"No-Brainer Compatibility" Explained
For several weeks now, I've been talking about various issues in regards to component versioning and Framework compatibility. A few months ago, I got so frustrated by the issues that were raised, that I said I was going to start a task force to solve the problem. This task force was informal and basically consisted of Paul Alexander (XHEO) and I (Interscape Technologies). Over the past 6 months, I have really enjoyed working with Paul, and I am constantly amazed at the work he achieves. Together, we've been able to make some headway in the industry as a whole, and we have several extremely exciting things coming up in the future.
The results of this work were detailed informally in my weblog, but will be published through Builder.com officially over the next 6 weeks. By the end of the week, I will have a single, final document available on my company website. For now, thought, I want to focus on the images I posted this morning, and the role they should play with your marketing.
This overall system that I've come up with, I'm dubbing the “No-Brainer Compatibility Initiative”. This is not meant to be derrogatory by any means. It really should be a no-brainer to the people that use the reusable code that we distribute/sell regarding how it works, and which version to use it to. All too often, developers assume that the end user/other developers that will be using thair code are just as smart as they are. All too often, this is not the case. Most .NET developers are either coding newbies or coding converts. Many come from the Java realm, and just as many come from ScriptKiddieLand. Most, myself included, wouldn't know good programming methods if they came up and bit them in the ass. I'm still learning about design patterns and so forth.
So the point is to make it blatantly obvious to anyone with an IQ above 20 which version goes with which Framework. It's not that hard. The first step is to use the Framework Compatibility Graphics (FCGs) I blogged about this morning. Roy Osherove asked me, “Where do I put these graphics... in my installer or some kind of splash screen?” My answer: “Yeah those, but first and foremost, on every product-related page of your website, your documentation, and any product related support website page.” You want to build as much awareness as humanly possible. You also want to put the graphic in an and make the link to go a page with the large version of the graphic, and explain in more detail exactly what it means. Paul and I may be coming up with standard text in the very near future, to help you guys out of you're having trouble.
The next parts of this initiative stem my previous posts here, here, and here, and are addressed in greated detail in my Builder.com column next month. Paul has already taken these steps with XHEO|Licensing 2.0, as shown in the following screenshot:
Is there any question from that dialog which version you should use in VS.NET 2003? I sure hope not. As a user of XHEO's products, there sure isn't for me.
Now, this is not necessarily the best way to do it. It is, however, the best anyone has come up with so far. Try it, experiment with it, and make it better. When you do, please be sure to let me know. This is why I talk about this stuff instead of keeping it to myself.