The Watercooler
Thoughts on engineering and the working life.

New Technologies, to Adopt or not

By Hoang Do
Friday, January 04, 2002

I am currently reading the .NET magazine and to tell the truth, the Beta 2 CD has been sitting on my shelf for about 5 months already.  The release of Visual Studio.NET had been promised to be released towards the 4th quarter of 2001.   It is the first week of 2002 and I haven't yet come across the release date.  My position towards .NET is quite skeptical provided my background as largely an embedded programmer.  5 years ago, I converted to development using Microsoft technology and have found myself ever dependent upon their technology direction.  From Visual C++ 1.0 to MSDN to DirectX, Microsoft technology continues to change at a bewildering pace.  It is so exhausting keeping up with their flood of changes.  How in the world can one concentrate on solving the problem for your business when climbing on their platform involves a whole slew of problems of its own?  Isn't that the idea of why we programmers exist?  To use technologies to provide solutions to an existing business problem?  What happens when the technology is a problem in itself?

.NET is supposed to revamp the development arena for computer programmer who are in the Microsoft camp.  It warns that most of the current way of doing development will be obsoleted.  VB, ASP, C++ will basically be scrapped.  There will be backward compatibility but doing so would be at a cost to the programmer.  Knowing Microsoft, it will be a nightmarish cost.  The new languages and technologies:  VB.NET, ASP.NET, C#, and a slew of others.  Mind you, I am playing the devil's advocate here since I do like the changes.  But imagine if your business base is dependent on one of the "older" technologies.  Are all the experience of your programmers then now considered worthless?  How can you trust .NET when it isn't even out yet much the less considered "proven" technology?  Note that I stress the word "proven".  Other words that engineers can count on are "solid" and  "stable".  The term "Industry Standard" has been completely ruined by the rush of new technologies within the past 3 years.  Suddenly, everyone is doing and chasing the "Industry Standard" and everyone's technology is proclaimed the standard.  In truth, "solid", "stable", and "Industry Standard" can only be used when the technology has been around for at least 10 years.  For now, C, 8051, X86 architecture are considered so.  C++, MFC, and Linux are entering that stage and .NET has yet to emerge.  How presumptuous of Microsoft to proclaim .NET as the standard.

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