Critical Section

More Oh not Oooh

Tuesday,  09/23/03  11:41 PM

My Oh not Oooh post made the PDC Bloggers blog, and attracted some comment from James Robertson, Martin SpeddingSteve Maine, Greg Hurlman, among others.

Their comments are all worth reading and I can't do them justice, but I want to reiterate my central point.  Microsoft would be best served by making their new technologies easy to use.  That doesn't seem controversial, does it?

One of the reactions people had to my post was "sorry if it isn't easy, but this new stuff is new, and so yeah, you have to invest some time in understanding it".  Well that's okay.  I'm no longer programming in assembler, at some point I learned C (and C++, and Java, and C#), and I'm not longer programming using the "Petzold SDK", at some point I learned MFC (and .NET).  The point wasn't that we shouldn't have new development technologies.  (Some of them are worthwhile and make things easier and better, or enable things which could never have been done before.)

I was reacting to the way the MS people seem to be positioning their new development technologies.  They appear to be stressing the coolness and complexity and even the mysticism, and not the ease of use.  And I don't think that's helpful.  Cool is okay, but complexity is not okay, and mysticism is most definitely out of place.  I've found in 100% of the cases, the best development technologies are falling out of a chair easy to understand and use.  And those are also the ones that get the best adoption. 

In the same vein, yesterday Philip Greenspun posted Java is the SUV of programming tools, and was immediately slashdotted.  "A project done in Java will cost 5 times as much, take twice as long, and be harder to maintain than a project done in a scripting language such as PHP or Perl."  Read it if you haven't already, he hits the nail right on the head.

So here's the question for the MS presenters at the PDC.  If a project done in Java / JSP costs 5 times as much as a project done with Perl, where does that leave C# / .NET?  Is it really easier?

Hey, thanks for listening, and CU@DPDC!

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