Scobleizer Weblog

Daily link Friday, June 11, 2004

Mark Finkle: "every so often Scoble (Microsoft blogging wunderkind) posts something that makes me question his sensibilities."

Just "every so often?" I must be losing my touch.

"If anything, .NET will make the technology soup developers work with worse, not better."

Hmm, the developers I work with say they are dramatically more productive with .NET than other programming paradigms on Windows. I guess I should have added "your view may vary."

11:37:56 PM    comment 

Larry Lessig, about Apple's new wireless device: "Not that one should expect that Apple reads blogs, but very cool idea in any case!"

Heh, I showed Larry's blog to my brother-in-law who works at Apple. Proves that Apple reads blogs. :-)

11:20:11 PM    comment 

John Dowdell, at Macromedia: "I'm not sure that the core questions of "How do I know which version of Windows to target or get locked-in to?" and "Why are you advising me to wait rather than go platform-neutral today?" were ever answered, though."

Oh, sorry, I didn't answer those. Here you go.

1) Which version of Windows should you target? That's a difficult question and will vary depending on who you are and what kind of project you're doing. I can't answer that broadly in a weblog post, because our customers are so different. Obviously Adobe will choose a different set of targets than Reuters or Orkut or the Fellowship Church will.

2) Why am I advising you to wait? I don't remember ANYONE saying that at Microsoft -- I listened very carefully to all the keynotes at the PDC and didn't hear anyone advocating that. I certainly am not telling anyone to wait for Longhorn. In fact, look at what we did at Channel 9. Did we wait for Longhorn? Heck no.

So, what are we saying? Learn about where the Windows side of the fence is going tomorrow so you'll make smart development and architectural decisions today. Certainly you can see the trend in Microsoft's products: the .NET CLR is being built into everything. So, if you learn .NET you'll have a skill that'll be in great demand (already is) and will be highly flexible. In Longhorn you'll be able to use your .NET skills to build gratuitous eye candy, SQL Server queries, Web services, file system queries, and much much more.

Note that I did NOT say to wait. Learn .NET today.

11:09:35 PM    comment 

Tim Bray: "You should have the right to own your own information. Itís your intellectual capital and you worked hard to produce it for your citizens. Sun doesnít own it, Microsoft doesnít own it, you own it, and that means it should be living in a nice, long-lived, non-proprietary data format that isnít anyoneís competitive weapon."

One of the more fascinating talks at the O'Reilly Emerging Technology conference earlier this year was Danny O'Brien's look inside how famous geeks store their information. Cory Doctorow took notes.

What was the trend that Danny discovered? Tech geeks tend to store their info in plain text files. Why? Cause plain text files are easy to move around. Easy to store. Easy to open up on any OS.

But, one problem with plain text or other lowest-common-denominator formats like HTML or XML. Apps that really exploit the platform like OneNote stores audio, ink, and more all in one file/folder (and uses formats that aren't available on other platforms). So, if I want the productivity of OneNote, why shouldn't I use that?

10:54:18 PM    comment 

Gina Trapani tells RSS evangelists to knock it off.

I totally disagree with her premise that only a few ubergeek microcontent consumers even need RSS.

That sounds a whole lot like the folks who, in the 1970s, said that only a few ubergeeks needed personal computers.

10:11:13 PM    comment 

Molly Holzschlag (who used to be an editor of Miller Freeman's Web development magazine): Web standards backlash

"If anything, we should view this as an opportunity for getting a leg up on Microsoft."

The thing is, whenever I talk with "normal" users (those who aren't in the computer industry) the first thing they complain to me about are phishing attacks, spam, spyware, and viruses. I have not had a SINGLE person in the plane ask me for Web standards.

So, if I were a Microsoft executive (I'm not) I'd be investing my developer time in solving those four problems before I worried about Web standards.

Another funny thing? I'm watching my brother-in-law play on his Macintosh. He's addicted to Pogo, a game site. Almost everything on that site is a Flash applet.

While he plays on that, I'm off in my news aggregator where I'm reading RSS and rarely looking at HTML or XHTML.

I see a trend there. The bleeding edge of the Web has moved away from HTML and onto other fronts -- fronts where the standards bodies have not yet been involved.

10:06:58 PM    comment 

David Coursey: I don't need a more charming MS, I need a better OS.

Josh Ledgard, in David's comments, answers: "Listening to customers means building a better product."

We'll be judged by how well we listen. The proof is in the products we ship. David should look at XPSP2, particularly on the Tablet PC. That's a huge step forward. And it's here today, no waiting for Longhorn.

10:18:45 AM    comment 

Business bloggers are starting to put up their shingles. Here's a couple I just got IM'ed to me:

Rick Brunner's Business Blog Consulting.

Paul Scrivens and team's Business Logs. (Nick Finck gives more details on his blog here).

10:08:33 AM    comment 

Jon Udell: "Why should developers prepare for Longhorn/Avalon?"

"The Amazon demo at the Longhorn PDC (Professional Developers Conference) was indeed cool, but you can see similar stuff happening in Laszlo, Flex, and other RIA (rich Internet application) environments today.

Ahh, but Jon, the real play here is one of programmer productivity. After all, how many programmers do you know who are conversant in Flash +AND+ .NET, or Flex +and+ Java? Learning just one of these environments and becoming really productive in it is a full-time job. I used to put on Web design and development conferences for Fawcette and it was a VERY RARE occurrance to find someone who really was doing professional-quality work in two environments (when it happened I hired them to speak, and it wasn't very often).

The reason developers tell me they are excited by Longhorn is that they'll be able to use one language (say VB.NET or C#) and leverage their framework knowledge through the entire stack, from the "gratuitous eye candy" as you put it, to server back end code (you do note that the next version of SQL Server has .NET built into it, right?).

In fact, I saw the power of this approach when I worked with Scott on my first Longhorn application. Everything, from 3D graphics to WinFS calls to cross-platform Web Services stuff, will be done from Visual Studio. No need to waste time learning yet another programming paradigm when you are doing UI code and another when you're doing database stuff and yet another when you are doing Web services stuff.

One other question for Jon: how come you haven't you commented on Jeremy Mazner's response to your WinFS points? He's one of the world's top authorities on WinFS (knows more about WinFS than anyone else outside of the WinFS team).

Think programmer productivity doesn't matter? Let's take you back to the Fellowship Church that I visited on Monday, shall we? Why did they decide on .NET? Because it was cheaper. Why will they probably use Longhorn? Because it'll be cheaper to build high-quality applications in. Developer time = money.

Now, there will be some advantages to NOT using Longhorn. For sure. One? Longhorn isn't here now, and won't be here for at least a couple more years. Two? Even after it's out Longhorn won't be a reach technology (and it may never be a reach technology). Three? You might have developers on staff who are already expert in Flash or Java or some other platform, and it'll be hard to convince them that .NET (and Longhorn) is better.

That all said, if you are building Windows applications today, Longhorn is definitely something you should pay attention to today, if not just so you'll know of the architectural changes that you'll need to make in the future if you decide that Longhorn is important enough for you to target.

9:45:12 AM    comment 

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© Copyright 2005
Robert Scoble
My cell phone: 425-205-1921
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Last updated:
5/11/2005; 12:54:21 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.

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