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More from the MVP Summit: Go forth and see the world!

There are obviously exceptions, but as a whole, the entire .Net community would be much better off if we would collectively pay more attention to and interact more with other development communities and traditions.  I was somewhat agitated at the obvious feelings of novelty and excitement when features or technologies were demonstrated yesterday at the MVP Summit that have been available in other products and languages for years (IntelliJ, Eclipse, or even ReSharper).  I’ve paid attention to the Java world for quite awhile and Agile Java is undoubtedly the primary influence on Agile .Net, but the last couple years have really opened up my eyes to the tools and techniques from other communities (Ruby, etc.).  We’ve got a lot to learn, and steal, from the rest of the world.  Ignorance, Microsoft blinders, and a bit of an echo chamber effect in .Net are hurting our community.

Software development is still a young profession that’s in a state of constant flux and it’s just not smart to put your head in the sand.  I’m seeing plenty of clients that make their development projects more difficult than they have to be because they just don’t know about existing tools or better techniques.   “Not Invented Here” isn’t just caused by cleverness and arrogance run amok, it’s mostly attributable to just not knowing what’s out there.

Yeah, I know, we all want work to end at 5 pm.  But development is the profession we chose, and if constant learning doesn’t suit you, it’s time to move onto something else.  I know the day will come when I don’t want to keep up anymore.  If nothing else, go be the kind of project manager that tells his/her developers that they understand their job because they coded in COBOL (VB6/ASP/PL/SQL for me) back in the day. 

About Jeremy Miller

Jeremy is the Chief Software Architect at Dovetail Software, the coolest ISV in Austin. Jeremy began his IT career writing "Shadow IT" applications to automate his engineering documentation, then wandered into software development because it looked like more fun. Jeremy is the author of the open source StructureMap tool for Dependency Injection with .Net, StoryTeller for supercharged acceptance testing in .Net, and one of the principal developers behind FubuMVC. Jeremy's thoughts on all things software can be found at The Shade Tree Developer at http://codebetter.com/jeremymiller.
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  • http://www.portraitkingdom.com portrait artist

    This event is really something to look forward to. Personally, I was expecting some good things about Agile because despite of its wide usefulness on our project, it looks like it really requires people to work together. Thatโ€™s difficult for us since our people come from various points in the world.

  • http://wolf@geekpunk.org mwolf

    david true, look at apple…. they are a perfect example, both good and bad… looking at what 3rd party users are using and integrating…

    I’m all for ms integrating oss technologies / concepts in… the good and bad that has come w/ the open source movement in java is how much there is out there, the bad is how much you need to spread yourself thin to integrate all the pieces toplay all nicey nice…

  • http://codebetter.com/blogs/jeremy.miller jmiller

    Nice point David.

  • http://elegantcode.com David Starr

    MS seems to look at the .Net OSS and community as a test lab, which is a reasonable way to approach it. Look at what Guthrie and crew are thinking about MVC. Monorail is so popular, let’s build it in.

    This approach gets the highest value ideas vetted for MS without having to do the R&D in house in many cases. Let’s face it, not only is this a legitimate business practice, but it isn’t a half bad idea for learning what the community really wants.

  • JS

    This is a bogus, kind of narssistic post … You feel others don’t know whats going on in the rest of the world but its just not true, sorry … you are not the only one, everybody is learning and growing.

  • http://codebetter.com/blogs/jeremy.miller jmiller

    Scott,

    It feels like that at times, but every (all 2 of them) product group we talked to was familiar with competitors, and I was pretty happy about that.

  • http://www.lazycoder.com Scott

    No chance in hell of this happening. MS is too afraid of patent infringement to look at other tech.

    The FUD that is spun by MS-Marketing and all their minions is that OSS is evil and wants to keep you from making money by giving away your product for free. That’s the party line, that’s what keeps people firmly in the MS camp. “No one ever got fired for buying Microsoft”. Besides, all that OSS crap is just made by hobby programmers right? It’s not stable.

    Those are the arguments I’ve heard in the past few years.

  • http://davidhayden.com/blog/dave/ dhayden

    I tend to be a glass half-full kinda guy and usually get excited about any progress, but the more I use OSS Tools the more I realize new features in various Microsoft offerings are not so new and can often be less feature-rich than existing OSS or 3rd Party Tools.

    I think getting out of our comfort zone and using unfamiliar tools and languages is one of the best ways to learn. The insights you gain will often help you better understand the tools and components you have been using for years.

  • http://weblogs.asp.net/astopford Andy Stopford

    You can look to other techs to see how they are pushing the fold but so too is our own field. OSS in the .NET world has created some of its own new areas. More to less OSS is largely upaid work that is done after 5 and just about every moment of your spare time (weekends and all). You have to seriously love coding to commit like this but you get the freedom away from any day job pressures to explore your own concepts and create your own new ideas.

    .NET in the testing field is breaking new ground on our Java or Ruby brothers, both in the OSS space and within MSR.

  • http://iancooper.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!844BD2811F9ABE9C!325.entry Ian Cooper

    Jeremy you are spot on. The pragmatic guys made a similar assertion in their ‘Pragmatic Programmer’ that developers needed to spend 4-5 hours a week on coding and learn a new language a year. It should be a commitment we all make.

  • sergiopereira

    @Steve: you’re right on.
    We get a little dumber every time MS lauches their N*.* replacement, weakening the struggling community, and keeping the majority of .Net shops in the habit of always waiting for MS-badged components.

  • http://jaysonknight.com/blog jayson knight

    I’d say that 90% of the developers I’ve worked with in the past end their profession at 5pm each day. It’s quite frustrating actually, and it seems that the only time they learn new stuff is when mgmt crams it down their throats. We are the minority it would seem, which is unfortunate.

  • http://michaeldotnet.blogspot.com Michael Letterle

    That was one of the great things about CodeMash (http://www.codemash.org) earlier this year in Ohio, everyone getting together to learn :)

  • http://haacked.com/ Haacked

    Jeremey, your “AMEN” quotient is quite high as well, brother.

    I wrote on a similar topic in February 200, “Better Developers Through Diversity” http://haacked.com/archive/2006/02/16/BetterDevelopersThroughDiversity.aspx

    Borrowing from Fatboy Slim (who borrowed it from others of course). ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Seth Godin actually touches upon this as well today: “Thrill Seekers”.
    http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2007/03/thrill_seekers.html

    The .NET community needs to become a community of Thrill Seekers! Geronimooooo!

  • Steve

    Good comments.

    I think that this is where the Java community really outshines the .NET one.

    Take for instance – Hibernate. How many .NET developers even know what NHibernate is?

    Microsoft bugs me in that they don’t promote these tools. ie. NUnit, NHibernate, etc… they instead just go out and try to reinvent the same wheel, with MS speak.

    Every since they recreated what NUnit does I’ve quested Microsoft. Is it because they fear lawsuits?

    But, back to topic: Jim Holmes and Jim Avery wrote a book ‘Windows Developer Power Tools’ and it covers alot of tools like Rhino.Mocks, etc… – it’s a good read, really shows all the great development efforts going on in the .NET community outside of Redmond

  • http://sqlservercode.blogspot.com/ Denis the SQL Menace

    True,
    if you are a Dinosaur coder then you will go the way of the Dinosaur (which if I recall correctly wasn’t good)

    Denis