September 22, 2003

Developer communities and the PDC

I'm getting pretty excited about my first Microsoft PDC this October. I'm not knee-deep into the Microsoft community so I find their developer culture rather fascinating because I used to be a member of the J2EE community.

Today I find myself not relating to any community (I jump among the OO, distributed systems , relational , J2EE , .NET , and Oracle worlds) ... they're all way too religious. I'm not one to suggest the trite cliche' that "platforms are just tools", because I think emotions and emotional motivations are very important in one's work. I just don't tend to attach the same emotional importance to what these communities hold valuable, at the moment.

That may change: The .NET community has a lot of vibrancy and is very appealing. As for the other communities: The J2EE community, while vibrant, is rancorous, fractured, and extremely political. The Ruby community is wonderful but I'm not sure I'll get a chance to really use it. I'm not sure there is a relational community anymore, and the distributed systems community seems to be either Web Services geeks or researchers that have been grudglingly silent since the web services trend took off. The Oracle community has some of the most experienced IT folks I've seen, but they all seem to have fallen down the path of cynicism (and it's very tempting given the amount of crap passing for "systems architecture" these days in the J2EE world). The open source community (well, the Slashdot community) is very fractured, very political, and doesn't actually get a whole lot accomplished. I still have a soft spot for this community, as I've been a Slashdot member since near the beginning - 1997 (I'm user #1311, and I was the lucky 10 millionth hit.). But these guys remain so politically ineffectual and naive that I feel a constant struggle between my frustration at their (sometimes) childishness and my continued desire to be involved.

Anyway, back to the PDC... things that interest me in this conference: SQL Server Yukon (I want to see where it's going vs. Oracle 10g), the mysterious Indigo, some of the architectural sessions on Service Oriented Architecture, and the latest .NET techniques for Web Services ... I'm not really there for the client stuff, though Longhorn probably has a lot of goodies inside it.

Going to a Microsoft developer conference with a Powerbook is going to raise some eyebrows. I may upgrade my Powerbook to the new 1.33Ghz model if the trade-in price is right... (I have a 1ghz 17-inch right now, with 1 gig ram). I think the new one might give me an extra boost to run VS.NET 2k3 on Virtual PC, though I'm not sure if the lack of L3 cache will cause problems. Its not my primary platform (yet) so I don't mind it too much, but I definitely would want a real PC laptop or desktop to do day-to-day .NET development.

Posted by stu at September 22, 2003 05:18 AM