The mission to land a .NET developer on Jupiter.


Ask not what Microsoft can do for you but what you can do for Microsoft. That's really the inspiring quote that President of the new colonization group - aka Windows  - needs to say to the unwashed masses of tomorrow.

Microsoft is taking on a mission that looks to go beyond the moon, they want to land on Jupiter and it will be done with Apollo. Still confused?

If you've not paid attention to all the codenames flying about the place you'd be forgiven to be confused as there's a space theme happening and with these code names its quite interesting to see how the objectives for the next generation of Microsoft is likely to shape up.

Jupiter is rumored to be the reset button to Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) and Silverlight. A reset is the latest suspicion as just yesterday I found out that the XAML ethos within Microsoft has been disbanded and set to various corners of the company.  Some went to Internet Explorer team, some went to Windows teams and others went to Google, Amazon and Facebook.

Why disband the teams? It is time for pencils down folks, let us stop piling on code for the existing stuff but now let us set our sights for the future, let's be bold. Let us be daring. Why land on the moon when you can land on Jupiter floating on a cloud of Azure? (Ok, I lost myself in that metaphor as well).

Ok fine, I have gone through the seven stages of Silverlight/WPF grief and I am at acceptance I think.

The Mission.

In order to better prepare for the mission ahead, let us think about the various things we need to account for prior to launch (September).

Replace Crew Members.


Inside Microsoft there is a lot of toxic turmoil going due to internal re-orgs (which is fairly common) that fueled with how the Global Financial Crisis has affected employees etc. it's no secret that Microsoft are losing some quite influential and dare I say, hard to replace staff to places like Google, Facebook, Amazon and so on. I personally know of three employees who have hated working for Microsoft for quite some time but have been stuck due to housing prices in Redmond etc not being ready enough for a resale - that is - until Google, Adobe, Facebook and soon Amazon have campuses of their own in Seattle.

Now the super geeks have alternative employment options. Microsoft is now on notice, treat me better or I will leave. The later choice has been winning in my opinion and the more the new found employees have sent me messages of "Omg, its way better over here than Microsoft" which has to be salt in some current employee's wounds whom are likely staring down the barrel of uncertainty in the company given its end of year commitment scoring mixed with the demise of what we used to call the Silverlight/WPF & Blend ethos. What to do!.

Reaching Parity. 


A gentleman and fellow .NET scholar Jose has done the best he could in reverse engineering Direct UI (rumored to be the leaked incarnation of Jupiter). He has some insights that are both great and disappointing at the same time. The great part is it could very well be the next iteration of what has to come in the landscape of C# and XAML for tomorrow's UX Pioneers.

The downside is its 3-5 or maybe more steps backwards in the current feature parity you have all eagerly waited for over the past 4 years. There are some fundamentals in the room whilst there are concerns around some of the other features that may or may not make the cut for version one.

If I know Microsoft and I like to think I do, this is likely to be yet another one of those traditional "version 1" moments whereby the team(s) behind the product eventually stumble across the finish line, exhausted but barely breathing enough to shout "Give me feedback on what you want in version 2, it will be better I promise" followed by some metaphor about how it's a marathon and not sprint to the finish line (We got great mileage out of that with Silverlight and I dare say you could get a few more products out of it yet).

The tooling is likely to be not in place during this version 1 lifecycle as my sources tell me that the Blend Team aren't cranking out the vNext improved world of Microsoft. I know Steve Sinofsky has had a few ambitions about what the Tooling should look like in the perfect world of Windows vNext frontier and I am guessing he did not play well with others in the Devdiv team(s) to share such ambitions.

That being said, either there is a skunk works tooling team hidden in some random building in Microsoft that others do not know about or the tooling story behind this next frontier is unlikely to be in place before Sept or for whenever this next version of our beloved Silverlight/WPF ethos occurs.
What I mean to say is welcome all to Microsoft 2005. Hold onto your Winforms or ASP.NET MVC  for a little bit longer and for those of you in Silverlight/WPF investment land(s) - try to not focus on the future but the now (best to keep your code base as lean as possible and not to tightly wound in client-side logic).

Put vital organs into Escrow.


Microsoft are quick to throw technology at a problem first and then ponder as to why the problem existed. I've often personally seen strategies - wait, that's not correct, strategy requires forward thinking - tactical decisions (better) made around trying to grow developer audiences.

The assumption are

"ok, we're not making our tech palatable enough, lets steal stuff from Ruby On Rails, Apple or Oracle to make it better".

