In healthy programming ecosystems, new languages and supporting frameworks develop not only through innovation, but also by adopting what works well in other programming languages. Microsoft has long been criticized for ignoring well established approaches and tools to developing software. For example, Microsoft has only recently begun to incorporate basic support for unit testing, continuous integration, and Object Relational Mapping (ORM) even though these feature have been available for years in the Java world (JUnit, Ant, Hibernate).
"I think the new Microsoft MVC framework (model viewer controller) is a positive example of Microsoft trying to change this historic trend.
Microsoft not only went out of its way to incorporate what worked well in other MVC frameworks, such as Ruby on Rails, Django, MonoRail, and Struts, but is also making it pluggable so that it can more easily be used with any external tools and frameworks, Ball says.
"In my view this is an acknowledgement that they have finally recognized the desire of .NET developers to have more freedom and to take a more vendor agnostic approach in how they build software.
Better still, MVC, which is in beta, has been envisioned in a very open way, Ball says. It was unveiled at a small conference called the ALT.NET conference. (Another ALT.NET conference is coming up on April 18th in Seattle.)
The conference was primarily put together by kind of fringe community within the .NET community who were thought leaders, people who were critical of the choices that Microsoft makes in terms of not paying attention to whats best in the industry.
|Smart IT Columns|
Who Killed the Software Engineer? (Hint: It Happened in College)
Why Is Software Development So Hard?
The 2008 IT Salary Guide
Understanding Your 'Idiot' Manager
These are individuals who desire a more pragmatic approach than the traditional .NET cloister.
Instead of saying Im a programmer with a certain language, [they desire] to be more agnostic. They say, Im a developer. I want to use the best tools available, and in order to do that, Ive got to be able to try all sorts of things, and be more of an international citizen.
International citizen. The phrase has a real ring to it. Who knows? Maybe the .NET community is about to become a very hip and worldly group.
Top .NET Blogs
The following is Balls list of favorite .NET blogs. (He freely admits he has left out some major thought leaders.)
Jeff Atwood This popular blogger is a .NET developer, but he usually writes about the human/social aspects of programming, and so he appeals to a wide cross section of audiences.
Scott Hanselman Also does a podcast (Hanselminutes) and has very popular tool list. Recently went to work for Microsoft.
Jeremy Miller One of the more popular and active bloggers on Codebetter.com, which hosts a dozen prominent bloggers and has over 20,000 subscribers. He seems to be the most active, and often writes about architecture and software best practices.
Phil Haack A prominent .NET open source advocate who recently went to work for Microsoft.
Roy Osherove Creator of the Regulator Regular Expression tool. He writes extensively about Agile and Test-Driven Development.
Oren Eini Creator of Rhino.Mocks. Prolific blogger who writes about a variety of topics, including Domain Specific Languages, NHibernate (.NET version of the Hibernate ORM framework), and IoC containers. He is considered a thought leader when it comes challenging standard Microsoft approaches and tools without actually abandoning the programming environment.
Jeffrey Palermo A Codebetter blogger whos writing book on the new MVC framework.
David Laribee An organizer of alt.net conferences, Laribee coined the phrase Alt.Net.
Jean-Paul BooHoo A developer and prominent trainer who writes and teaches about a variety of best practices in .NET.
Rob Conery Creator of subsonic framework and also a vocal open source advocate. Recently went to work for Microsoft.