‘Does Microsoft move the cheese too often?’

Every now and again I bother to read something about my profession.  I know that this sounds rather bad – continuous professional development and all that stuff – but usually I’m too busy doing stuff to read about what others are doing or what I might be doing in 2 years time.  And so I encountered this little piece:


I am a professional .NET developer (OK…I make money by writing code using .NET – my professionalism is up to my clients and employer to comment on!) and yes, it’s a rapidly changing world.  But that doesn’t mean that you have to adapt what you’re doing all the time to keep up with Microsoft.  Now, I can already hear the ceremonial disembowelling cutlasses being sharpened by more hardcore developers, but let’s continue…

I still write code using the .NET 2.0 and .NET 3.5 frameworks, as well as .NET 4.0  Why? Three reasons:

  • The earlier frameworks often do everything that the application needs to do.
  • I understand how they work better than .NET 4.0.  So, I find it faster to create code and hence solve the customer’s problems.
  • The customer may not have (or want to have) the most up to date framework on their machines.  And who am I to say otherwise if the earlier stuff does the job?

Whilst there are some very sensible reasons for making use of the most current, stable version of any technology, it’s worth remembering that many people don’t care what you develop their software in as long as it works, is maintainable and doesn’t cost them the Earth. the preoccupation with newer, shinier stuff comes mainly from us – the developers – who get hooked in to the stuff that the tool makers – Microsoft et al – produce. If we said ‘No, bugger off’ more frequently things might settle down.

I also develop software in PHP and JavaScript, and maintain a lot of legacy stuff in Microsoft VB6.  I do this because, bluntly, people pay me to do it.  And therein lies the answer to the question above.  Microsoft change stuff reasonably frequently – that’s their privilege.  It’s also our privilege to not get roped in to the constant change process.  Remember WHY we write code – it’s to solve problems – not keep the develoeprs at Redmond in gainful employment.

Remember our customers – they’re the people who should matter to us – not Microsoft’s behaviour.





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