Is VS.NET ready for enterprise? (1)
Rational Software belongs to a handful of companies whose products span the full spectrum of lifecycle tools—everything from requirements analysis to production testing. So who better to ask about the impact of .NET on enterprise application development than Rational founder and CEO Mike Devlin? Visual Studio Magazine Executive Editor Lee Th?recently chatted with Devlin about this and other topics of interest to the development community.
LT: Let's discuss the impact of Microsoft .NET on large-scale software development. What will be the most fundamental change for developers?
MD: Being able to focus on developing the application proper instead of having to spend so much time on infrastructure issues. If you talk with a lot of CIOs and development team managers today, you'd be amazed to find that 70 percent of development goes into infrastructure, while only 30 percent goes into building the business logic, application architecture, and application functionality. But the combination of the .NET platform and Visual Studio .NET reverses that by handling so many infrastructure issues automatically.
This continues the tradition of Visual Basic, which made it easy for a developer to access and build upon the relatively complex APIs of Windows. Now .NET takes that same model for developer productivity and applies it to a much broader distributed domain that includes servers, Web Services, and in fact the whole Web. The underlying complexity of this environment is even greater than that of the old Windows APIs. Fortunately, .NET hides some of that complexity from the user. It's not perfect, but it's a big step in that direction. You get a common platform, a common set of components, a common set of services accessing those components, and supporting distribution and access across the Web.
LT: You say "It's not perfect, but it's a big step." What are the gaps in .NET that development managers should look out for?
MD: The biggest warning concerns training—particularly hands-on training. Don't assume that just because you used VS6 you know it all. Visual Studio .NET and Microsoft .NET are powerful. To benefit from that, power developers must understand both the development environment and the runtime platform. Fortunately it's easy to get started with VS.NET, build a few small sample applications, use the tutorials, and thereby learn to leverage the power of the solution.