam says:

    @R.J: Software engineering is part of computer science as whole. It abstracted it out. Thats the problem with Macs and other eco-systems, there is nothing as good as Visual Studio. Developing applications in windows is very pleasant and cool thanks to .NET and associated technologies for all kinds of developers – experienced and beginners.

    Fixing existing problems should never come in the way of innovation and creating new technologies. C++ is not the only programming language and while it has its domain for systems and hardware level software, developing business and web applications using C++ is absolutely a bad choice in general.

    XAML makes UI development very exciting and cool for Windows and the web. Hence in this regard, Microsoft has taken the right direction.

    Soma, I do agree with some other people here that we need a proper data access product. WCF, WPF, WF are good and improving with releases, but do you have plans for a WDF (Windows DataAccess Foundation)??

  20. Sam says:

    Typo in my previous comments – its "I abstracted it out"

  21. Mark Gordon says:

    @Sam In response to your comments:

    "And you think VFP and VB was the way to go" DEFINATELY YES especially for medium and small size markets. There was a substantial lower cost of ownership besides the fact VS and SQL Server is the WRONG solution for smaller applications it is overkill. VS and SQL Server has its niche but that is not one of them

    Scability: Linqtosql when used in the middle tier does not scale it basically runs sql code on the data server, it is a two tier solution moreover you have to write helper objects due to the data context which is really pathetic in N-TEIR scenarios given it is supposed to be a bleeding edge data access technology. If you throw .BLOAT into the equation use lose native application development. With VFP in the middle layer (despite having to use com) you could get VFP to scale nicely besides having a true data centric language to work with to build middle tier components and with the exception of the Microsoft License Agreement VFP was fully cross platform. With all due respect, obviously you have never used VFP since you have no idea what you are talking about when you discuss maintainability and your comments are not worthy of a reply.

    It is my understanding, and don’t hold me to it, Microsoft has no interest in selling VFP or releasing it into open source as requested by the VFP community due to trade secrets they don’t want revealed.

    You stated "The wizards in VS.NET are for beginners and people who want to learn and create prototype applications". I would be very curious what type of company you work for and your duties. If you worked in the field fixing VS applications and actually saw the types of VS application being deployed it is scary just how much of this bad "WIZARD" code is infecting these applications. In more case then not VS application are maintenance nightmares which are good because I get paid for fixing them but that is beside the point. Worse yet companies are jumbling technologies together and mixing WPF, Winforms etc  with no "real" application benefit. I’m yet to run into a single application with a "solid" UI layer to their application with subclassed controls as an example probably to due to bugs/limitations in the VS class browser.

    ".NET and associated technology provides the necessary tools to write business, scientific and web apps today." True but with how much code and only by locking yourself into the windows monopoly sorry I meant API wrappers. Stuff I would expect even something simple like a native import and export to office should be buried somewhere in all that bloat yet it has to be coded out by hand and the dataset XML export has problems with older versions of office. I don’t get what they are thinking.

    No I’m not a MAC developer a colleague of mine is and just purchased a new one. Of course he was showing it off. The themed UI he was able to create was very impressive. Even more noteworthy was the minimal amount of code required to pull this off. To think we have to edit XMAL in WPF is almost laughable in comparison. Check it out it is indeed an eye opening experience.

    I get the impression a lot of people on here somehow equate the number of lines of c# code they write or the complexity of their code makes them a "good" programmer. That is ridiculous. What makes a good programmer is maintainability of their application, productivity and the quality of solution they deliver to their client. For better or (in soma’s case worse) I’m stuck in the Microsoft environment. I’m too old and too close to retirement to change platforms. That doesn’t mean I have to be happy about my productivity loss and financial loss for the matter I incurred and continue to incur, when VS and .NET became Microsoft’s only development platform. If everyone simply cheerleads and pats soma on the back for these technologies, that is doing the Microsoft development community a disservice. Maybe I’m too over the top but I’m freakin frustrated!