The absolute harsh reality is often a lot of non-Microsoft customer(s) etc. just don't like Microsoft (Ever liked a girl/guy and they don't like you back? You try changing your clothes, hair, car etc. and still nothing. Welcome to the Microsoft Developer outreach program, you will fit right in).

The other side of this coin I guess is those of you who adore Microsoft for what they are. You spend thousands of your own dollars to go to various events to listen to Microsoft confuse the absolute crap out of you. The problem is lately, they seem to be a company you just cannot bet on for the future.

Grandiose plans to land on Jupiter may be bold, daring and exciting but is it dependable? Can this company commit to a master plan and is this a plan or just a tactical political brain dump mixed with a lot of Microsoft experimentation.

Is it a case now of not waiting for the next Service Pack but now waiting to see if a product can get past version 3 and 5 before you really consider it as a viable option of the future?

In order to prepare for this next mission, someone has to donate some good will to the fans of Microsoft technology. That means you cannot stick to the ye olde "need to know information" mentality. You got to bring your roadmap(s) for the future and you got to show us that you're telling the truth that you want to aim for Jupiter and not some closer planet or worse - the unknown void beyond Jupiter.

Commit and stop being assclowns.


Commit to us so that we may commit to you. No more lies, No more "I've got a secret, can you guess!" and lastly no more internal political child play spilling over and into the blogosphere. It's time to be a big boy company and use big boy strategies with big boy plans mixed with a lot of big girl personality (somehow that did the ladies no favors).

If we are to take on this mission, it's time for a smarter playbook around transparency and if Steve Sinofsky is willing to bring the "come to Jesus" moment for the company around consolidating the entire product lines into a consistent continuous experience across all devices with a developer/designer experience to boot. Great, I personally will print out a t-shirt that says "I'm back in team Steve" (heh my old team inside Microsoft was called Team Steve...Steve the manager though was a arrogant jerk, different story, different time).

Right now its just a case of me holding up a really sick puppy that others have kicked and telling you all about the neglect its owners have given it. (If I quote that metaphor I was given last night by a friend).

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  • reymond

    Will they still release a SL 5.0 any more? What about Windows Phone platform is SL is abandoned. Unbelievable. This company can self-destruct a lot harder than what the competition is capable of hurting them.

  • I love you, man, but sometimes like now I really want to hate you but that isn’t your fault. Microsoft has long been what I thought was a “dream job” scenario. I’ve had a couple. Work for an ISP (done). Drift racing. Microsoft. Someone who makes music but doesn’t get raped by execs. Microsoft as far as developer ethos still kind of has me but they’ve been making some colossal annoyances lately specifically in the space I jumped to now, WPF/SL/WP7 and I suppose Win8/Urmom whenever that gets finalized.

    I still love that I can write once and run anywhere the plugin is (Silverlight) over HTML5 and various browser tweaks. Now that the tech has started to die off prematurely, I no longer trust the company but that conclusion has been a long time coming from the incredibly smart people I’ve seen rocket out of MS. People leave companies all the time but this is a “Let my people go!” style exodus of biblical proportions.

    Luckily because MS prizes backcompat over everything, SL and WPF should still work fine on Windows 8. There won’t be any real improvements and at least SL5 and WP7 will get done. WinOnARM is going to trastically change that landscape though and I did somewhat expect that. It makes sense to consolidate efforts instead of producing fiascoes like Linq2SQL and EntityFramework butting heads. If I see another such product sharkfest I think I’ll officially hang up my “Microsoft might be a nice place to work for 2 seconds” hat and tell them to go screw themselves. I’m definitely a fanboy but my puppy’s been kicked so many times no computer on earth could keep an accurate count and eventually the definition of crazy sets in and I really do want something to change: i.e. pick another company that’s bound to fail.

    I’m optimistic for Win8 but they’re not leaving me much room to really give a shit and that’s really on them. Sucks for them to not be human and just admit the decisions they’re making early but I totally get it. They don’t want an even bigger exodus of people actually using their products now to all of a sudden wake up and stop drinking the koolaid. Oh well.

  • D

    If they reset development to circa 2005, they will have devs jumping ship so fast it will make their heads spin. They can no longer come out with we’ll get it right by version 3 junk. There are too many other options in terms of languages and viable platforms and IDEs. Devs are not going to wait four years for them to catch up and by then the versions of iOS and Android will have won anyway.

    If what the riagenie is writing comes out even partially true, it won’t fly. I can write all the html/css/js in any text editor and others are out there that already are supporting the standards so MS will be dead in the water unless the entire package is ready to go at build/bust. The only thing in their favor right now is that the standards are still in flux, but can they really hang their hat on that for very long? If they don’t update webforms and instead flush that down the toilet in favor of mvc/webpages because hey you can write your views with html5 and not have to rely on M/US to provide the server controls to render proper html5 then once again done. Ruby/PHP with Node.js thrown in will need to be considered as the next approach and to hell with MS.

