Blurring the Lines of Developers

In the last 10 years the .NET world hasn’t had too many uproars – obviously not everything has come up roses however developers, by nature, are a rather docile bunch. We mostly accept that progress entails a certain amount of adaptability and uncertainty to our skill set, our environment, and our career. Lately things have changed. Developers have, and continue to, express their angst at the radio silence of Microsoft over the Windows 8 and HTML + JS comments. I for one am thoroughly stunned that there hasn’t been an “official state of the world” clarification.

(Note: early builds of Windows 8 appear to contain the Jupiter framework, so all is well. What we today know as WPF and Silverlight will become legacy but the skills, ie. XAML will be carried forward – same flavors with a new twist.  See here for more)

WHY no response?

Is it to create buzz (for a developer conference? – sounds pretty stupid), or simply that Microsoft PR is inept when developers are the target?  I believe Microsoft has a problem and that is decreasing developer attention.

Does anyone love Redmond anymore?

Have you been to a user group meeting lately? Look around, how old is the crowd? What is the age split? If yours is anything like mine, you’ll see very few newbies and that is a problem for Microsoft. You see Microsoft has lost significant attention from developers (btw this is probably the worst I’ve seen it.)  The buzz isn’t about some cool windows platform feature, rather it’s about iOS or Android – Microsoft struggles to get us to care about WP7. Microsoft’s share of the developer mindset is dropping and that is something they are attempting to address.

So what is going on?

Here’s my answer: Microsoft is casting a bigger net. In other words they are cranking up the posing and posturing to put the HTML crowd on notice – basically – “Hey we love you too, why don’t you code for us too”. After all they know most .NET developers aren’t going anywhere, there’s too much invested. But by embracing a standards happy HTML5 crowd and giving them some Javascript punch they are hoping to regain some attention. You see, if Microsoft make it easy for you to target their platform – a la HTML5 – then maybe you’ll try it or at least consider it. Now if they say, here use Silverlight, and download the control, and here’s our XAML syntax, and…. – forget it they lost you.

In other words – Microsoft is in a fight for it’s life.

Yes, it’s true. Hard to believe isn’t it? You see, when you lose developer attention and your latest offerings have been – well uninspiring – what happens in the long term? You’re dead because no one but the gray hairs build for your platform. You become the irrelevant third wheel – the also ran, the oh remember them,  oh are they still around – platform.

So Microsoft I get it. I don’t like but I get it.  You’re not turning your back on me and I’m not going anywhere. What you want is more of me, but a different kind of me. So there, we’re good again.

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