I had a comment on this blog the other day which I really got to thinking about following a discussion on a private list about how we market technologies. This is one area I'm really not qualified to talk about in any kind of 'semi-official' way but it's one of the things which bubbles under the surface of my day to day job.

It's a constant irritation working at MS...frankly some people hate us, with a passion. A fair number of the people I've talked to at work are confused by this...day to day we really do work hard to improve the working lives of the people who buy our software. But that's the thing, at it's heart MS is a business, it makes money by selling software...in the end it doesn't matter how user focused we are, if it doesn't shift boxes of Product X then it doesn't make it. The comment I was referring to earlier is an example of that dichotomy...yes, people still use VBScript based 'classic ASP', just as a huge number of people still use VB6 based windows applications and more recently WinForms apps. You wouldn't really think it though by looking at our marketing output...why? Simple, it doesn't sell new Windows licenses or Visual Studio 2008 SKUs...Microsoft is a business remember!
I'm not being down on Microsoft here (I choose to work there and I truly love the company!), it's a reality for every business and for software businesses especially. Book authors, consultants, trainers, almost everyone feeds off of the leading edge of new releases. The 'new and shiny' is where all the momentum exists, it's interesting to talk about and fun to learn. The issue (if there is one) is that just because a technology has become 'legacy' doesn't mean it's irrelevant. Some of the greatest programming books I have are for technologies I haven't written a line of code in for years. Nevertheless I spend time every year or so reading through those old books; as the saying goes 'Everything old is new again'

 

On the topic of books, just noticed this on the CodingHorror blog:Programmers Don't Read Books -- But You Should. I constantly find the lack of reading by developers a source of disdain...Jeff mentions four five (innumerate fool) books which are the absolute bare minimum you should read:

 

Code Complete 2 Don't Make Me Think Peopleware Pragmatic Programmer Facts and Fallacies

Hopefully I don't have to add this any more for anyone who has ever read more than a couple of posts on this blog...but it's called 'mostlylucid' for a reason! Nothing here unless I explicitly say otherwise reflects any opinion except my own (and even then, lack of sleep and extreme moodiness has an impact). You can think what you like about me but none of these comments is in any way attributable back to my employer.