I’ve received quite a few comments to recent posts whining about how hard it is to keep up with Microsoft’s onslaught of developer technology (.net 2, 3, AJAX, etc.). While I’m not in the business of defending Microsoft, I do think they can’t win: if they were not innovating they’d be accused of sitting on their “monopoly” being in need of competition to force them to create new technology….
… I do acknowledge that it is difficult to keep up; but a quick look back 10 years shows that (a) what took 3 years to develop we can now create in months (if not weeks) and (b) we can now create web sites and desktop applications that were undreamed of just five years ago and (c) the tools are getting better and better and more and more reliable.
One complaint I keep hearing is that Microsoft is wringing money from developer’s pockets; which I also don’t understand, as they give away for free the express versions of all their tools, and while I personally think that being in business to turn a profit is not an evil pursuit, it is certainly true that you can learn enough of all of the skills required to get a great job (and have your tools bought for you) by downloading the free versions (and free documentation if it comes to that) from Microsoft (though nothing compares with a well written book!!)
Finally, when I compare the difficulty of learning .NET 2 or .NET 3 with learning, for example, COM, and when I compare the reliability of the release products today vs. a decade ago, I am very impressed that a company as big and potentially cumbersome as Microsoft has been able to make such incredible strides. Personally, I’m thrilled with their AJAX library, and I’m blown away by .NET 3; so much so that I bought up the name GOTDOTNET3.com and intend to move my focus to .NET3 over the next 2 years.