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The ocean is already boiling Joel

Nice try Joel, but you're already too late. The .NET Framework is spreading. Maybe only within corporate america for now, but eventually it will filter down to public Windows machines. Once people see the benefits of smart clients over web apps, things will change drastically.

The web is a great idea for simple applications, but it will never be cost-effective or appropriate for most complex software applications.

David Cornelson
Friday, June 18, 2004

I once heard Bezos say exactly the same thing. Wait, what?

mpm
Friday, June 18, 2004

Simple applications represent 99.999% of all applications, 99.99999999% if you count a website as a simple system.

The small systems cost between 0$ (kids playing) and a few grand. The big systems cost millions, but the global value of the little fishes and the market they create is orders of magnitude bigger than the big fishes, even if they make most noise.

WoodenTongue
Friday, June 18, 2004


One government client that we have wanted to host one of our ASP apps at their location instead of us doing it.  Make sense, but they were the first ones with this request, so my boss came up with a contract and got everything signed.

He *thought* he was being creative when he charged them a price of $X dollars for the current version and then added a clause to require them to buy the next version (.Net-based) in one year for the same price.

As soon as the contract was signed and they had the app, they immediately filed suit against us for the clause because an "upgrade to the .Net archtiecture would require massive infrastructure upgrades in terms of both hardware and software".  Then they pointed out how it was not cost effective at all for the taxpayers.

Our guys realized that they had just been screwed because it's hard (no, impossible) to argue that a government agency should not be effective with public funds.

Well, duh.


Many government agencies has already outlawed the usage of IE due to security issues.  Many others are discussing switching away from Windows anything for hosting due to security issues.  Therefore, their contractors will have to have the same/similar systems to ensure compatibility.  Then, those who interact with the bigger players (Lockheed, Boeing, etc) will have to do the same.  This has the potential to be the single biggest change agent and it's already happening.

KC
Friday, June 18, 2004

"The .NET Framework is spreading. Maybe only within corporate america for now, but eventually it will filter down to public Windows machines. Once people see the benefits of smart clients over web apps, things will change drastically."

This same sort of theme has regurgitated quite a few times in here, and it really astounds me that people can be so intentionally dense.

Here's a hint - despite the apparent zombie-like belief in pushing the One True Cause, .NET did not invent rich clients (in fact .NET is a massive step back for rich clients while we wait for the GUI component vendors to catch up to what Delphi, for instance, has had for years) - we've had these crazy things called Win32 apps for years, all full of rich functionality (along with rich Java apps, Flash, etc). The absolutely minimal features like "One click deploy" most corporations have had for years by ignoring Windows design guidelines (Quake 3 is a great app because I can just copy the folder around -- it has no external dependencies, registry entries, etc) and just dropping the build in a network share. REGARDLESS many firms have migrated to "simple" web apps.

.NET/Microsoft fanatics are far more embarrassing than Linux fanatics. Absolutely disgusting.

.
Friday, June 18, 2004

"As soon as the contract was signed and they had the app, they immediately filed suit against us for the clause because an "upgrade to the .Net archtiecture would require massive infrastructure upgrades in terms of both hardware and software".  Then they pointed out how it was not cost effective at all for the taxpayers."

That is clearly being misconstrued for the purpose of spreading FUD. Any action such as that would have zero legal basis if the claim was based on the stated requirements of the deal. It's fairly obvious that the real issue was that the public (or someone else within the layers of government) looked at the commitments made in the deal and balked that they had to pay your fee (plus whatever installing the framework may have added) for minimal additional benefit and only one year later. This is a political financial oversight problem with the person who agreed to the deal - it has nothing to do with the .NET framework itself. If the same deal was written one year later, with both versions having required the framework the result would have been exactly the same.

All of this belly-aching about a 20 Mb download is simply amazing to me.

  --Josh

JWA
Friday, June 18, 2004

.net is so bad even governments have the sense to say no.

Man, that is saying something.

Quad
Friday, June 18, 2004

(Federal) Government where I work does not use .net. This thing is even filtered out of their systems, they prefer j2ee + IE. May be situation is different in other agencies.

None
Friday, June 18, 2004

Java is pretty firmly entrenched at NASA/JPL. I can't see them using anything but that and legacy C/C++/whatever code for the forseeable future.

