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.NET Is the Favorite in the Great Platform Race

.NET Is the Favorite in the Great Platform Race

Welcome to the first "official," full-length issue of .NET Developer's Journal. This month's issue features a migration theme. In some cases, this refers to the migration from COM to .NET. In other cases, it might mean migration from completely non-Microsoft platforms, such as Java. Regardless of from which platforms people are migrating to .NET, there seem to be a few different views currently circulating in the industry about the pace at which this overall migration process is proceeding. At one end of the spectrum, of course, you have those who say that the whole world is on fire with .NET and that complete market dominance is virtually guaranteed by this time next year. At the other extreme, you have those who claim that .NET is shaping up into a complete disaster for Redmond. Personally, I believe that the truth lies somewhere between these two extremes.

As evidence that .NET is catching on at a faster-than-expected pace, advocates of the overly optimistic position tend to cite mainly anecdotal evidence. For example, the fact that a few big-name companies have built .NET-based solutions that are saving them lots of money. Similarly, the fact that some elements of .NET are now available on exactly two other operating systems - FreeBSD and Linux - is supposed to mean that .NET is in some way shaping up as a platform-independent alternative to Java.

Meanwhile, the fact that the numbers of Java developers and technologies both continue to grow rapidly serves as a central argument for those who would say that the .NET revolution has failed completely. After all, says this group, even many of Microsoft's oldest and most dedicated developers - the Visual Basic programmers - have refused to simply "go along with the program" when asked to change their entire programming approach to match the new requirements of VB.NET. These resistant VB6 developers - the ".NOT" movement, as they have come to be known - are perhaps the best examples of the Great .NET Migration stalling dead in its tracks.

While I believe it is true that the pace of developer migration to .NET has not yet become all that it could be, I also believe that there is still considerable reason for optimism going forward. For example, within just a few years, the number of .NET developers and organizations using .NET is predicted to be just about equal to that of Java. Not bad for a platform that is entering the race four to six years (depending upon whether you count from .NET's initial beta in 2000 or its final release in 2002) after its competitor!

Furthermore, I think we have to remember to take the cyclical nature of the economy into account here. Simply put: things are bad now. However, they won't stay bad forever. Companies that are too afraid to begin the kind of R&D now that would be required for a migration to .NET may well be among the first to jump on the bandwagon as soon as economic conditions improve.

Indeed, poor economic conditions often prove the greatest stimulus for bold new uses of technology. I was recently reminded of this myself when I stumbled across the RoboNerd Web site (www.robonerd.com). The poor economy forced these book authors' publisher into bankruptcy, so what did they do? They built a Web site that turns lemons into lemonade by allowing technology authors to publish direct to the developer market and keep an even greater share of the spoils for themselves. Just think how many more cost savings like this will become possible as organizations become more and more willing to interconnect their essential business processes with one another via .NET and XML Web services!

The final reason for optimism that I would cite should probably be the most obvious to us all - the fact that the .NET platform is just plain brilliant technology. What other platform allows you to choose the language that you want to use - so the VB developer who is fresh out of college feels just as comfortable as the COBOL guru who has been in the business for 40 years? What other platform allows you to always use exactly the same tools and skills to create an application - regardless of whether it is for the desktop, for the Web, or for a handheld device? To my mind, there are no alternatives - .NET is clearly the winner in the Great Platform Race of the early 21st century!

So, what do you think? Are people migrating to the .NET platform faster, slower, or just about at the pace you would expect, considering that Microsoft has "bet the company" on this initiative? Let me know your thoughts at [email protected]!

More Stories By Derek Ferguson

Derek Ferguson, founding editor and editor-in-chief of .Net Developer's Journal, is a noted technology expert and former Microsoft MVP.

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Most Recent Comments
Former VBer 11/06/03 09:16:28 AM EST

I would have no problem with this article if the title was changed from ".Net is the Favorite" to ".Net is MY Favorite"

.NET sucks 02/07/03 12:48:00 AM EST

F*CK .NET and Microsoft. Congratulations to the Microsoft marketing team for being able to convince people that a terrible platform like .NET is nearly as good as J2EE.

Javier Ram 01/24/03 11:00:00 PM EST

It is very fun the fights between the .net and java guys.

.Net for example is easy to use, i develop an deploy a functional webservice in 2 days, yes 2 days.

Java in the other side is an open standard, but is a bit difficult.

I feel comfortable with .net and this is the mos important for me.