    Granted these technologies "may" have a lot of "potential" but are so disjointed, lack compatibility (MVC and existing ASP sites are a prime example) and poorly implemented that they require ridiculous amounts of "glue" that have nothing to do with our applications to implement. Moreover all the plumbing code to implement data access is stupid when Microsoft own the source code to VFP which worked very well and they are too flippin arrogant to implement it and keep trying to reinventing the wheel. This VS .BLOAT environment is adversely affecting our productivity instead of increasing it. Notwithstanding the shear volumes of bugs we have to deal with only to find some nonsensical workaround on GU’S blog being spun as a features is very frustrating. Prior to being forced solely into VS .bloat, life was good I did my job and never complained and actually was a MS cheerleader, Microsoft gave me the tools to do my job…. Too bad that is no longer the case!

  22. Saurabh says:

    Having worked on Perl on Unix, VB and C# with ASP.NET 1.x, 2.0 and 3.5 on Windows, I can say that things are getting progressively better with each release. VB is more of a scripting type language with object oriented features built into it as a kind of after thought. Visual Fox Pro – which I thankfully only worked on during my sophomore year at college, now seems to be a prehistoric language, that I frankly wouldn’t want to see again. The only reason why I feel people might still want to stick with VB or VFP is, well – nostalgia! (and NOT beacuse its better, becoz it just ain’t – and thats the plain truth whether you want to admit it or not…) But you know what u gotta keep changing with the times – thats how software is – it keeps evolving, you can’t get stuck up with VFP! (good heavens!)

    So chill man or even better, if you really want to make a difference – join Microsoft and make them change gears! 😉

  23. Saurabh says:

    @ Mark Gordon’s Comments

    Having worked on Perl on Unix, VB and C# with ASP.NET 1.x, 2.0 and 3.5 on Windows, I can say that things are getting progressively better with each release. VB is more of a scripting type language with object oriented features built into it as a kind of after thought. Visual Fox Pro – which I thankfully only worked on during my sophomore year at college, now seems to be a prehistoric language, that I frankly wouldn’t want to see again. The only reason why I feel people might still want to stick with VB or VFP is, well – nostalgia! (and NOT beacuse its better, becoz it just ain’t – and thats the plain truth whether you want to admit it or not…) But you know what u gotta keep changing with the times – thats how software is – it keeps evolving, you can’t get stuck up with VFP! (good heavens!)

    So chill man or even better, if you really want to make a difference – join Microsoft and make them change gears! 😉

  24. Sam says:

    @Mark Gordon: I think I finally understand the problem as stated by yourself: "I’m too old and too close to retirement to change platforms."

    This is nothing to do with .net and – its your problem and unfortunately you can’t deal with it. You are cursing new technology because you don’t get it. Otherwise you’d never compare VB and VFP with .net and the capabilities and ease of use and power that it offers. Obviously you are stuck with you limited mindset and refuse to explore and learn new ways of developing software. Even your recent comments demonstrate fear and inability to understand reasons why things are done in the way they are today. Take some classes man! Let go off ego and learn… being a student rather than cursing is a better approach to life.

    VS doesn’t affect productivity in any negative way when it comes to developing n-tier or client/server or layered architecture. Nor does XAML. Infact, UI development has never been so rich and beautiful. I, like 4 million+ other .net developers use .net everyday to deliver complex business solutions, write cool UI, and do our work with great productivity and with sense of pleasure. We are optimistic and happy with new technology and with work Scott Guthrie, Soma and others put in at Microsoft. There is no cheerleading here, just a good feeling for the good work that Microsoft is doing for developers. Unfortunately they can’t please everyone – you are one of them.

    Next time, please don’t make accusations and state ridiculous statements without backing up your claims  just because you can’t keep pace with technology.

  25. Sam says:

    LINQ to SQL is not supposed to be used in the middle tier. You should use it in the Data Access Layer. It generates SQL that runs against the database to get data. Now, if you don’t do your study before you dive into something, whose fault is it to get things messed up? Things like optimistic concurrency, deferred execution are important concepts before you mess around with LINQ to SQL. Helper classes are generated for LINQ to SQL to make your life easier Mr. Gordon. These are just mappings of your tables in the database so can refer to them as strongly typed entities. What is wrong with that? Its an object oriented approach. For more complex scenarios you can always write stored procedures and use LINQ to SQL against those. Even better, try other ORM technologies like Entity Framework or Hibernate or whatever you feel is better for your application based on requirements. Windows or .NET does not limit your choices to LINQ to SQL!

