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Why are ASP.NET Developers Jumping Ship?

James Avery talks about Pete Wright leaving Microsoft

I have a ton of respect for Pete and look forward to reading about his new experiences. I know more and more .NET developers who are playing around with RoR in their spare time, I wonder how many will convert over the next couple years?

I too wonder how many ASP.NET developers will jump ship to RoR.  My interest has definitely been peaked, ever since I first saw that great Rails demo.

Other than wondering how many will defect, I also wonder why ASP.NET developers are jumping ship.. Could it be that...

VS.NET is no fun to use 

Our IDE is currently in a fairly broken state (if you use VS 2005 for web development, you know what I'm talking about). I've taken to watching lots of Google Videos while I wait for builds, gets, controls to load, etc.  It's impossible to get a good web development rhythm going with the IDE currently.  Frankly, I think that this has been a major factor.  It's not something that's easy to put your finger on, but after months and months of mild frustration with development, playing with RoR is a lot more fun than playing with a new future MS technology. Perhaps SP1 will fix this? 

Everything else currently released by MS is less than thrilling

I'm talking about ASP.NET 2.0 and C# 2.0 here. With ASP.NET we've been handed a new project model with debatable benefit.  At least for me and my team, it's caused more problems than it's solved. Also, there's not much new to implement in our day to day coding.  Yes, we've been given some new controls, but these mostly solve problems that if you've been doing ASP.NET development for a while, you've already solved (membership, master pages, etc). So at best, a seasoned ASP.NET Developer is faced with the task of ripping out working code and replacing it. Whoohooo. Fun.

The only thing I can say that's been given to me by MS in the last two years that I really use, saves coding time, and gives me warm fuzzies about MS are C# generics.  

I know there's good stuff coming

Now, I know there's good stuff on the horizon.  ATLAS, WPF, WCF to name a few.  Some very smart people over at CodeBetter seem to be very excited about these new things.  I for one can wait.  But this current state of things is giving me enough time to poke around with things like RoR.  If RoR can be compelling and fun enough, it's going to grab some converts.  MS better hurry up and throw us some bones.

 -Brendan


Posted 09-15-2006 6:25 AM by Brendan Tompkins
Filed under: , ,

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Comments

Michael wrote re: Why are ASP.NET Developers Jumping Ship?
on 09-20-2006 8:32 PM

Interesting post.  I myself have been playing with RoR for a while now, and Ruby in general.

Actually, I'm toying with some more lightweight web frameworks in Ruby, as the more you internalize the "Ruby way", the more even RoR seems insanely bloated.

It's always hard to come back to ASP.NET though after doing some Rails coding.  I think MVC is the killer... ASP.NET's page-centric post-back model just doesn't cut it anymore.

Ryan D wrote re: Why are ASP.NET Developers Jumping Ship?
on 09-20-2006 9:32 PM

I'm not jumping ship yet, I've played with RoR, and yeah it definitly has some great things going for it: MVC, native ORM, scaffolding, but I am actually leveraging Sub Sonic and ATLAS to speed up development and add a little excitement to the UI

http://www.codeplex.com/Wiki/View.aspx?ProjectName=actionpack

Brendan Tompkins wrote re: Why are ASP.NET Developers Jumping Ship?
on 09-21-2006 12:03 PM

Michael.. I'm hearing the same thing from lots of developers.  I've got to play soon.

Ryan,

SubSonic seems to be very cool.. That demo is awesome, great way to show how to do stuff.

Rich wrote re: Why are ASP.NET Developers Jumping Ship?
on 09-21-2006 4:48 PM

As someone who does ASP.NET development for a living and who switched from ASP.NET to RoR for personal development, I agree whole-heartedly with what you've said here.

That's not to say that having switched to Rails that I dislike ASP.NET development.  However....

Rails is more fun.  You can just open up a command line and notepad, run a few commands and you're off.  Try compiling ASP.NET apps from the command line or trying to remember all of the properties in the controls.  ASP.NET with intellisense = :).  ASP.NET without intellisense = :(.

