Developer Week in Review: Are .NET programmers going extinct?

Microsoft embraces HTML5, selling a startup at 15, and a new version of Java looms.

After an adventure-filled return trip from WWDC (Southwest eventually did find my luggage …), it’s back to the regular grind, spanning the globe to bring you all the news you need.

Are .NET developers the next buggy whip makers?

So, you say you’re a ninja .NET guru, able to churn out WFC C# code in the blink of the eye, and you’ve got every obscure Microsoft API call memorized? Well, if recent rumblings from Redmond are to be believed, there’s a large asteroid heading your way called Windows 8.

To say that Microsoft developers are unhappy over the news that tablets running Windows 8 will use HTML5 and JavaScript as an app programming platform would be to say that Steve Jobs likes black turtlenecks. While Microsoft was clear to point out that old-style Windows programs will run on Windows 8, the message seems to be that spending years and years becoming a master of the arcane programming secrets that make Windows tick will no longer be necessary.

This is certainly good news for anyone who has ever taken one look at the phonebook-size manuals that .NET programming requires and ran away screaming. It also would seem to be good news for the HTML5 standard, although Microsoft’s history with standards is a checkered one. But if your claim to fame is knowing the Microsoft platform inside and out, the writing may be on the wall that your talents are no longer going to be in such high demand.

Sorry I missed gym class, I was managing my IPO…

You may feel pretty proud of your child, who just won the spelling bee or got an A on her last math test. Then again, you could consider young Daniil Kulchenko, who just sold his company to ActiveState at the tender age of 15. Kulchenko’s product, a tool for Perl development in the cloud, evidently caught the eye of the scripting IDE maker, and ActiveState both bought out the company and brought Kulchenko on-board as a part-time employee.

Forget feeling inadequate about your child. Kulchenko makes me feel inadequate.

OSCON Java 2011, being held July 25-27 in Portland, Ore., is focused on open source technologies that make up the Java ecosystem. (This event is co-located with OSCON.)

Save 20% on registration with the code OS11RAD

Get Ready for J2SE 7

It’s taken five years, but the Java Community Process (JCP) executive committee has finally put their seal of approval on Java v7. The vote was 13-1, with Google the lone holdout. However, if you look at the comments that accompany the “yes” votes from companies such as Red Hat and IBM, you’ll see that no one was particularly happy about Oracle’s insistence on retaining the licensing veto on Java implementations, a stand that drove Apache out of the JCP after Oracle refused to bless the Apache Harmony implementation.

Java 7 will include support for multicore processing, as well as a bunch of improvements to the language, such as being able to switch on a string value, and a better way to check for null values. The new standard faces a final vote before it becomes the law of the land.

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  • giorgio

    not a Microsoft fan, but talking about phonebook style does apply also (if not more, never investigated how many different web framework there?) for the java side.. and nobody seems to care..
    Any case, welcome javascript!

  • Will

    Silverlight is not .net it is a subset but for those that spent alot of time learing silverlight the value of it has decreased; just like those that spend time learning vbscript vs javascript.

    Also the phonebook manuals are not gone with HTML/ECMAScript they have just been converted to javascript functions and web service calls.

  • Amir

    As a .net developer I cannot remember the last time I wrote an app for windows as a client platform. You said WCF, so what WCF has to do with win 8 except to be an endpoint in the server (Azure/Win Server) for your HTML5+Javascript app.

  • Ras Fred

    Really? Inclusion of HTML & JavaScript is an issue for C# or WCF developers? How do you draw a conclusion like this? I’m a .NET developer who is THRILLED by better integration of JavaScript & HTML into the OS. I use MS tools like ASP.NET MVC & WCF – tools that are tightly integrated with JavaScript, jQuery & HTML5. Better OS integration means I can better use skills I already have.

    I am struggling to picture why you would have used WCF as an example in this article – do you understand what it does?

    I am always happy to see vendors (including MS) innovating and providing better tools for developers like myself. This article does O’Reilly a disservice by spreading FUD.

  • Chris Walker

    After reading this article, I had to double-check to make sure the URL didn’t start out with “”.

    The title of the article certainly got my interest though…a very clever way to catch a few million C#/VB programmers’ eyeballs.

    It appears that Microsoft is promoting HTML+Javascript as a supported platform for apps, which I suppose is something many open source and standards advocates including myself will applaud.

    But I highly, higly doubt that C#, VB or .NET is going anywhere. The world of C# and Visual Basic is huge and it appears that the next version of .NET is in active development. Even .NET Micro Framework (the tiny version of .NET) is getting lots of love and updates.

    Then again, both C# and Java may become “buggy whips” in a few decades–and this article will be future-proof :)

  • Ha, .Net is going nowhere fast. Javascript and HTML are already one client option available in .Net (ASP.Net MVC). .Net developers don’t generally care that much about what the client is written in. Currently they can choose between Silverlight, WPF, ASP.Net Webforms, ASP.Net MVC (1,2, or 3), or Windows Forms. Despite the media claim that HTML5 can do absolutely everything, it has absolutely zero effect on how backends are written. Good luck writing a commercial Accounting system in HTML and javascript.

  • Erik

    The article author has missunderstood everything from ground up.

    If anything Windows 8 levels the field with the new Windows Runtime, no more interop crap for accessing deep system functionality.

    And by the way, Windows has always supported like a hundred different platforms for development, just because you will be able to create apps in html5 does not mean anythign else is going away.