    LINQ is not limited to a role of LINQ to SQL. You can use it for data transformation, with XML, to write your business logic with collection of objects. Why do you see LINQ to SQL as the only purpose for LINQ?

    Obviously, you have not seen the power of XAML and WPF and hence your pre-mature statements about these things are obvious. Themed UIs in Mac are for Mac. You have more choice for Windows and its much easier to write XAML to do UI development for Silverlight (web) and WPF (Windows). Why should I as developer have to learn Action script, Flex and other scripting languages to do a simple piece of rich web application when the job can be done with XML-based technique and .net? XAML is very easy to learn and use and it is powerful. Combined with .NET, it enables me to do amazing things which would take years to program in C/C++ or any other earlier languages. I understand some of the ease of use and abstraction to do things in XAML leads to performance loss, but this is hardly noticeable if you do things properly. With hardware improving everyday, this is not a show stopper. You have to think forward and not backwards or be stuck. Do you ever complain to car manufacturing companies – my old model was perfect for me, stop making newer models and bring back the old ones? With advancement of technology, hardware, and approaches to do things, you will always see new cars with complex features which could be over-whelming for some.

    In fact, with improvements to .net for applications developers, there is reduced line of code for complex tasks today.

  26. Mark Gordon says:

    @Sam, It is obvious you have never ported a VFP application to VS if you have, you would be more then aware of the "enormous" amount of extra code VS requires for the migration to duplicate the app. Many of the "native" capabilities of VFP requires a substainial amount of C# code to implement because c# or VB.NET for that matter are not command/function based languages moreover VS pathetically lacks a data centric language. Numerous MVPS have blogged about this, it is nothing new. I’m not even going to waste my time with the rest of your post nor am I justifing my experience to you. You hold very strong opinions based on cheerleading not fact.

  27. Sam says:

    Converting a Ford to BMW would have the same problem you mentioned in your post. But why would you do that? You’ll spend less time re-writing or creating a new application for .net and save your self a lot of time and be happier in life.

    I did no cheerleading, in fact you do that in all your post for VPF. I stated facts above for which you have nothing to say obviously because you don’t write apps in today’s technology.

  28. Mark Gordon says:

    @Sam I started using VS since 6.0 and the .NET wrappers since 2.0. I get paid to straighten out the mess other VS developers leave behind with this "great" VS technology.

    Just to humor you I will address a couple of your points. WPF until recently lacked a data grid which is utter nonsense for bleeding edge technology. Performance problems exist with this technology especially with large data sets. WPF controls basically uses property extenders or services to enable or disable functionality which is not always the best implementation and in most applications results in a lot of redundency/duplicate code personally I would rather use UI control subclasses this would also create a much more consistent UI. Alot of new WPF programmers put too much logic in their XAML code and the xaml has to be changed when the APP requirements change. It must have taken a lot of work to develop a technology that has the potential to create a bigger maintenance nightmare then webforms did. In some of the WPF applications I worked on this technology shouldn’t have even been used as winforms would have been more then capable of handling the UI. It was implemented because some high priced VS consultant wanted to "PLAY". Blend should have been implmented in VS instead of as a pricey external package. Yes I heard the graphic designer argument for blend it is nonsenical.

    Your comments regarding LINQ and data access are across the board and lack a cohesive thought process your defending MSFT’S data acess technology while at the same time asking Soma to develop a new one. I think you confused yourself.

    Using your car anaology, If Microsoft did develop vechicles they would have one model and it would be a BUS that would require a 747 jet engine to power it. They would seal the hood so only they could work on. Every couple years they would create a new BUS and just stop servicing their old one so people have to buy new at some point. The bus would just stop running on occassion for no apparent reason and this would be spun as a feature by the chearleading squad. It is a good thing we only have to deal with Microsoft for computer software isn’t it.