Rails feels like web development to me.  ASP.NET seems to be Microsoft's attempt to make web development into WinForms development.  Everything's drag and drop.  You change properties on controls to implement data renderings and design schemes.   In Rails, I'm rendering out the HTML that I want (less tables) instead of what .NET controls render.

I love that Rails makes so much of what you commonly do in web development easy - URL rewriting, text functions, UI element reuse (partials), basic CRUD operations, AJAX, etc.  So much is built in and there are a ton of plugins available for common tasks not in the framework.

Overall, I'm able to get applications up faster and have a lot more fun doing it.  I can't see going back to ASP.NET for personal work.  I just wish there were RoR jobs near where I live.

On a side note, SubSonic is very cool.  I played around with it a little a few days ago and was really impressed.

Scott wrote re: Why are ASP.NET Developers Jumping Ship?
on 09-22-2006 2:48 AM

I don't know. I looked at Rails and was not as impressed as the hype led me to believe I would be. It's still very much a work in progress.

People like the "new" and the "hip" stuff, but when it gets down to real world work, I don't think RoR does everything I need and people are still discussing how to do things that have been solved in asp.net forever.

It is fun to use, but I came to the conclusion it's not ready to switch to yet. Too many things not ready. And I actually wanted to decide it was ready to use for all my web development as I wanted to be completely done with windows (OS X has been my primary OS for about a year now).

Tod Birdsall wrote re: Why are ASP.NET Developers Jumping Ship?
on 09-22-2006 11:51 AM

Ryan,

Thanks for the tip on Sub Sonic. The video demo shows that it has a lot of potential.

Rob Conery wrote re: Why are ASP.NET Developers Jumping Ship?
on 10-01-2006 1:19 AM

Hi all - love the article Brendan and it's exactly how I felt a few months ago. The cool thing is that the platform is still pretty cool, and there are so many things that we as developers can do to make it better. VS is still a killer IDE - even if it is a a pig in molasses on a hot sunday.

I use Rails a lot, but after revving out a few projects I began to realize that there is still a lot of code under the hood. Ruby is what makes rails special IMHO. I am watching Jon Lam's work on the Ruby CLR with great interest. Can you imagine - SubSonic cranking out Ruby.NET - killer.

Anyway - I welcome anyone's feelings here. Know that SubSonic came from this kind of "WTF?" sort of inspiration. However I don't think jumping ship will fix the issues - we can!

Scott wrote re: Why are ASP.NET Developers Jumping Ship?
on 10-09-2006 10:49 PM

I am currently re-writing a project of mine and have been evalutating all of the above-mentioned technologies.  I have decided to go with SubSonic (thanks for the awesome tool, Rob!) as it is the perfect blend of elegance with a familiar environment.

Admittedly, I haven't even tried RoR yet, but one of the strengths of sticking with an ASP.NET platform is that it is very easy to find hosting and you don't have to worry about installing/learning a whole new environment on your development machine as well.

Cheers,

Scott

Houston, TX

Ryan wrote re: Why are ASP.NET Developers Jumping Ship?
on 10-10-2006 7:43 AM

"My interest has definitely been peaked [...]"..

Actually the word is "piqued" for future reference..

otherwise, good article.. :)

Dave SChinkel wrote re: Why are ASP.NET Developers Jumping Ship?
on 10-23-2006 11:14 AM

I can tell you coming from an ASP classic background, I'll be more than content for the lifetime of my career if all I had to code was .NET and C#

just my thoughts

Dave SChinkel wrote re: Why are ASP.NET Developers Jumping Ship?
on 10-23-2006 11:15 AM

Definitely do not like Java, actually wish it would go away some day...;)

Dave Schinkel wrote re: Why are ASP.NET Developers Jumping Ship?
on 03-29-2007 10:04 AM

>>ASP.NET's page-centric post-back model just doesn't cut it anymore.

Lets just be glad it's no longer classic ASP...enough said.  I'm sticking with .NET, it rocks!

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