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Tool makers rush to keep up with .NET's evolution



David Worthington
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February 1, 2010 —  (Page 1 of 4)
The rapid evolution of Microsoft's .NET platform has made it more difficult for developers to stay on the bleeding edge of its technologies, but components and productivity tools may help, experts say.

Over the last several years, the .NET platform has evolved at a "whirlwind pace," said Todd Anglin, chief evangelist of Telerik, a company that makes .NET components and tools. Developers have much more to understand and consume than in the early days of .NET when they only targeted Web forms or Windows Forms, he added.

Microsoft first shipped the .NET Framework in 2002. It is now on the cusp of releasing .NET 4.0, a remarkably different product, which will arrive later this year. The release introduces major changes to ASP.NET.

ASP.NET 4.0 is one of the biggest paradigm shifts in ASP.NET development, and it introduces significant new client-side technology, including full data binding and template programming, said Chris Meredith, ComponentOne's product manager of development tools.

"Microsoft has essentially made AJAX development too easy so far. It was drag-and-drop…and made it to the point where you almost don't need to know JavaScript or how to architect client-side apps," Meredith explained.

"It is now shifting to where the designer is being taken away, and is pushing people into that code. It is making it easy to do, but it is a very big shift in development practice.

Silverlight, a subset of the .NET runtime, was released in 2007, and Microsoft is on track to deliver Silverlight 4 later this year. Silverlight 4 will provide developers with access to Component Object Model (COM) applications and local hardware resources.

"That is an incredible cycle for anyone to abide by; it is tough on the .NET control market and on [Microsoft] customers," remarked Lino Tadros, CEO of Falafel Software, a .NET training and consulting company.

"With Silverlight, Microsoft obviously wants to compete with Adobe," and incorporating .NET technologies provides it with additional leverage, said Mike Baldwin, CEO of Dart Communications, a company that builds communications components for the .NET framework.



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Comments


02/01/2010 01:14:01 PM EST

With the flood of new technologies and CTP's pouring out of Microsoft, it's not just the tool vendors that are struggling to keep up, it's the developers as well. The biggest problem I've noticed is the sheer confusion of developers as to which technology they should use. Their confusion is then passed on to component vendors as feature requests. Once you cut through the background noise of the bleeding edge developers though, things quiet down considerably. Funny that the bleeding edge developers are the smallest segment of the market, and yet make the most amount of noise - they're the vocal bloggers, and have the potential to directly affect a company's image. And by the way - "A new emphasis on productivity" should just be called - "hedging your bets". Competition in the component market just keeps heating up, and everyone is looking for an additional revenue stream. Just think of how much money was poured into Silverlight, where the components really only have a shelf life of about 6 months at a time before Microsoft releases the next major version.. making your code obsolete. I'm glad to see Silverlight evolving so quickly, but the pace of change has a direct and negative impact on profits for component vendors. I'm personally surprised that we didn't see more component vendors go under during the past year, though we did see some reaching out for VC funding, and saw many others scaling back operations. The days of just being a "component vendor" are over in my opinion. If the company doesn't have a bigger picture plan, they're simply not going to survive in this new market.

United StatesTony


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