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Maybe it’s just not that bad to be a Microsoft Developer

[EDIT] I confused Mike Gunderloy with Jon Golloway.  My apologies to both.  I would have spent a lot more time on this if I’d realized people were actually going to read it;)


Maybe things aren’t really all that bad:  John Lam on Microsoft and IronRuby.

Yes, I’m starting to feel more and more like a “Left Behind” for sticking with .Net instead of moving on to Ruby, but there is some potentially cool stuff on the horizon in the MS world.  I was going to finish a response to Martin Fowler’s RubyMicrosoft post, but I think I’ll pass. 

Last year when I first realized that I was going to need to change jobs, I tried first to switch to a Ruby/RoR shop with no success.  I watch Mike Gunderloy’s accounts of leaving the .Net fold very carefully.  In the meantime, it’s just too economically restrictive to leave the MS camp. 

But you know what, here’s some reasons to feel optimistic about remaining a .Net developer:

  1. I’ve been a little bit dubious, but I think that a potentially strong community is starting to coalesce around the ALT.NET moniker, and I definitely want to be a part.  I’m sure the backlash has already started somewhere, but I think ALT.NET can be something good (even though it’s mostly old stuff that just hasn’t gone mainstream).
  2. The OSS community for Microsoft development actually exists and gets more attention than ever.  Yeah, it lags Java in a bad way, but it’s getting better.
  3. The blogosphere for .Net development is better than ever.  There are more voices in .Net development now than the tired old “Super Mort” leadership left over from the VB6 days.
  4. This has a long, long way to go, but I’ll add a definite and growing awareness in the .Net development in regards to better practices and design techniques.  We’re becoming more as a community than just a bunch of drag n’dropping Mort’s.  Every time I meet up with .Net developers there’s always some griping about Mort’s and how our shops don’t use good engineering practices — but we’re talking about doing and thinking about doing things better and that’s what’s important.  The awareness alone is a positive thing.
  5. .Net development is simply growing up into bigger and bigger development.  It’s not like the VB6 days where you were so limited in power to take on enterprise development.
  6. C# 3 rocks.  I’d still rather have a performant Ruby with kickass IDE support, but C# 3 is going to be a big improvement.  Lambda expressions + the type inference alone are almost enough for me.
  7. DotNetRocks & Hanselminutes.  I wasn’t that big of a fan at first, but the two shows are starting to have more and more interesting content rather than just more “memorize this new API from Microsoft” content.

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.ayende.com/Blog/ Ayende Rahien

    NHibernate was recently released, log4net had a release in the last 6 months, Castle is getting ready for another release, Rhino Mocks is being released at regular intervals. Boo just had a new release, etc. Those are just the projects that I have personal interest at.

  • http://www.filehelpers.com Marcos Meli

    As .NET open source developer I cant understand what Im reading !!

    “The OSS community for Microsoft development actually exists and gets more attention than ever. Yeah, it lags Java in a bad way, but it’s getting better.”

    You said “more attention” I think that is discussed a bit more, but is a lacky ecosystem and all in the Open Source world know that.

    What new open source product do you see lastly ??
    How many open source product last more than 1 year ??
    How many BIG .NET open source products release recently ?? NAnt, NDoc (no more releases), near none !!
    How many .NET developers want to help in open source ??
    How much dudes in the BlogSphere review open source products !! ??

    And after the fight with TD.NET

    .NET is a bad place for passionate developers, and maybe good for people that only want to make money and dont matter what happend with his lifes !!

    Just my 2 cents
    Open Source Developer

  • http://colinjack.blogspot.com/ Colin Jack

    I cannot disagree with anything you say but in general I think Microsofts attitude and behavior is worrying.

  • http://www.evanhoff.com/ Evan

    Contrary to most of what the comments express. I’m with you 100% on this. Rather than hijacking your blog, I posted my comments here:


  • http://substantiality.net Sam Smoot


    > “There are bad _Rails_ programmers too.”

    Corrected that for you. :)

  • http://codebetter.com/blogs/jeremy.miller Jeremy D. Miller


    1.) Chill out dude.
    2.) You know the score, I don’t have infinite control over the technology that I get to use on the job.
    3.) The jumping into Ruby plan just didn’t work last time, which isn’t to say that it couldn’t work later. You could say that my decision to stay in .Net really isn’t a decision, just inertia.
    4.) You can call me lots of things, but I’m not a kneejerk MS shill. My project is using plenty of technologies not invented in Redmond, and I’m sleeping just fine over that.

