Somewhere Across the Sea

By Peter Coffee  |  Posted 2005-12-19 Print this article Print

Opinion: Overseas viewpoint on U.S. development offers a different perspective.

Asian developers are looking at North American efforts and seeing a rapid increase in 64-bit development, along with a reversal in a three-year decline of work on thin-client applications. Its interesting that U.S. reports, based in part on the same survey data, focus instead on a putative decline in U.S. use of Java -- in contrast with its continued ascendance in Asian projects.

Those U.S. reports note a significant uptick in North American .Net adoption. Im neither "pro" nor "con" on the subject of .Net development: Its a powerful framework, and a bold reinvention of Microsofts basic ideas of how to build software. The "on the other hand" need not be stated: The question is whether its .Net thats catching the bigger audience, or LAMP light thats casting the longer shadow.

Our flow of incoming entries for the eWEEK Excellence Awards has shown a continuing increase in the number of software candidates that are unapologetically specific to the .Net platform. I can do the same math as the developers of those products: They get a lot of productivity, and a lot of access to user share, in return for leaving what looks to them like a small number of non-Windows users as unserved potential customers.

Moreover, despite some reader feedback that accuses me of bashing Microsoft in my Dec. 5 review of Visual Studio 2005, the concluding assessment in that review praised the products "comprehensive, impressively choreographed environment for building a broad variety of applications that include both rich clients and Web services" -- that is to say, its ability to pave the way for high productivity in .Net development for many different users, devices and environments. I invite discussion of the proper balance between product features and vendor agendas in developer tool reviews on our Inside eWEEK Labs blog, where I hope to find growing opportunities for dialogue as that forum becomes more widely known to our readers.

Meanwhile, I urge U.S. developers not to assume that their decisions today define the eventual direction that the rest of the developer world will ultimately follow. The role of non-U.S. development talent has been on my radar for at least seven years, and that blip is still getting bigger.

Tell me where you think my radar needs retuning at

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Peter Coffee is Director of Platform Research at, where he serves as a liaison with the developer community to define the opportunity and clarify developers' technical requirements on the company's evolving Apex Platform. Peter previously spent 18 years with eWEEK (formerly PC Week), the national news magazine of enterprise technology practice, where he reviewed software development tools and methods and wrote regular columns on emerging technologies and professional community issues.Before he began writing full-time in 1989, Peter spent eleven years in technical and management positions at Exxon and The Aerospace Corporation, including management of the latter company's first desktop computing planning team and applied research in applications of artificial intelligence techniques. He holds an engineering degree from MIT and an MBA from Pepperdine University, he has held teaching appointments in computer science, business analytics and information systems management at Pepperdine, UCLA, and Chapman College.

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