    No I am not a VFP cheerleader, I’m debating the fact data access completely sucks in VS even by your own omission as far as I can tell by your comments. N-TIER design patterns and maintability seem to have taken a backseat to UI flash. Programmers are now content writing massive amounts of code that wasn’t required in "legacy" development application environments and gone from VS is the productive nature of the rapid application development environments. The VS class browser is useless but given most programmers just code business logic into the UI for most developers it doesn’t matter. I’m cheerleading for the "RIGHT" technolgy not a technology.

  29. Sam says:

    @Mark Gordon: While I do agree that a comprehensive data access piece is missing today (WCF is great for communication, WPF is excellent for UI and WF is good for workflows – in similar lines we could use a WDF: Windows Data Foundation) – neither am I confused with how to use existing ways to get data nor am I lacking a cohesive thought process like you – who converts VFP code to .net to get the job done. Who are you fooling and humoring?

    Maintaining WPF and XAML is piece of cake. Unfortunately your ignorance and clear lack of experience in this technology makes you think otherwise. Datasets are something I always avoid for accessing data. Hence, I never face any performance issues.

    You just cannot use modern technology and keep fighting and cheerleading for an ancient data access methodology and call that ideal. How many companies hire people clinging to ancient technology?! Waste your time using VFP and VB (if you can and if any sane organization out there is willing you – to do so!).

    There is no point discussing anything with you.

  30. Sam says:

    Last note for you Mark Gordon: Anyone would be very cautious about hiring you – who spits venom against a company’s products and use it as well in daily work. If you don’t believe in this company’s products then you should not use them for a living either. Its hard to believe you can straighten out anyone’s code.

    Till date, in all of your rants, there has not been a single constructive criticism of a product – just frustration because you don’t understand any of it!

  31. Mark Gordon says:

    @Sam I work for myself and have for the past 10 years as a consultant.  Mainly I perform C++ interop and cross platform development furthermore I straighten out VB and VFP conversion to .NET that other consultants screw up. Along with taking VS code that is a maintenance nightmare and reorg it into a usable layers or frameworks this occurs especially with WEBFORMS and I’m starting to see the same trend in WPF. I don’t even market or take new clients anymore my business was grown through word of mouth.

    I’m willing to bet your in your mid 20’s perhaps recently out of college and a mid to jr level programmer with a technology fetish that probably can’t wait for the next CTP with a new half implemented technology that Microsoft released to start playing with it. As your views are a common theme in IT meetings. Programmers are so in love with their code and technology they lose sight of the business side, cost of ownership, maintainability, skill level of it department and most importantly the purpose of their solution.

    As far as your criticism of my comments being nonconstructive I will spell it out for you VERY clearly.

    1) We need a cost effective solution for small and medium size companies. That product line is non-existant in MSFT current development suite. VFP and VB filled that void. VS and SQL Server are not the right solution for small-medium size business especially where they only have an interal LOB applications and limited budgets. Sorry but life in the cloud isn’t going to cut it either nor does the 5 limit seat license on SQL Express. This is probably my single biggest complaint as this directly affected my bottom line. I already had to eat tens of 1000’s of dollars to offset the cost of SQL licensing agreements and new hardware. That should not be my responsibility but passing this cost onto the clients put the solution out of their budget.

    2) While adding VFP to VS would be the ideal solution. As a minimum a true data centric language construct is needed in VS. There are way too many holes in Microsoft current data strategies in terms of N-TEIR development. They have released 6 attempts at data technologies and each one missed that mark. My gripe is VFP worked perfectly in the middle tier therefore it makes no sense not to incorporate the core language that worked into VS. All that is needed is a single namespace and probably 4 or 5 language contructs added to C# and VB to implement this. The resistance to this is nothing short of mind boggling and amounts to pure "we didn’t develop it" arrogance on Microsoft’s part.

    3) The class browser in VS is horrific at best and that should be the workhorse so to speak in any OOP application paradigm not the form designer! Again the VFP class browser handled the job very nicely so why not bring implement its features into VS to correct the issues.