Dan Maas
Friday, June 18, 2004

"That is clearly being misconstrued for the purpose of spreading FUD. Any action such as that would have zero legal basis if the claim was based on the stated requirements of the deal. It's fairly obvious that the real issue was that the public (or someone else within the layers of government) looked at the commitments made in the deal and balked that they had to pay your fee (plus whatever installing the framework may have added) for minimal additional benefit and only one year later. This is a political financial oversight problem with the person who agreed to the deal - it has nothing to do with the .NET framework itself. If the same deal was written one year later, with both versions having required the framework the result would have been exactly the same."


No, they actually have a pretty extensive suite of asp apps and (like most government agencies), they plan upgrade cycles on *atleast* a 3-5 year cycle.

Their techs, who I spoke with personally, had no desire to go to .Net because most of their applications would not work and they didn't have the resources to do all the upgrades that they required.

KC
Friday, June 18, 2004

KC you're spewing so much FUD, that it's blocking out the sun.

"Many government agencies has already outlawed the usage of IE due to security issues.  Many others are discussing switching away from Windows anything for hosting due to security issues."

Knowing that one of the most "Security" oriented government agencies, uses Windows, is increasing the number of Windows computers, uses .Net and IE both on internet and non-internet accessible computers, there is nothing to make of that statement but the fact that it is a complete lie.

Enough said.

Elephant
Friday, June 18, 2004

".NET/Microsoft fanatics are far more embarrassing than Linux fanatics. Absolutely disgusting. " - nothing a quick trip to Slashdot wouldn't cure.

All fanatics are hard to stomach.

The main lessons about the government contract story are more in business strategy than sofware.

In a varied business career, I don't know how many times I have seen the "suck-em-in-lock-em-in-and-bite" strategy fail. Better off having a very close eye on your client's needs first.

Patrick FitzGerald
Friday, June 18, 2004

"despite the apparent zombie-like belief in pushing the One True Cause, .NET did not invent rich clients"

No one said .NET was the beginning of a usable rich client, but I take issue with your description of dropping code in a network share for people to use. I've worked at numerous large corporations and you'd get fired for even suggesting doing something like that in _all_ of those places. Most corporate desktops are locked down to the point that they sniff out unauthorized code and remove it.

The problem with Win32 code is how dll's are found in the logic of the OS. There are all kinds of ways to throw a dll on a system and screw up other code. This is well documented.

As for being a .NET fanatic, well it's not my fault Sun didn't figure out that Windows desktops weren't going away until about a month ago when they became buddies with Microsoft. If Sun had partnered with MS and allowed Windows compiled java rich client development, we wouldn't even be talking about .NET right now.

As for my comments on Joel's rant, my only point is that as things stand _today_, web applications can't compare to a rich client built with any tool you want to use. The fact that .NET _and_ the Java Desktop are offering easy and safe deployment of rich clients is what makes it _even more attractive_.

All the things Joel suggests are great, but unrealistic given the current vendor inclinations. I just don't see corporate america adopting Mozilla for it's rich UI features anytime soon and I don't see Microsoft adding those types of things in a cross-platform IE product.

So where does that leave us?

David Cornelson
Saturday, June 19, 2004

That explains his 'sabbatical,' eh? :)

Akilesh Ayyar
Saturday, June 19, 2004

> The web is a great idea for simple applications, but it will
> never be cost-effective or appropriate for most complex
> software applications.

Agreed. The web *as we know it* will never be appropriate for most complex applications.

But that's exactly one of Joel's point: that MS won't let it evolve into something rich and useful. As long as they control the browser the web will be just the dumb terminal thing we use today.

Daniel Tio
Saturday, June 19, 2004

"No one said .NET was the beginning of a usable rich client, but I take issue with your description of dropping code in a network share for people to use. I've worked at numerous large corporations and you'd get fired for even suggesting doing something like that in _all_ of those places."

Interesting. I've worked at 3 Fortune 500 companies in the past 3 years (I don't job hop, but I do move on when I've achieved my results there), and ALL of them have internal applications that "install" by simply creating a shortcut to an official network shared EXE. The development group can then upgrade the app by overwriting the EXEs and supporting DLLs (in at least one first the EXE would automatically register/unregister required COM objects when it saw version differentials. The system worked absolutely beautiful).

.
Sunday, June 20, 2004

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