I‘ve been developing for a long time. More than 15 years. At the start of each of those years I take a look at where tech is going and I build my roadmap for the coming year. With the end of the first full work week of the New Year behind me, I decided it was time to do my annual assessment of the landscape.
Almost Lost Me
2009 saw me starting to veer away from the Microsoft stack more than I ever had in the past. The tools just didn’t grip me like they used to, IE was facing its stiffest competition since Netscape in Chrome and Firefox, and with Vista failing to grab market share with businesses, it looked like it might be time to move on. New possibilities with the iPad and Android devices looked promising and I started to look elsewhere.
Some New Interest
2010 brought a few things with it that started to draw my interest again towards Microsoft. Windows 7 proved itself not to be a repeat of Vista. That and the release of Office 2010, Visual Studio 2010 and .NET Framework 4 and I was, once again, excited about the Microsoft stack.
Towards the end of 2010, I started to see more and more from Microsoft that made me feel that they were finally getting it again. Devices and software that truly showed innovative thinking and not simply here is version x because their shareholders said it’s time.
What I See Now
Windows Phone 7, while having some marketing difficulties, is a fantastic device… They finally seized control of the OS and they seem to have hit that sweet spot between I-don’t-care-do-what-you-want (Google) and dictatorship (Apple) necessary to give people enough rope to skip with, but not enough to hang themselves. The release of an outstanding FREE development toolset for the phone and FREE training tools makes developing for this brand new platform too tempting to resist!
The new Windows Server 2008 R2 is a great leap above R1 as was SQL Server 2008 R2. The performance improvements can be seen almost immediately. At the company where I work, we put our beast of an ASP.NET application on the two and saw almost 50% performance improvement immediately without any code changes! Now that is what I call an upgrade!!!
When Azure came out in 2009 I tried using it. Like many first generation tech, it had room for improvement. Microsoft listened to the feedback from developers and did a full redo of the interface as well as creating integrated tools for Visual Studio 2010 and now it is incredibly easy to use.
Two Big Reasons
A big advantage that I see with the Microsoft tools, applications and technologies is that they create pretty much everything to cover a business’ basic needs. From OS to productivity tools for the desktop, server and database for the back office, to the developer tools to put it all together, they make pretty much everything. This offers a level of integration and interoperability that is not really seen anywhere else in the market. Another advantage is that Microsoft has kept the applications and tools consistent. Once I learn a tool or an application, that knowledge is valuable for a number of years as Microsoft has been pretty consistent and reliable with their commitment to backward-compatibility and supporting development tools with service packs, blogs and code samples.
With continued integration, the new developer tools, a new office suite, the new phone and with Windows 7 still wowing users, I think that on top of the Microsoft stack is a pretty smart place to be. Don’t just take my word for it, though, use the links in this article to check it out for yourself!