Microsoft Counting on Developers to Follow .Net to the Cloud
"They have a big infrastructure built up around Linux and the introduction of .NET on Linux, and a Microsoft-supported distribution of that frees them up to give his developers the opportunity to look at .NET and C# as an option for building out their backend workloads that need to run on Linux and not restricting them to a different set of environments—such as a Java-only environment for example," Schmelzer said. "A strong, open-source, cross-platform CLR [Common Language Runtime] opens significant new options for building large server-based systems," said Brian McCallister, CTO of Groupon. "This significantly expands the choices developers have when finding the right tool to solve their problem. I'm very excited to have access to the quality virtual machine and tooling of the CLR without having to completely rework our production infrastructure in order to run it," McCallister said. Winning Hearts and Minds"While .NET has a loyal following on Windows, it now needs to win the hearts of the world," said Miguel de Icaza, CTO of Xamarin, creator of the Mono project and member of the board of directors of the .NET Foundation. "There are some steps that are being taken. In particular, the new ASP.NET vNext is a redesigned Web stack that brings the best advances in Web programming trends to .NET while starting from a clean slate. This builds on a solid foundation of performance, type safety, and a comprehensive and well-designed stack. Hopefully, there is a need in the world that .NET can fill in quite well and the ghosts of the past no longer exist." So Microsoft's moves are perfectly logical and evolutionary, many longtime Microsoft developers and watchers say. Ultimately, the languages, tools, plumbing and platforms are going to have to evolve to support a mobile-first, cloud-first world, said Tim Huckaby, chairman and founder of InterKnowlogy and Actus Interactive Software. "That is a world I want to live in," he said. "It's just too hard to build apps right now in the world we currently live in with so much disparity in plumbing and platform." Software developers often refer to "plumbing" code that connects application components together as opposed to the business logic of the program that instructs applications how to operate. It is often the stuff of frameworks and boilerplate components that programmers can reuse. Building cloud apps still poses a challenge, noted Jonathan Zuck, president of the Association for Competitive Technology. As the world moved to cloud apps, "it's important to move developers there comfortably, regardless of the tools they currently use," Zuck said. Developer comfort is especially important as software becomes increasingly complex and ubiquitous across the Web. "Regardless of where it is used, software is becoming more complex," said Theresa Lanowitz, analyst and founder of technology industry research firm Voke. "With the increasing complexity, it is rare that one organization owns all of the software it is working on. Code is coming from partners, suppliers, etc. Microsoft needs to make sure developers have everything they need to make their jobs of application development as productive as possible, said Lanowitz. "A mobile/cloud-first mission is completely useless if developers have to create software for the lowest common denominator," Lanowitz said. Moreover, Microsoft's open-sourcing of .NET is making developers comfortable in other ways. Xamarin's CTO De Icaza called it a "key and necessary step" to working with other developer communities.
Microsoft's strategy is sound, but .NET still has to win over the crowd.