Monday, August 09, 2010

Coding Snobs and WebMatrix

I've had a feeling for a while now that programming is becoming to nerd dominated and fad driven. If you do a Google search on, it will be eye opening just how opinionated these little geeks can be. But if you dig past all their little fo arguments about best practices, the craft of software development, how webmatrix is a step backwards, etc... you begin to reveal that the primary motivator for the geek squad is that tools like the WebMatrix might make Web Development easier, which threatens the geek's elitist geek only club.

I started in Web Development with classic ASP. All the critiques of classic ASP and for that matter PHP leveled by the geek elite are generally accurate (spaghetti code, no separation of concerns, no OOP, hard to test, violating the DRY principle, etc...). But to me at least, it sure seems like I got more web applications out the door back then. Half the time now I'm struggling to keep up with technology rather than solving client problems.

Case in point. I work with an extremely talented developer. He took a stab at Silverlight. It took him about a month to get some even basic concepts like taking data from a user's input and saving it to the database. I was in a similar situation with Silverlight 3 awhile back, where I was using it but decided to stop when I started running into problems doing what I would think are simple things. The datasave models I think are way to complicated. The geeks will stay up 14 hours a day coding to figure things out. I'm fine with that, if IT IS NECESSARY. But I really don't think the pain is necessary, not if Silverlight was being designed for Morts rather than Einsteins and Elvisis (using Microsoft's terminology to describe developers). I don't mind have to stretch and learn new things to get problems solved, but doing basic stuff like data connectivity shouldn't be as hard as it seems to be sometimes, and I think the issues arise because Microsoft for so long has been driven by the elite geek crowd. This is a small crowd, and if Microsoft continues to only target tools at this crowd, Microsoft will go the way of Novell and Lotus Notes.

That being said, I think webmatrix was a great step by Microsoft, unfortunately it is a step that should have been made around 2003. Not only does webmatrix have to lure PHP developers, but it also has to lure people away from Mac's to PC's. That is a tough sell to the growing Mac hipster crowd, and uphill battle. But I give Microsoft props for trying.

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