Microsoft to developers: Here are the toys, now let the grown-ups play
About a year ago I was chatting with an MS evangelist that felt pretty confident about the future pricing of VS 2005 and the associated tools. To his credit, he was right in some respects. The standard and pro versions of Visual Studio are certainly more affordable than they used to be and address a certain market.
But what they really did is pushed off what we already had and made it less expensive, and decided to charge more for the really useful stuff that makes it worth the upgrade. Look at the feature matrix.
Can you spot the problems? I don't know about you, but the idea that users of the standard or pro versions don't need unit testing is absurd. Look around, Microsoft... everyone is doing test-driven development these days. It's as essential as the debugger.
I guess the reason I'm so annoyed is that I, like a huge percentage of developers out there, have to wear many hats. I'm more often than not a one-off developer and/or architect working in a team on a contract basis with my own hardware and software. I need all of these tools so I can get away from the nightmare combination of NUnit, NAnt, VS, etc. So unless I can score an MVP nod for my projects
(something not getting any easier by making posts like this, I'm sure), or for being the author of an ASP.NET book
, I have to shell out more than two grand for an MSDN subscription to get what I really need. I refuse to believe that my situation can't be duplicated among thousands of other developers.
This is the kind of thing that makes for such great fodder among the open-sores zealots. For those on the fringe of choosing a platform, this is not exactly going to make Microsoft a slam-dunk for anyone.