I’m writing a brief article today as a brief teaser on my StructureMap lessons learned talk for NDC 2009. One of the 3 main themes of this talk is just about how our aesthetic expectations of a framework have changed and increased over the last 5 years. As an example, StructureMap circa 2004 could only be used with copious amounts of verbose Xml and/or StructureMap attributes scattered all over the code. Personally, I would find the StructureMap of 2004 to be completely unusable and fall far short of the expectations for framework usability I have today in 2009.
I think the single biggest improvements in StructureMap usage for me personally is using the Registry DSL with Intellisense and type safety to do the configuration as opposed to copious Xml with lots of strings. The same thing applies to Fluent NHibernate’s DSL compared to the old error prone hbm.xml files.
I did quite a bit of work in server side Java in 2007 and the only thing I remember is how much I hated all the freaking Xml cruft. I don’t have anything against Xml in general, or at least for the things Xml was actually meant for in the first place, but I’m completely done with coding in Xml.
So my question to you is can we declare the mid-2000′s fling with programming by Xml files to be a dead or dying trend? Is there anyone out there that still believes in “just make it an Xml file so we can change things without compiling?” Microsoft is still churning out tools that have quite a bit of Xml heft behind them (what’s up with their love affair with Xaml?), but do you think that trend is at least waning?