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Joels humourous analysis of .NET, 2000

Just caught the following paper on a link from Google:
http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/fog0000000049.html

I've been having a nice chuckle about it all afternoon.

NRK
Wednesday, November 13, 2002

I don't understand why you think it's humorous.  Has .NET lived up to 5% of the initial hype?

Anonymous coward
Wednesday, November 13, 2002

".NET ... is really nothing but vaporware"

<chuckle>

"... it proves that something has gone very, very wrong in Redmond"

<chuckle>

But seriously,

I agree with this article re there's nothing new under the sun in .NET. 

But ... didn't Joel change his mind and say .NET productivity gains were staggering and that it was pretty cool after all?

...
Wednesday, November 13, 2002

Did you bother to check the dateline.

Microsoft Goes Bonkers
By Joel Spolsky
July 22, 2000
Printer Friendly Version

The man can't change his mind in two years?

Crusty Admin
Wednesday, November 13, 2002

It's not even a matter of changing his mind. At the time .NET was nothing but a white paper that was full of vague marketing speak and no substance. 

Joel's criticism was right on the money at that time.

Once MS came out with .NET, Joel looked at it again and then had good things to say about it.  But at that time, it was real!

A. Nony Mouse
Wednesday, November 13, 2002

I don't think we should pick on Joel too hard for this one.  Microsoft failed abysimally in its initial (and to some extent, continuing) efforts to explain what .NET is really all about.

Back in 2000, I had it beaten into my brain that .NET was an XML library for sending data to wireless devices.  Just for kicks, I went to DevDays later that same year.

Mostly, the day was hype, but one 15 minute demo convinced me.  A really simple C#/WinForms presentation.  I was thinking "wow, this really makes sense".  Everything seemed so clean, easy, and well thought out.  I was sold.  Two years later, I can say .NET is the best GENERAL PURPOSE development platform I've used - and it's not even close.

.NET is really what the industry needed.  However, Microsoft continues to hype XML web services to yawning crowds.  This isn't about data integration, it's about being able to create a maintainable app that doesn't suck and do it in a short period of time.

Bill Carlson
Wednesday, November 13, 2002

What Joel pointed out was that .NET was vaporware at the time they started marketing it, which it was.  This is something many people were commenting on six months ago: that .NET may be the worst-marketed technology initiative of all time.  It's huge, vague, far too widespread, slap on label branding, and only with the release of the runtime and the libraries more than a year after the initial announcement is even one quarter actually out and in people's hands.

On top of all that, Microsoft just announced that they're delaying the release of .NET server by a couple years because they're skipping the server version of Longhorn.  We won't have a .NET server until Blackcomb is released, sometime in 2005-6.

Justin Johnson
Wednesday, November 13, 2002

Windows .NET server is on track for release next year.  They've just said that their desktop release be have a new server release coupled to it.

Rick
Wednesday, November 13, 2002

hubada hubda hubada

What I meant to say was...

'They've just said that their desktop release won't have a new server release coupled to it.'

Rick
Wednesday, November 13, 2002

It's really just another example of the fact that Microsoft's worst enemy is its own marketing department.

Chris Tavares
Wednesday, November 13, 2002

Microsoft scraps server OS plans

"Microsoft has scratched plans for a major overhaul to an upcoming version of its Windows operating system for servers, the company confirmed Tuesday. "

http://news.com.com/2100-1001-965546.html?tag=fd_top

Matthew Lock
Wednesday, November 13, 2002

.NET has been a total marketing disiaster, and MS appears to have quietly dropped the concept.

People here appear to have forgotten that .NET covered pretty well every Microsoft product and service with the possible exception of Encarta.,MS Hearts, and Solitaire.

The result was that nobody had the least idea what it was all about, and the .NET adverts that filled the Sunday color supplements for the first six months of this year were a complete waste of dead trees.

At present .NET appears to have been cut back to a unified runtime and prgramming iinterface and envirnment for selected computer languages, and the name for XP Server. What the two have in common and what either have in common with the name is beyond me.

Stephen Jones
Wednesday, November 13, 2002

Not a complete waste I would say.

Ask anyone about .NET and they can idenitfy that with Microsoft.

But, if you were to ask someone about SUN's or IBM's initiative, well then  .......

Prakash S
Wednesday, November 13, 2002

"Ask anyone about .NET and they can idenitfy that with Microsoft. "

Yea, ask them what it is and they'll say "it's one of those Microsoft thingies - don't know anything else about it though".

And the real problem is that that is the answer you get from Redmond Product Managers as well.