Wheater if you choose .net or java, put in your mind to unleash your creativity

Captain Blye 01/21/03 09:27:00 AM EST

MS bashed VM's as slow despite JIT; now they turn around, copy the platform, architecture, language and call it C# and VS becomes .NET. WOW, the amazing development that comes from nowhere to compete in such a short time. Where did it come from? .NET only points out the need for a better java IDE. As for multi-lang support, I'd rather have the simplest language of them all - JAVA that to have to know many languages. Furthermore, I won't support a company that first bashes, then copies another companies technology. If you want to pay bills to MS the way you pay phone and electric bills now. Go ahead and jump from the best platform to the best propaganda, marketing, and exploitive company in the world - MS.

Mark 01/15/03 01:21:00 PM EST

The title is merely an opinion. No evidence is advanced to prove it.

jay_sdk 01/15/03 01:04:00 PM EST

Look, I have no interest in the J2EE vs. .Net wars. It's all just a way to do similar things. But this article is sooooooo off base. The title is ".Net Favourite in the great platform race", but the article only shows the success of J2EE currently, and the lack .Net development. I work for a software company as a developer and we offer both .Net and J2EE APIs. As far as I am aware, we have no customers live with .Net at all, whereas J2EE is massive. Whatever MS web dev there is is still all COM/ASP based. Sounds to me like trying to push a new dev magazine and bring a false confidence to its readers...

The most interesting news around .Net the last few months was MS promising to port .Net to FreeBSD, and the Mono project from the Ximian guys.

Bob 01/15/03 08:12:00 AM EST

"What other platform allows you to choose the language that you want to use - so the VB developer who is fresh out of college feels just as comfortable as the COBOL guru who has been in the business for 40 years? What other platform allows you to always use exactly the same tools and skills to create an application - regardless of whether it is for the desktop, for the Web, or for a handheld device?"

Like the COBOL guy is developing for Windows? Not too damn likely. Like the Windows platform is the only platform we're going to encounter on all desktops, Web servers, and handhelds? Not too damn likely. Sorry, but most of the world isn't *only* COM/DOM, oops, I mean DNA, oops, I mean .Net, oops, I mean ... So when Billy yanks us around to another platform next week, you going to have us all migrate yet again?

Tom 01/15/03 07:52:00 AM EST

.NET will succeed sooner or later because MS won't give the development community any choice. Newer versions of products won't support any development or access method other than .NET, and developers will be compelled to follow suit simply because the installed base, which will be compelled to upgrade because of the new licensing scheme, is upgrading too. "Vendor lock" at its finest.

Camille Jacks 01/14/03 06:24:00 PM EST

I think it's just getting underway. I still think its something to get excited about as a developer. We worked on a tool development with Microsoft
http://www.ecriteria.net/press_webservice.asp for our web service initiatives at www.ecriteria.net database service.

I would stay optimistic, real progress is often slow, but steady.

Mark 01/14/03 06:04:00 PM EST

I am a consultant in the Salt Lake City Area. I have contacts throughout the industry in this region. I am seeing almost no adoption of .NET.

There was a lot of interest when it first came out. I heard a lot of people bragging about this or that feature, most of which had existed in Java for years. Then it seemed to die down to nothing.

Java development in this area has increased considerably since that time. A lot of projects that I knew of evaluated .NET and then decided that Java was the better choice. In a way .NET has been a great advertisement for Java. Copying Java was the best endorsement Microsoft could have given.

I like .NET. I think that it is a vast improvement over Microsoft's past offerings in most ways. It makes it easy for a Java developer to do work on the Microsoft side of the fence.

One downside, however, is that Microsoft has given up the entry level stuff. The old Visual Basic and ASP were very popular with programmers who were doing simple projects and who did not want the complexity of Java. They were not very elegant or object oriented but they were great for quick and dirty projects.

Now Microsoft has given that up in favor of a Java-clone solution which has all the complexity of Java and more.

Microsoft is a big company and I'm sure that .NET will gain a position in the industry by brute force if for no other reason. However, I do not think that it will dominate any time soon. The UNIX and LINUX communities are quite large and you would have to be nuts to think that .NET was the right choice on those platforms.

If the industry is stupid enough to let Microsoft control the development environment on all platforms they will regret it for decades.

tina 01/12/03 12:56:00 AM EST

"C|net is reporting that Microsoft is dropping the name "Windows .NET Server" and going back to "Windows Server 200x" (where x is currently expected to be 3). Other products with .NET in the name are also being evaluated for renaming. Analysts are being quoted as saying that slapping .NET on so many Microsoft products has confused people as to what .NET actually means. Or could it be that customers know what it means, but nobody wants to buy it?" Obiwan Kenobi points out a similar article at ENT News

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