    4) WPF / Blend are supposed to be an application development platform yet they are disjoined from VS this makes no sense. I’m almost willing to bet, if WPF gets accepted into the mainstream which I personally think the jury is still out, probably in the release after 2010 Microsoft will have finally implemented WPF correctly and all this XAML code will be abstracted out and the appropriate controls and IDE to handle this technology will be implemented.

    The people who are early adpaters to this technology will be stuck supporting all this XAML code while those who wait will be further ahead and far more productive as this technology get refined.

    I been through this with Microsoft when they first made they jump from DOS to visual OOP development there was actually a version 3,4,5 of their development tools of which version 4 I believe never made it into production. I jumped on the version 3 bandwagon because it was new,cool and ended up having to rewrire alot of the code when version 6 of their tools came out. I learned a costly lesson.

    5) Personally I would like to see a true business framework that sits on top of .BLOAT so we have consistent application design pattern. I don’t believe this can be implemented without first developing a better data access strategy.

    6) I truely believe Microsoft is trying to killing off Native application development with VS and like it or not there is still a need there that also they will be voided by their decision.

    7) Bugs, stability and glue code are issues with VS and .BLOAT. Performance is an issue especially on older hardware and compatiblility issues exist older version of office. Despite what you might think not every business replaces their version of office and hardware every couple of years. This effects small and large companies a like.

    8) There are code reuse issues everywhere in VS.

    9) Intellisense in C++ and refactoring need alot of work still.

    As a wish list item….

    10) Implement a single form designer that would be smart enough to take the form source and allow us to block out areas on the form or take the entire form and translate it to winforms, mobile, wpf or webforms this would be a huge time saver but I don’t expect ever to see that. So instead we have to duplicate form code when the application get ported to a new platform or webenabled.

    I’m not going to sit here and take gabs at minor tech issues while gapping holes exist in the foundation of product…

    Before you post some nonsensical ramblings to my post take a couple of minutes and try to see where I’m coming from and other then the VFP points which you are not familiar with, each point I made is valid and these issues fully exist in VS. However if you are not in field as a programmer/consultant and simply get a paycheck for your employer much of these are probably meaningless since you don’t deal with them every day as your tunnel vision takes over.

  32. Ed Martinkovic says:

    I have personally worked with Mark for three years.  We had several systems written in different languages. Four different consulting firms attempted to integrate our systems to a new standardized environment, Mark completed our system.

    I can attest, his work is top notch and my programmers indicate with databases and programming frameworks he is the best they worked with. In his current capacity with our company Mark conducts code reviews, training and project management.

    If his performance in our company is any indication, his opinions are an extremely positive asset.


    Ed Martinkovic

  33. Joe says:

    While there were some interesting Microsoft products in 2008, the two words that come to mind are Mediocrity and Malaise. The Visual Studio 2008 feature pack was a major disappointment; it was poorly designed and poorly implemented. It didn’t use a best of breed basis and some of the interfaces are so badly designed it just pissed me off. I believe this was due to a general malaise in Microsoft Engineering. You’ve gotten fat and lazy. (Even some of the Channel 9 presentations should of been an embarrassment to you.)

    The Heroes Happen Here conference sucked badly. I’ve been to several roll outs and this was the worse. The presentations couldn’t have been more irrelevant. The audience wasn’t just bored, they were pissed off at having their time wasted (and then lied on the questionnaire just to get it done.)

    I seriously wonder if it’s time for Microsoft to fire all their engineers and hire a whole new set. Find people who’ve actually worked writing products for non-developer, non-expert consumers. Find engineers who actually take pride in producing quality code (and who are embarrassed when someone uses check boxes for exclusive choice lists.)

  34. Pablo says:

    After being developing one and a half year with this "new exciting technology" that is VS 2008.

    I can say now:

    We spended too much money

    We loosed productivity

    VS is a piece of crap just for giving more money to MS

    VS is not RAD

    Microsoft may have loosed the North, they are not innovating in nothing of interest for the developers

    Yes, comparing against VFP.

    Now we will cease our VS developments and will move the work done .. to Visual FoxPro 9 (using a SQL Server backend), but we don’t need this buggy and crapped software developer tool that is VS

    Microsoft owes us one and a half year spending money .. grr

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