Application Development: 19 Reasons Why Microsoft Is Huge with Developers (and 1 Reason Why Not)
19 Reasons Why Microsoft Is Huge with Developers (and 1 Reason Why Not)
1. Developers are in Microsofts DNA:
Company Chairman and co-founder Bill Gates sought early on to focus on developers. In a statement at Microsoft's TechEd conference in summer 2008, Gates said, "I started out as a developer and that's what I remain at heart, so I have a personal interest in the future of the field. I am confident that the path we are laying out today will serve you well into the future."
2. Focus on developers comes from the top levels of the company:
With Gates gone from the day-to-day, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer represents the company's dedicated and strong focus on developers as evidenced by the video clips linked here. Most recently, Ballmer vigorously expressed his and Microsoft's affinity for developers at the company's Mix conference in March 2008, where he belted out support for Web developers. Dubbed "Monkeyboy" after one particularly passionate demonstration at a company event, Ballmer wears his support for developers on his sleeve.Developers chantWeb developers chantMonkeyboy
3. The MSDN (Microsoft Developer Network):
MSDN is Microsoft's premier developer outreach program as well as its overall developer portal. The MSDN site offers advice and tips for developers, and MSDN subscribers get early access to Microsoft technology. Apple, Adobe Systems, Google and others also court developers, but Microsoft has been at it for years and the Microsoft model is continually emulated, but rarely matched. Many companies tout their developer programs as being "like MSDN." Microsoft was one of the first companies to truly understand that the developer is the center of the innovation universe.
4. Visual Studio:
Microsoft's flagship application development tool is an IDE (integrated development environment) for professional developers and is aimed at building mission-critical enterprise applications.
5. VSIP (Visual Studio Industry Partner) Program:
VSIP is a Microsoft ecosystem program that allows third-party developers and software vendors to develop tools, components and languages for use in the Microsoft Visual Studio .NET IDE. The program offers partnership benefits including co-marketing opportunities and Visual Studio licensing options, as well as extended access to Microsoft technical and premier support. Microsoft maintains a strong developer ecosystem, with more than 200 partners delivering more than 1,000 applications.
6. Developer-oriented conferences and events:
The Microsoft PDC (Professional Developers Conference) and TechEd are among the best-attended conferences in the industry while being focused primarily on developers. Microsoft's annual Mix conference is fast becoming a must-attend event for Web developers and designers.
7. TFS (Team Foundation Server):
TFS is Microsoft's source control, data collection, reporting and project tracking solution. It is intended for collaborative software development projects. The TFS technology also is used internally by Microsoft teams, not only in the company's Developer Division, but also by the Office and Windows teams, among others.
8. Microsoft employee blogs:
Microsoft's employee blogs help spread word of new projects and technology that the company is working on, as well as helping developers better understand the inner workings of existing Microsoft offerings. The vast number of prolific technical bloggers on the Microsoft payroll is probably second to none.
9. Channel 9:
Channel 9 is another Microsoft developer outreach vehicle that uses video, a wiki and an Internet forum to maintain a "conversation" with Microsoft developers and users.
10. MSR (Microsoft Research):
MSR can be viewed as Microsoft's No. 1 secret weapon, though it is not all that secret. MSR is responsible for several technologies and components that are in the company's key products today. Its goals are to enhance the user experience on computing devices, reduce the cost of writing and maintaining software, and invent novel computing technologies. As senior vice president, Richard (Rick) F. Rashid oversees worldwide operations for Microsoft Research.
Microsoft is known for using its own technology, or "eating its own dog food." Microsoft is using its own technology not only to run the company, but also to build new products under the Microsoft umbrella. Obviously Microsoft uses Windows and Visual Studio, but also Office, TFS and others.
12. Rock-star celebrity developers:
Microsoft developers such as Ray Ozzie, Anders Hejlsberg, Scott Guthrie and Dave Cutler stand out as leading code slingers among a horde of topnotch developers in Microsoft's bullpen, many of whom are themselves legends in the developer community.
13. Focus on the designer:
With its Expression line of tools, Microsoft broadened its focus beyond the developer to include professional designers as targets for its application creation technology. The company is going after design tools market leader Adobe's installed base and fostering designer/developer interaction with Visual Studio and Expression.
14. CTPs (Community Technology Previews):
Microsoft's CTPs enable developers to get hold of upcoming Microsoft technologies earlier than they have in the past. Part of a push toward greater transparency, Microsoft uses the CTPs to glean developer feedback on the direction the company is taking with a technology and to make adjustments as necessary before the technology reaches beta or general release.
15. Willingness to halt work or start over to get something right:
Occurrences such as the "Longhorn Reset" and Microsoft's stopping development of the "Whidbey" version of Visual Studio and SQL Server 2005 to address security issues are examples of the company's willingness to take a hit and try to deliver what it expects to be a better product at a later date.
16. VSTS (Visual Studio Team System):
VSTS is Microsoft's entry into the ALM (application lifecycle management) space. Built to take on market leader IBM Rational, VSTS is taking on a life of its own and is winning over Microsoft enterprise customers focusing on collaborative development.
CodePlex is Microsoft's open-source project hosting Website, where developers can find open-source software or create new projects to share with the world. Not every project on CodePlex is open source, and CodePlex is one of several nods Microsoft has given to the open-source community-which itself deserves its own bullet point on a list.
18. Web Services and AJAX:
Microsoft was there early and instrumental in the development of both of these key technologies, which have led to increased interoperability thanks to Web Services and greatly enhanced user experiences through AJAX.
19. Web focus and adaptability:
Despite being labeled as late to the Web, Microsoft has rallied to deliver a Web platform that has been well received by its audience. Lauren Cooney, group product manager of Web Platform and Standards for Microsoft's Developer Division, said Microsoft has had more than 1.5 million downloads of its products through the Microsoft Web PI (Web Platform Installer) since January 2009 and almost 150,000 application downloads from the Windows Web App Gallery since March 17. Internet Explorer 8 and Silverlight 2 round out Microsoft's core Web offerings.
One reason why Microsoft is NOT huge with many developers around the world:
Religious adherence to Windows and the perception that any Microsoft interest in cross-platform interoperability is a myth.