When you draw a network diagram you put in a cloud to show that the details in that sector don't matter for that particular diagram.

Microsoft's .NET strategy encapsulated the whole diagram in one huge cloud.

Stephen Jones
Wednesday, November 13, 2002

I've got to disagree with VB.NET criticism, I do a lot of VB(4,5,6) and VB.NET is a major, major improvement.

Overloadable constructors, inheritance, less quirks, better error handling,  managed code,  simpler deployment (eventually) it's all positive for me.

Alberto
Wednesday, November 13, 2002

Whoops, I see a language war on the way. If only I could get my post back.

Alberto
Wednesday, November 13, 2002

You ever see that .NET commercial with all the wine bottles breaking?  I've always been mystified by something that happens at the very end of the commercial:  the guy in front of the computer pushes a bottle off the edge of the table, and it breaks on the floor.  WTF is that all about?

Anonymous coward
Wednesday, November 13, 2002

Just to clarify: Microsoft have scrapped the release of  the Longhorn Server product at the same time as the Longhorn Desktop product. It will now come later. Longhorn is the generation after Windows XP/Windows .NET Server. Windows .NET Server is at the release candidate stage and is most definitely coming out next year. See http://www.winsupersite.com/reviews/winnetserver_rc1.asp

John Topley
Thursday, November 14, 2002

Alberto, I don't doubt that VB.NET is an improvement on VB6.

I would also suggest that FreeBSD is a defiinte improvement over all versions of Windows, but I don't see the Wintel world doing an Apple and throwing out all the installed code base.

The problem basically lies in the confusion; are we going to have VB.NET and VB Classic, like we have Marlboro Lights and Marlboro Reds, or not?

For all the minor, and irritating differences, VBA and VB6 were the same language. Now, and until at least 2005, we are going to have two incompatilbe languages.

It certainly appears a dangerous policy. Countless programmers have come into programming through the path, Office Macros - VBA - stand alone appications in VB - other programming languages. MS has stuck a road block bang in the middle.

The whole business of naming is simply confusion worse compounded. We're led to bleieve that C# is the successor to C++ when that is obviously not true.

Stephen Jones
Thursday, November 14, 2002

The explanation for the whole cockup lies in Joel's original article -"vaporware". The idea was that by 2002 the NET would be central to our experience of computing.  Not only would we be using tne NET to order our pizzas, date our girlfriends and send credit card payments to Bill Gates, but all of our desktop applications(like Word, media player, Viso, Solitaire) would be sitting on servers on the internet, hosted by Application Service Providers. So calling everything .NET would be a no-brainer.

Of course this hasn't happened and there isn't an iota of evidence that it is going to in the future either. The result is that Microsoft's massive PR campaign has appeared at best silly, and at worst seriously counter-productive. People know that Micorosft has got something new coming on, but the only thing that seems clear about it is that it is going to cost them money, so better put the budget on hold.

Those clouds that we use in network diagrams for the internet are appearing to have been uncannily accurate representations of what management saw there.

Stephen Jones
Thursday, November 14, 2002

---
Mostly, the day was hype, but one 15 minute demo convinced me.  A really simple C#/WinForms presentation.  I was thinking "wow, this really makes sense".  Everything seemed so clean, easy, and well thought out.  I was sold.  Two years later, I can say .NET is the best GENERAL PURPOSE development platform I've used - and it's not even close.
-----  B. Carson ..

I guess you hadn't / haven't had a look at Borland Dev. Tools, then? That kino of "cleanliness" has been avaliable in those tools since ... at least 1997 :)

Javier Jarava
Thursday, November 14, 2002

Javier,

That's true.  I worked extensively with Borland stuff way back when and was always impressed.  Sometimes, though, painful as it is to admit, going with a lesser product that has dominant market share has advantages:

- Easier to find answers
- Easier to find developers
- A few customers actually care what the product was written in.  They expect to hear a certain answer.
- Easier availability of 3rd party libraries
- Better chance of migration tools down the line.

These may not apply to Borland in particular, but there are some advantages to "running with the pack", boring and derivitive as it may be.

I've hated most Microsoft APIs/tools that have come out in the past 7 years or so.  I was really not expecting to like the .NET architecture as much as I have.

Bill Carlson
Thursday, November 14, 2002

Stephen:

I agree with you, most people at microsoft might not know either. But my original point was "people have heard of .NET", that, they might not know what it is a different story.

And by no means was I trying to start any language war!

But you all knew that :-)

Prakash S
Thursday, November 14, 2002

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