October 2003 - Posts
I will be in Huntsville, AL on Tuesday night to talk about writing Windows Services in .NET at the Hunstville User Group. If you are in the area, come on out.
What is going on with learnasp.com?
Community Headlines: Want a CHEAP preview of ASP.net 2.0 (don't pay a fortune for conventions...) Pre-order Alex Homer's ASP.net 2.0 Preview Book and ADO.net 2.0 and System.XML Preview which will be out in October! And listen to ASP.net Program Manager Scott "the lying weasel" Guthrie's ASP.net 2.0 audio presentation.
I met Scott Guthrie a couple of years ago. His activity in the .NET Community suggests that he is anything but a “lying weasel.” His devotion to the community is amazing. I am shocked by this attack on Scott. I have a guess as to what is going on, but this type of attack is unbelieveable.
I love this quote:
“The need for WinFS is being driven by the explosion of data and ever-growing hard drives, according to Microsoft. The company has recognized that search, or querying, is fast becoming a more practical means of retrieving information than navigating through a hierarchy of folders and subfolders.”
From my own experience, I don't search through a file system directory structure anymore. I just pull up the Search in Windows and do a search for whatever I am looking for.
I read the responses to my post about I am tired of being marketed to when I got home on Friday night from Washington, DC.
I have more thoughts on this issue.
The last two private MS conferences I have been to, I have been less than excited about the amount of code that I have seen and touched. There was a lot of marketing going on saying that something will be great and that we should do something with these new products. Well, thats all well and good, and I am a believer in marketing. The problem is that is not the best way to sell to a group of developers. Developers want code. They want example code. They want best practices. They want suggestions on when to use what and when not to use what. And most important, developers want the bits. I don't want to be out of work for a week, pay $1,500 to walk in the door at the PDC, pay for a plane ticket, hotel, and a bunch of other things (estimated grand total of $8,000 in my case) without seeing a big piece of the above. Why should I spend this type of money when I am afraid that I am going to have to sit through several sales only presentations. I know what Whidbey is suppossed to do for me. Don't try and sell me on it. I am already sold on .NET and Whidbey will be the next version of that. I am sold on the concepts that I have heard about in Yukon. Don't tell me why Yukon is better than Oracle. Tell me how to use the features in Yukon. Tell me how to solve my customers problems better with Yukon and Whidbey. Don't try and sell me on Whidbey and Yukon by saying that they are better than Java, PHP, Eclipse, Oracle, or DB2. Show me how to solve my customers problems with MS products. I just don't see the value in racking up $8,000 in expenses when the products will most likely not ship in the next 18 months (Whidbey beta1 and Yukon beta2 are suppossedly due in May of 2004 according to some article I read this weekend online, but I can't find the link at this moment) and where I question whether I will get to see any code samples regarding how to properly use the products that are suppossed to be pitched at the PDC.
Having said all of the above, do I think MS is some horrible beast? Absolutely not. I just believe that their marketing is over running their product documentation. Is PDC going to be some horrible conference where everyone is disappointed? Absolutely not. Will they spend too much time hyping their own products? Past history suggest yes.
It appears to me that their focus on how to correctly market to the developer community has been lost. This is something that can easily be recovered. How? Title their articles correctly. Put the proper documents in the proper places. Create some proper usage documentation. The Longhorn Developer Center is a great idea, if they provide code samples and architectual suggestions in it. Will there be a Yukon Dev Center? Let's hope so. Just don't put too much of the “Why” documents into the Dev Centers. Please focus on the “How” at this time. Make as much of the PDC content available as possible. For example, I don't see $8,000 worth of value in going to it. If the PDC sells out, then great. I do see $500 worth of value for a set of DVDs from it. Why can't I order these? Will there even be any? I'll order them today, if I can get them in the next little while.
I saw where someone posted a mention of the MS article “A Guide to Building Enterprise Applications on the .NET Framework.” This article is horrible. It provides no value what so ever to developers. I, as a developer and someone that builds applications that have large numbers of users and millions of transactions each day, sees ZERO value in this article. It tells me nothing of value. It has no code within it. It is nothing more than marketing drivel. This article is not a guide to building enterprise applications but a sales pitch on using their technologies. There is no code. No specific situations addressed. No performance implications of doing anything. Basically, there is nothing that provides value to me as a developer. Halfway through the article, I felt like the child that had been given a lump of coal for Christmas as a joke.
This is the reason that I am not going to the PDC. Why should I pay $1,500 for the right to walk into the PDC, pay for a cross-country plane ticket, hotel, all the other stuff that goes along with going to a conference, be out for a week, take time away from my clients, and not provide value to my customers to go to this conference. This doesn't cost $1,500, it costs more like $8,000 (commonly referred to as driveout price). I am tired of going to these conferences and not seeing code. Of the last four conferences that I have been to, three were of minimal value. I went to TechEd 2001. There were two sessions that I attended that I thought were pretty good. Everything else was babble and bored me. I have been to some private conferences, that were nothing but marketing babble also. The private conference that I went to in July of 2001 was awesome. It was the only one. Before you think or say, but by learning these technologies before others, you provide value to your customers, I would like to state that it is hard for a developer to learn these technologies without having code samples, with best practices information, copies of Yukon, Longhorn, and Whidbey to take home (which will happen according to what I have heard), and good solid believable and repeatable numbers to back these statements up with.
Before you say, but MS is going to be showing .NET 2.0, ASP.NET 2.0, Yukon, and Longhorn at the PDC, I know that, but I still don't want to pay money to listen to a sales pitch.
The bottom line on this rant is that if someone wants to market to the developer community, they need to provide code samples, solid architectual information, prerelease code as available, and other items of value to myself as a developer. Quit trying to repackage marketing information for management types and say that it is for developers when it isn't. I feel that I get better information on weblogs.asp.net, AspAdvice.com, Developmentor lists, private newsgroups, and Asp.NET Forums than I do by going to conferences.
PS. I am not comparing TechEd to PDC. I am comparing PDC to the private conferences that I went to.
2nd page of the USAToday Money Section. Scoble talks about his blog and the issues of having a blog while working at Microsoft.
I have taken over another application, separate from my complaints of Tuesday, where I have found something very interesting. There are a couple of places where Classic ADO recordsets are used for inserting and updating data. A couple of the fields that are being updated have fields where a time value is stored in the datatime field, but with no associated date. When I converted this to a SQL based insert / update, I was now getting the “1/1/1900” placed into these fields that were only suppossed to be storing the time, as I had assumed I would be getting with just the recordsets insert / update. Well, it appears that if you place “Dec 30, 1899” infront of the time entry, you will only have the time entry stored in the field. Found this by using Sql Profiler and seeing what has done with a recordset based insert. Pretty interesting piece of info. Why these folks have decided to separate the date and the time of the operation into separate fields, I have no idea.