Coffeehouse Thread

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Direction?

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  • bondsbw

    I used to be excited about coming to Channel 9.  I saw videos, series of videos, about cool programming theory and new tech.  But I haven't seen much of that in a while, perhaps just 2 or 3 articles I have found exciting in the past year.

    This isn't a complaint against Channel 9.  I think it is a reflection of Microsoft.  The focus has been removed from developers.  I don't know where .NET is going, or where the Windows desktop is going.

    Why is Microsoft suddenly being so secretive about their direction?

  • Ian2

    Maybe the 'Developers, Developers, Developers' approach didn't produce the anticipated bottom line results and left the door open for WinDiv to dominate DevDiv?

  • vesuvius

    left the door open for WinDiv to dominate DevDiv?

    left the door open for WinDiv to perform suicide?

  • vesuvius

    @bondsbw: Developer Evangelism is now under S. Somasagar and I think he has had no choice but to become secretive, as all their audacious Evangelists that came out and publically endorsed technology x, capturing the imaginations of developers are vulnerable when Microsoft change direction a la Muglia/Silverlight.

    The Evangelism team are susceptible to acute anger from customers when after meeting them at PDC, they convinced them to invest multi-million dollar/pound projects on the Silverlight/WPF stack only for development to be discontinued permanently

    This is why there is no PDC, Build has moved focus away from developers and onto the WinRT platform. I loathe the secrecy and uncommunicativeness, being drip fed morsels from Mary-Jo and so on, but they have no choice, otherwise they leave themselves wide open to criticism, which is why the likes of John Papa left Microsoft.

  • bondsbw

    @vesuvius: Well, I am criticizing them now.

    Don't get me wrong, it was an effective short term strategy.  But doesn't this company realize that its bottom line, its survival, is so dependent on developers?

    Microsoft isn't Apple.  It doesn't have an end-to-end ecosystem strategy, one in which it can provide both software and hardware to its entire focus audience.  But it doesn't need an ecosystem; it has done well with past partnerships.  Apple focuses on consumers, and that works because Microsoft exists to deal with all the business and technical work.

    If Microsoft wants to be secretive, that is telling me that the company's focus is now mostly on the consumer side, to the point that it is willing to give up on its business and tech side.  So that raises the question:  if Microsoft is the new Apple, who is the new Microsoft?  And where does my company sign up?

  • figuerres

    , bondsbw wrote

    @vesuvius: Well, I am criticizing them now.

    Don't get me wrong, it was an effective short term strategy.  But doesn't this company realize that its bottom line, its survival, is so dependent on developers?

    Microsoft isn't Apple.  It doesn't have an end-to-end ecosystem strategy, one in which it can provide both software and hardware to its entire focus audience.  But it doesn't need an ecosystem; it has done well with past partnerships.  Apple focuses on consumers, and that works because Microsoft exists to deal with all the business and technical work.

    If Microsoft wants to be secretive, that is telling me that the company's focus is now mostly on the consumer side, to the point that it is willing to give up on its business and tech side.  So that raises the question:  if Microsoft is the new Apple, who is the new Microsoft?  And where does my company sign up?

    yeah there are a lot of folks who are asking the same kinds of questions and there are plenty of folks who wonder if Microsoft will make the transition they seem to be trying to make and still be a major player in the software world.

    in some form I am sure they will keep going but it's going to be very different.

    I am now looking to see if the next wave of development I do will still be on windows at all.

    I wonder if the bosses even see that the effects of the changes will not show up until businesses have already spent money on other systems, and by then Microsoft will be unable to get them back and the revenue will just be gone forever.  if a lot of companies that in the past were buying MS licenses for servers and desktops stop doing that and then development companies stop buying licenses to develop for them and the MSDN licenses stop being bought. that plus losing more sales of office --   surface and xbox will then have to carry more of the sales .... 

    what happens then to the funding of dev-div and MSDN and MSR if the cash flow starts to change.

    Yeah right now the numbers may look ok, but I think it takes 3-5 years for the long term effects to show up in the numbers.   we will all have to just see how it plays out.

  • Bas

    I wonder how many people here have been running multibillion software companies for a couple of decades.

  • PaoloM

    @Bas: Not many.

  • bondsbw

    , Bas wrote

    I wonder how many people here have been running multibillion software companies for a couple of decades.

    Well, now they are changing their strategy to something that takes them out of the field that has brought them their billions, and into a field where they have yet to see results.

    Don't get me wrong, I love what Microsoft is doing with Windows Phone and it would be awesome to see an ecosystem develop.  But it feels a bit like letting your foundation rot while building a skyscraper on top of your mansion.

  • PaoloM

    The last quarterly result are obviously proving them right.

  • Charles

    , bondsbw wrote

    The focus has been removed from developers.  I don't know where .NET is going, or where the Windows desktop is going.

    Why is Microsoft suddenly being so secretive about their direction?

    .NET is now at version 4.5. It continues to evolve, with a fully loaded development team pushing it forward... What do you want to know? The next set of .NET features? That's not something that gets shared publicly without the .NET team being ready to commit to delivering them. It's a basic rule of thumb in any software company - don't share product roadmaps that you're not going to actually deliver. When we broke this rule in the past, it bit us - but more importantly, it bit our customers. It always does... It's not obsessive secrecy as much as it is intelligent - or mature - public disclosure strategy.

