Scott Guthrie gave a presentation today about Microsoft’s new MVC framework for ASP.NET. Jefferey Palermo has the technical lowdown here, and Roy Osherove gives his reaction, mostly from the standpoint of TDD. It’s a great reaction, though, and I think he speaks for a lot of people here at the conference when he says, “finally they get it.”
The “it” he’s referring to is a lot of things: the community around .NET, specifically the open source community, the tools, and the idea that there are a lot of developers who are building pieces of functionality that fit into the .NET puzzle. But Microsoft has had an an unfortunate history of not working in concert with this community, and choosing to do their own thing instead.
Scott’s presentation today was awesome, not just from a technical standpoint (the MVC framework is very cool, however), but also from a philosophical standpoint. While Scott was explaining the features of the framework (which got a lot of people excited all by itself) the really exciting bits were the things that pointed to a mind shift within Microsoft: the fact that all methods were virtual, for instance, thus easing testability. Or the fact that it was pluggable, so you could use whatever dependency injection choice you wanted.
These features and design choices represent a huge paradigm shift for Microsoft. They say to the open source .NET community: “We recognize your contributions, and we’re not going to try and reinvent what you’ve done. Instead, we’re going to make it pluggable, so you can use whatever technology you favor.”
The importance of that philosophy and that mindset change cannot be understated. As Jay Flowers said tonight when I was chatting with him, it sends a message to open source developers that “there is a space for you.” It plays directly into the ALT.NET philosophy, which is: “We’re going to use whatever tools we think are best to get the job done.” Scott’s presentation couldn’t have been more appropriate or well received at any other conference.
The exciting part of all of this, at least to me, is the idea that this could be just the tip of the iceberg. There’s hope now for the future. Scott Guthrie can’t be the only developer at Microsoft who thinks this way and has the influence to navigate Microsoft into this Brave New World.
As I told Jay tonight: This is an exciting time to be a .NET developer.