    “What happened to I’ll use what I like and makes sense?”

    I’d certainly hope that describes me, but unfortunately what “makes sense” is often bounded by the skillsets of your client.

  • Chris Martin

    I’ve been reading you for, what seems like, years. But, I have to agree that this post is fuckin’ weak!

    Are you seriously basing your career on what other people think about technology?

    You’re saying that you are going to stay a. NET developer because it will probably be really cool?

    What happened to I’ll use what I like and makes sense?

  • http://dotnet.kapenilattex.com Jon Limjap

    Just as long as you’re not Jamie Cansdale, I’m sure!

  • http://www.lazycoder.com Scott

    Steve H:

    Read Jon’s “5 things you don’t know about me”. He *is* a rockstar. 😉

  • http://stevenharman.net Steven Harman

    I was going to say… What’s the big deal with Jon Galloway? Sure he’s bald and kind of looks like Mr. Clean, but what does that have to do with being a rockstar developer?

  • http://weblogs.asp.net/jgalloway Jon Galloway

    I think you’ve got my name switched with Mike Gunderloy. I’m still a dedicated MS junkie.

  • http://www.webgambit.com Karthik Hariharan

    The blogosphere and the user groups I’ve gone to are the main reason I’ve stuck with .NET…for me its not so much about the technology, but the people.

    But I agree, the paycheck doesn’t hurt either 😉

    I’m also watching Jon Galloway with great interest.

  • http://codebetter.com/blogs/jeremy.miller Jeremy D. Miller


    I’ll have to let you google for “Mort, Elvis, and Einstein” so as to not encourage any prejudices.


    I broke a personal rule on this post by using the term ‘Mort’ in a blog post. That rule goes right back into effect. My apologies (but you’re not a Mort if you’re even reading blogs).

    “And if you switch to Ruby, you know what you will find? There are bad Ruby programmers too.

    — I have no illusions on that front whatsoever. I’ve worked some on legacy Java code the last 8 months and it wasn’t pretty. No community is immune.

  • http://haacked.com/ Haacked

    Looking forward to building migrations for .NET using IronRuby. I hope Jon does it for us. But I may want to get in on that. 😉

  • http://www.e-Crescendo.com jdn

    Just a thought, but….

    I think people who embrace Alt.NET would have a better chance of making real progress and spreading change if they stopped implicitly or explicitly insulting Microsoft developers who have not yet embraced Alt.NET.

    Could someone talk about improving .NET development without taking shots about Morts or referencing crack pipes (Bellware’s comment previously)?

    I mean, just from a marketing perspective, it would seem to be useful. I’ve started using a lot of what I’ve read here and in other places, but the constant “Look at me, I’m great, you aren’t” attitude is really grating.

    And your blog is probably not the most obvious place for this comment, since usually your posts are the most helpful, but still…

    And if you switch to Ruby, you know what you will find? There are bad Ruby programmers too.

  • Lion

    Sorry to post a bit off topic, but I’ve seen this in a lot of blogs lately, and I just had to ask.

    What’s a Mort?

  • http://davidhayden.com/blog/dave/ David Hayden

    I think it is pretty good to be a .NET developer.

    Two things I find to often be true.

    The grass always appears to be greener on the other side, but that is often because I only see the negatives on my side and the positives on the other. When I get to the other side, I often end up just trading problems for problems and realizing the original side wasn’t that bad :)

    Blogs often create perceptions rather than realities, and I need to separate opinion from fact. I constantly remind myself to beware of bloggers who step outside their level of expertise no matter how much of an authority or respected they are on specific subjects.



  • http://codebetter.com/blogs/jeremy.miller Jeremy D. Miller

    I don’t do “profound” at 6 in the morning Sam.

  • http://codebetter.com/blogs/sam.gentile Sam Gentile

    Like Serigo said, these are all valid posts but coming in the face of the Martin post and such, I just find this personally to be one of yor “weaker” posts. I know you too well to believe this is just a “let’s show whats good post” in response, but I can’t disagree with anything here

  • sergiopereira

    All of these are valid points, but I just hope it doesn’t take forever for us to “steal .net from MS.” :) With a little luck we can steal Anders and ScottGu too!