    I see a harvard business review case study coming in five years on the demise of microsoft based on how they alienated their core constituency – the developer.

    September should be interesting.

  • nmkj

    😎 ❗ 🙄 😕 😯 😮 🙁 🙁 💡 💡

  • John


    I stopped all of my Silverlight and WPF development, as of last December. Do you know if MS will provide a migration path from SL/WPF to the new worlds of Jupiter/appx/DirectUI/MoSH/etc., in Visual Studio 2012 or in some other package?

    BTW, thanks much for all of the insights.

    Also, I saw that the end was coming for SL when Bob M. made his comments last October. At MIX 11, SL was not mentioned at all the first day, and you had to look very closely at the blue and white logo to see SL, but HTML5 was in big letters, and was repeated. And on the second day of MIX 11, when they finally talked about SL 5, it was as if Scott Gu was embarrassed by SL and didn’t even want to talk about it. More confirmation came when SkyDrive was just updated, with SL taken out and HTML5 put in its place.

  • .Net WinForms still does everything I need it to do, is fast, and runs on all versions of Windows since 2000. Why do we need a new presentation layer again? And again? And again?

    Maybe MS is better served by investing in new technologies instead of reinventing the wheel again?

    For the record, anybody invested in WPF and Silvernight needs to $#@!%! relax. It isn’t going anywhere for a LONG time. Sure, it might become a second class citizen, like COM did. And it might not get many new features. But it will be there and work. If for no other reason than WP7 uses it front and center as its primary presentation layer and one of the big selling points of coding for WP7 is that you can take most of the code and have it run on all three of MS’s “screens.”

  • steve madison

    👿 is MS. That is why I have ALWAYS used Linux.

  • doug hefernon

    do you guys even now where he’s getting his information besides some disgruntled ex-microsoft employees. Go hunt down the actual official microsoft announcements that are out there. They had once press conference where they didn’t really talked about SL, and OMG the sky is falling. But they had like 5 releases since saying that SL/WPF aren’t going anywhere, and that everyone just needs to calm the hell down.

  • antony

    I am start a month ago SL WPF development in personal project just before the W8 presentation. later i am got mad because i feel unsure that they really growth in future as well as HTML5 and JavaScript.

    later i found that MSFT itself want to move it to HTML5 so why i care about Xaml. so i not want to spent my personal time on a thing who can be died and their is no fun to learn a thing.

    i am unable to see the whole audience who are equal to As html5 so i just stop it.

    later i hear from Adobe that they will make a tool called Adobe edge who compete Expression Blend with the true technologies like HTML5 css javascipt.

    SO i move from eVerything to HTML5 because it’s easy better and open.

    tell me are i am going wrong in anywhere.

  • Jim L

    The way that MS is changing (grasping at) technologies reminds me of other companies I have seen trying to stave off bankruptcy. I have worked and known people who have worked for companies that were faltering, looking for something or someone to save them by either committing to new technologies (too frequently), fast marketing campaigns, or looking for any suitor who will buy them.

    I cannot believe the MS is showing this mentality. Is there something about MS’s financing that we don’t know about? How solvent are they? Or, maybe it is just hype for them to say that they can play with the new (non-MS invented stuff).

  • Oliveira

    You’re asking us to have faith? We’re people of logic and numbers not feelings and soul.

    Microsoft needs to come clean and tell us their vision, their mission. We’ll take that and make our decisions. It’s as simple as A = A.

    Do not make a fool of yourself asking millions of people with trillions of investment money to bet it one faith.

  • Interesting post.
    i like this post.
    Microsoft as far as developer ethos still kind of has me but they’ve been making some colossal annoyances lately specifically in the space I jumped to now, WPF/SL/WP7 and I suppose Win8/Urmom whenever that gets finalized.

  • Quite good information about today’s .net.

    As we are in advanced technological world,.net plays an major part in web development. Now-a-days, there are many web development companies using these type of development procedure to create web sites as it has the good features.

  • Chad

    I am still not sure why MS has to outlay detailed product road maps to keep all there developers happy while the same developers are quite happy to be kept in the dark by MS competitors like Apple, Google and others.

    As mentioned in the comments if MS do reset SL/WPF you can be sure that there will be some sort of backwards compatibility or migration path available. Apple and Google don’t always have a great record in this area yet everyone seems fine with that and continues to bash MS.