    I don't see how building and shipping the world's best IDE is an indication that we aren't focused on developers. Further, our commitment to a large swath of developers (not just .NET developers) is concrete evidence of precisely the opposite of your assertion. We're in the business of AND, not OR. Perhaps there is a marketing/messaging problem (especially around .NET), but there is no lack of commitment to developers on the engineering side of things... Look at what Guthrie et al are doing in Azure. Then there's Windows 8 and Windows Phone - there is a tremendous amount of developer investment and execution going on. We're embracing open source, delivering innovative APIs and tools (hard to keep up with all of it...) across programming languages/runtimes, working as hard as possible to help developers - not just .NET developers - be as productive as possible when targeting our platforms using more than a single tool chain...

    I get the sense that for some, if we only focus on .NET then we love developers, else we're simply lost and wandering aimlessly through the forest. This is just plain wrong. .NET is one model (which continues to evolve and is a first class citizen on all of our platforms), then there's everything else...

    AND,

    C

  • bondsbw

    Paolo, quarterly results don't prove a trend.  And even if they do, you don't want to use quarterly results that show Windows in a flatline when attempting to prove that Windows is on its way up.

    I've been a big proponent of Windows 8.  I've been saying things like, "Just wait... you'll see!  Microsoft is just getting going on its remake of Windows.  It will return to its focus on developers and on business and IT."  But is that even true?

    Windows 8 has been released for months.  Not a single word said, a single leak, has led me to believe that .NET is alive.  Will there be a .NET 5?  I mean, other than Roslyn.  Heck, I haven't heard from the Roslyn team since Windows was released, and even then sparingly, and even then it's just Roslyn... something that will be useful for supporting tools and academia, but will see little use in LOB applications.  Will there be a C# 6?  Will Microsoft provide some foundation for developers to move their desktop LOB apps into the future?

    I'm not the guy who hates Windows 8.  I'm the guy who thinks it has much potential, and that the critics are wrong.  But Microsoft is about to lose me; I only have so much patience.

  • bondsbw

    @Charles: I'm with you.  .NET is only one part of Microsoft's focus.  Except I feel that LOB has been Microsoft's bread and butter, and I haven't heard anything moving on that front since Build '11.

    My LOB .NET apps will not work under Modern-style restrictions.  Period.  Not happening.  I've been around this on this forum time and time again.  .NET cannot play in Metro-land, and Metro apps cannot work outside of Windows Store restrictions without jumping over hurdles that are completely impractical.  I can't call Assembly.LoadFrom().  I can't communicate with desktop applications.  I can't touch the serial port.  All of these things have been set in stone in Windows 8 since Build '11, where I asked Microsoft gurus all over for answers.  And the answer, still today, is "not without getting your users into a corporate IT environment, or putting their entire system at risk while paying Microsoft extra cash per machine for a sideloading license"... something that cannot happen for us.

    So I feel like we have invested, and continue to invest, tons of energy, time, and money into LOB development on a desktop platform that is dead.  (And by dead, I don't mean it has been removed.  I'm just saying it has no life, and to me little hope of breathing again.)

  • Charles

    , bondsbw wrote

    So I feel like we have invested, and continue to invest, tons of energy, time, and money into LOB development on a desktop platform that is dead.  (And by dead, I don't mean it has been removed.  I'm just saying it has no life, and to me little hope of breathing again.)

    Dead? What does desktop (Win32) have to do with WinRT? WinRT apps are designed for touch-first experience, to run in a sandbox with a very different execution model (and underlying management infrastructure), predictable user safety (sandbox...). Windows Store apps employ a very different installation and update model, too... Windows Store apps are different than Win32 apps. Is that the problem?

    Are you really talking about WPF - which has always been about the Windows desktop? Last I checked, we shipped a new version along with .NET 4.5 that includes several new features, performance improvements, etc...

    What can't you do on the desktop in Windows 8 (x86) that you could do before? Can you provide some specific information? Otherwise, we're just talking in generalities which means we're getting nowhere fast...

    WPF 4.5: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb613588.aspx

    C

  • JoshRoss

    , bondsbw wrote

    *snip*

    I can't communicate with desktop applications.  I can't touch the serial port. 

    Why not have something that runs on the desktop and listens on IP? Send it messages, receive messages. That doesn't seem to difficult. It's like embassies.

  • evildictait​or

    , Jsoh wrote

    *snip*

    Why not have something that runs on the desktop and listens on IP? Send it messages, receive messages. That doesn't seem to difficult. It's like embassies.

    Because that's specifically against the Windows Store guidelines*. You can do it. You just can't get do it and get your app into the Windows Store. If you want to play those games, you need to sideload or use something like Windows Intune.

     

    * 3.1:

    Windows Store apps must not communicate with local desktop applications or services via local mechanisms, including via files and registry keys.

  • evildictait​or

    , bondsbw wrote

    My LOB .NET apps will not work under Modern-style restrictions

    Just because it doesn't work in Windows8, doesn't your app will never be able to work in Metro-land. Windows8 isn't the last installment of Windows, and the WinRT of Windows8 isn't the last installment of WinRT.

    Expecting Microsoft to get it perfect for edge cases like bar-code scanners that use the serial-port rather than PS2 input on their first outing with WinRT is like being disappointed that the Wright Brothers' first plane wasn't a Dreamliner.

    It'll get there. Be patient.

  • DaveWill2

    Don't forget you can build "touch first" applications totally in the desktop realm without ever touching WinRT. Windows wasn't touch friendly in the past not the applications we have the capability to create.  Once they get the rest of the OS touch friendly all will be golden.

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