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Thoughts on ALT.NET

I just listened to Scott Hanselman interviewing Dave Laribee regarding ALT.NET. I really like what Dave had to say, and I encourage everyone to go and listen.  I've been reticent about the ALT.NET movement (aside from my initial surge of enthusiasm.) I'm a bit shy when it comes to controversy, and even though I have strong evangelistic tendencies, I am also quick to shut up. ALT.NET has had its share of controversy.

Now we're an institution!I really like that Dave said it's not about the tools, it's about the principles.  I am frequently asked about "good design" and "best practices".   This is why I'm ALT.NET. (In fact, I have a series of posts on this topic that I intend to start after we're done with the book.)

There's an item in the interview that I'd like to comment on.

Scott asks (pardon my paraphrasing) why would the hypothetical Chief Architect of the Nebraska Department of Forestry have any interest in ALT.NET? The mythical Mort has pressing concerns, he just needs to get work done, why would he care about these conversations, discussions, and principles? Listen to the podcast for Dave's answer.  However, my answer is this: he probably doesn't care and that's okay. I think that ALT.NET is about bringing good design and principle to the forefront.  However, good ideas take a while to be adopted, to be democratized.  Those who are hungry, we'll feed.  Those who aren't, we'll wish them well.  No hard feelings. Eventually, the good ideas will be institutionalized and they'll trickle down. (Have you noticed the "refactor" menu in Visual Studio?) I'm more concerned about convincing the institutions and the thought leaders.  (Perhaps "convincing" is the wrong word, ALT.NET is more about "conversing" to me.) That's why it's good that ALT.NET is conversing with Microsoft, and that's also why I'm encouraged to see Microsoft paying attention to things like open source (though I know many people are angry about the kind of attention being paid).

Now go learn Ruby!  :-)


Posted 03-15-2008 5:39 PM by Christopher Bennage
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