Like many other bloggers, yesterday morning I read the news about Tom Rizzo saying Yukon and Whidbey probably wouldn't get released until the first half of 2005. I felt like blogging about it right away but, thought it might be better first to hear what other people had to say. Not that their opinions would sway mine, but I thought perhaps more “behind the curtain“ information might be brought forth.
It seems thus far that the general consensus among the “very early adopter” community is that the Whidbey release should be decoupled from the Yukon release; and as .NET developers, we care much more about the features being promised in Whidbey than we do about anything like CLR integration in Yukon. Personally, I'm looking forward to both equally as much.
The impression I get though, from some of the posts I've read so far, is that of a knee-jerk reaction. I think some more thought could (and should) be given to the matter before sticking it to Microsoft. I'll admit that with delays like this (of software products) I tend to, at first feel a bit disappointed. After all, it means the longer I'll have to wait to play with some new dev toys. Having said that, I usually come around to thinking about what most people know as "The Golden Rule". I know (from plenty experience) how it feels to have customers hounding you about letting the schedule slip, and that they wanted everything yesterday. I'm sure many consultants understand this as well. And yeah, Microsoft has been dangling the Whidbey and Yukon carrots in front of our noses for a while now but, then again, so would I if I had something as cool. But one thing is universal. Applying more pressure to software development does not lead to a better or quicker release. Don't forget the saying, “Good, Fast, Cheap. You may choose two.“
So, before yelling at Microsoft about their products slipping here are some questions to think about:
1. Do you have all the information behind the reasons for the delay? As in, have you talked with the folks at Microsoft who are building the products? Be sure you're making an informed complaint.
2. What percentage of Microsoft's Visual Studio and SQL Server clients are really ready for Whidbey and/or Yukon? If they were released tomorrow, what percentage would be upgrading their development environments and data centers?
3. Would you rather wait longer and have more features and fewer bugs or vice-versa? And - which is better for Microsoft? After all, this is a business decision (that most developers don't think about objectively).
4. Are you, a .NET Developer/Blogger/Trainer/Writer/Thinker even anywhere close to the mainstream in terms of adopting technology? I can answer this one for you. You're not. You're way ahead of most people using Microsoft's development tools. I still know plenty of developers using VB6 and don't even know what a blog is. Microsoft is not disappointing as many people as it may seem, IMO.
This opinion, as unpopular as it may be, is mostly due to the fact that when I've got customers hounding me for a release or update, I usually think, “get off my back, will ya?”. And since I don't enjoy being a hypocrite, I'm not going to do that to Microsoft (or any software company for that matter).
UPDATE: I agree with the people that are saying they think it's silly for Yukon to delay Whidbey (although I think we haven't been told exactly why). I also don't entirely agree with what Tom Rizzo said about how customers really want the database and dev tools to come out at the same time. My point was really just that I think getting upset over software slips is most times, pointless.