Scobleizer Weblog

Daily link Saturday, April 03, 2004

I swear that Tony Hynes (the guy who is heading up the MVP Global Summit) has a direct line to mother nature. Last year when I was an MVP and here in Seattle for the MVP summit the weather was spectacular. And, today, the weather is again spectacular. Looks like it's gonna be good all week. How does he do it? How do you get sunny weather in rainy Seattle?

2:00:57 PM    comment 

New York Times' John Markoff: Silicon Valley is Seeking Peace.

Some interesting quotes. Folks still holding onto the perceptions that Microsoft doesn't innovate. Microsoft is changing in a big way there. Don't assume the past is gonna be like the future. We're spending billions in R&D and that translates into better products, services, and experiences. And, look at where many things came from at Microsoft: they were purchased -- from Silicon Valley. Hotmail. PowerPoint. Flight Simulator. WebTV. Placeware. On and on. When I lived in Silicon Valley I knew quite a few entrepreneurs who got rich from selling to Microsoft (these were often the same folks who'd then turn around and bash Microsoft in the press, which I often thought was funny behavior). So there's some goodness there as well that these articles often overlook.

I saw Dan'l Lewin getting credit in the article for working on Silicon Valley relationships (I'm glad he's on our team, he's been working very hard to build relationships with companies small and large and is a remarkable person, if you ever get a chance to meet him ask him for some stories about his days as an executive at NeXT).

Oh, I much rather would compete in the marketplace than in courtrooms, or in executive or weblog rhetoric. The customer definitely is in power here. Let the best products win!

1:39:49 PM    comment 

Kunal Das is really close to creating my "magic folder" feature request for Outlook. It works for HTML emails. He set me up a Moveable Type blog, and has build an "OutlookMT" tool that automatically posts any HTML email you drag to a folder in Outlook.

One problem, though, it crashes on items that NewsGator creates. I'm working with him to figure out why. I'll let you know how it goes. If you want to play too, visit his site.

Here's my Outlook Weblog.

12:56:25 PM    comment 

The technical difficulties are gone now. UserLand was moving a server and all is well. Thanks UserLand guys!

You know, for $40 a year, Radio UserLand (that's the tool I use to publish my blog) is a pretty darn good service. I can't remember ever not being able to see my blog. I also have all my data stored locally, so if something particularly nasty were to happen, I could easily move to another host and republish. Even this morning, my page was still reachable, just none of the files on it. I remember being on other ISPs where the service would go down for hours at a time. Yeah, the world has gotten better, hasn't it. But for $40 a year I'm very happy with what I'm getting here.

12:10:49 PM    comment 

I just had a call from one of our best customer evangelists telling me Microsoft is screwing up with its Longhorn evangelism message.

I think he's right. So, let's take it on head on.

What's the screw up?

That we made it clear that in Longhorn we were changing forms strategy.

First, for those who aren't developers, what I'm talking about is the technology used to display user interface elements. You know, the words, buttons, text-entry areas, drop-down list boxes, and other elements that make up a Windows application.

In current versions of .NET, that technology is called "Windows Forms" or "WinForms" for short. In Longhorn we're introducing a new forms technology, code-named Avalon.

Now, if you saw the PDC, or followed my writings here, you'd come to the conculsion "WinForms is dead," right?

The customer who called me this morning (I don't know if he wanted to be named, so I'll let him leave a comment if he does) said this really is hurting Microsoft and his business (he does consulting and training to a bunch of large companies). Why? Because companies who hear this message say "hey, I'm not gonna move to .NET, I'm gonna keep my existing apps on VB6 or MFC, cause WinForms is dead and why would I write an app using WinForms today when I should just wait for Longhorn and Avalon to get here?"

Well, that means that the Longhorn evangelism message is getting through, right? Well, yes. We did a pretty good job of hyping up the future. And it is a bright future. Avalon really is going to let you build new kinds of apps that are simply not possible today.

But, let me take my Longhorn evangelism hat off and put my "real world" hat on.

First, Avalon is a Longhorn-only technology. There are no plans to convert it to Windows XP, or 98 or ME or 2000. Now, think about that for a minute. If you are writing apps for an enterprise, say Procter and Gamble, how soon will you have 100% Longhorn coverage? Here's my guess: 2012 to 2014. So, until you have 100% coverage, you won't be able to use Longhorn-only technologies in your apps, right? At least not ones that need reach.

Second, WinForms-based apps work just fine in Longhorn. In fact, you can encapsulate WinForms UIs inside Avalon-based ones.

So, why does this all matter? For a few reasons.

One, .NET today (and especially as we get closer to the release of Visual Studio 2005, code-named Whidbey) is more productive to develop apps in, and easier to integrate, than older technologies like MFC, and VB6. In Longhorn having your code in .NET will really help you out (since much of Avalon itself is being written in .NET, you'll see that Microsoft has been converting rafts of programmers over to .NET). Plus, most .NET programmers have found that they are more productive in .NET than they ever were in MFC, and VB6-based programmers will find their skills will be more in demand if they move to .NET.

Two, Microsoft is pouring huge investments into .NET. I'm hearing of .NET being used in projects across the company, from SQL Server to Alerts. That means if you invest your developers' time in .NET, that work will be leveraged in the future. For instance, I just talked with the SQL Server's Euan Garden on Friday. He talked with me about how the SQL Server team's work with the CLR has made .NET faster, more secure, and easier to integrate. You'll see those innovations in Whidbey and Longhorn (and SQL Server itself, the next version of which has .NET built into it). So, the .NET code you write today will just get better in the future as the platform underneath evolves.

Three, the eco-system is moving to .NET. Look at bookshelves. Look at conferences like VSLive. Look at training. Look at the coolest new apps (OnFolio, and NewsGator were done in .NET, for instance). Look at the bleeding-edge shops. The Pistachio factory, for instance. .NET. Reuters. .NET. And I could go on all day about this. The world is moving to .NET and that trend is only going to accelerate over the next few years.

How do you best move your Enterprise team into a position where they can take advantage of Longhorn later this decade? Get into .NET today. The skills you learn will move smoothly into Longhorn when it gets here.

Do you agree? If you were Microsoft, what would you do differently?

11:55:02 AM    comment 

Here's the WebTalkGuys links. First Dana Greenlee wrote me up in the Tacoma newspaper. And I'm on their radio show right now. It's weird listening to the radio and hearing your voice.

Here's the full show:

MP3 (11.3 MB; 32k):

Windows Media


Windows Media Mobile download (11.8 MB)

11:02:19 AM    comment 

Hmm, looks like my blog is messed up. Sorry for the technical difficulties.

It looks like something server-side is going nuts. I have email into the UserLand guys.

10:39:52 AM    comment 

April 2004
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
        1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30  
Mar   May

(On Bloglines)
(From NewsGator)
(On TextAmerica)
Naked Conversations
(Book blog)
Main Feed
Link Blog
Microsoft's Channel9
Comment Feed
Referer Page

Click here to visit the Radio UserLand website.

Click to see the XML version of this web page.

© Copyright 2005
Robert Scoble
My cell phone: 425-205-1921
Are you with the press?
Last updated:
5/11/2005; 12:49:24 AM.

Robert Scoble works at Microsoft (title: technical evangelist). Everything here, though, is his personal opinion and is not read or approved before it is posted. No warranties or other guarantees will be offered as to the quality of the opinions or anything else offered here.

Be the first to comment! Free real-time blog alerts via MSN Messenger, mobile, or email.
Technorati search