Why so Anti-Microsoft Lately?

There is much negative feeling about Microsoft from some in the dev community of late. Either that or .NET Core just happens to have given them fresh ammunition for Twitter.

I suppose like many large companies, they have over time made asshole moves in an effort to make as much money as possible. They have attempted to squash open source projects by releasing their own competitive efforts, knowing full well that the “dark matter developers” will likely adopt their solution, unaware of the choices available to them (or simply content with what they’ve got). MS could’ve invested effort in OpenRasta, but instead built WebAPI. They could’ve invested effort in OpenWrap but instead built nuget (I don’t mean to pick on Seb here; they’re just the examples that sprung to mind). Not to mention the recent debugging library fiasco.

However it’s not all bad. I believe that they have made, and continue to produce, some excellent tech. Visual Studio is excellent. C# is a great language, powerful but very usable and easy to learn. MVC is good. WebAPI is good. Even Entity Framework 5+ is great now (but do yourself a favour and use the EF Reverse POCO Generator tool). Xaml is excellent and powerful (but much too verbose). Nuget is okay. Well, it solves what was a massive problem, and only introduces a little friction to pay for it. It’s adoption for other things, like Octopus Deploy, mean it’s actually quite useful.

On top of this, there are some great libraries/frameworks built on .NET. NServiceBus is a particular favourite of mine, but there’s NancyFx, RavenDB, Json.NET, RestSharp.

.NET itself is and has been ideal for many things, both on the server and the desktop. That is not rendered false just because there is now more choice.

While I suppose I would be labelled as a .NET developer currently, I’m actually interested in balance and open-mindedness, rather than outright pushing MS. I don’t believe that equality means overbalancing the scales the other way.

Some take the attitude that if you’re still on .NET, your career is dying. .NET itself is dying. .NET Core is failure. One person even suggested Windows has no future. There’s an attitude from some that one is a bad developer and should use Go/Rust/Python/Scala/Java/LOLCODE. You should not use Windows. These people usually have some compelling war story or other, but rarely have anything objective to back it up, and I’ve seen nothing that should induce panic ragequitting of the .NET platform.

.NET is merely one solution from many, and if you decide against .NET for your project, do so not because you dislike the company, but because for your particular requirements it is not the best fit. Yes, .NET Core’s tooling progress has been a bit of a disaster while it works out what it wants to be. However, if you find yourself making architectural choices on a new project a year from now, you should be looking again at .NET Core to see if it’s right for you. Just because it’s not ready now doesn’t mean it won’t ever be, and you’d be remiss in your duties not to bother finding out.

It’s not all about the language…

.NET and Microsoft is a PLATFORM. Learning new languages is easy. Learning their standard libraries is harder. Learning language idioms is harder still. Learning how to build a scalable, robust app in your shiny new language that keeps it’s data in a store you’re not familiar with, on servers your team isn’t used to, and doing all that of that in an idiomatic way that won’t bite you in the ass in a few months’ time when its hard to change is a downright MAMMOTH task.

And it’s not all about you, either.

Remember if you have a team invested in .NET/Windows/Microsoft, that you can’t “just” start using Cassandra+RabbitMQ+Scala+Python+ReactJS on your next project. There is time needed for people to level-up on that tech – idioms learned, libraries chosen, spikes built and burned down. Perhaps new build tools to be purchased/deployed/understood/integrated/scripts written for. This is a big part of the consideration.

I’ve had people say of MS, .NET and related tech that “it’s a shitshow”, “there are better things”, “it’s dying”, “there’s no community”, “the libraries aren’t as good”, “there aren’t as many libraries”, “it’s legacy”. None of these statements really have anything to back them up, and one man’s magical solved-my-problem perfectly is another man’s OMG HOW DO EVEN TALK TO KAFKA WITH THIS? As a profession we’d do well to leave the prejudice behind and have some balance. Use what works and offers the best balance of learning/shiny and dependable/expedient.

3 thoughts on “Why so Anti-Microsoft Lately?

  1. You are missing out what they are trying to do with patents, disrupt OSS installs like in the city of Munich. I stay away from anything that helps Microsoft because they certainly don’t help us as a global society. Not planning to work in .net ever again. So many more socially responsible tech choices out there.

  2. That’s a fair point, well made. My concern is that taken to extremes, you wouldn’t be able to buy a car if you knew what went on in the motor and oil industries, and because of the pollution. Even electric cars hurt the environment when it comes to battery manufacturing and disposal. You wouldn’t be able to buy most medicines, because they’re all made by Proctor & Gamble and priced high for profit instead of low for the benefit of the poor.

    I don’t know where the line is, so I choose to focus on the tech. Take what MS has provided, and try and use it to make things that *are* good and useful.

    I wonder what evils Oracle, IBM, Sun have committed that would make them and by extension everything they’ve created (Java among them) equally socially irresponsible? Assuming you also dislike Apple, what’s left? Leave the industry entirely?

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