Thursday, July 23, 2009

Software Development Fundamentals at TechDays 2009

A conversation on the lack of fundamentals being covered at TechDays has been going on in the blog-o-sphere.  It started with Justice Gray expressing his concern, to which Joey Devilla replied, and then Peter Ritchie got in on the act too.

Fundamentals are sorely lacking in much of the Microsoft development community, and yes, it would be awesome if Microsoft embraced this and flooded TechDays with sessions about SOLID, TDD, design patterns and lots of other technology-agnostic goodness.  I totally agree with Peter that this would ultimately be good for Microsoft’s bottom-line, but I just don’t see this happening anytime soon.

We’ve all seen the Microsoft demo where the presenter opens up a designer, drags a few things around, presses F5 and then proudly proclaims that “I did it all without writing a single line of code!”  Come on people, we’re DEVELOPERS!  Writing code is what we do!  If it were really that easy then why did I bother going to university to get a Computer Science degree?  Why do I read books and blog to keep learning?  Why do I still think that development is really tough?

When we adhere to the fundamentals of software development we end up with higher quality code with a lower overall cost of ownership.  But here’s the catch, fundamentals are hard!  Microsoft is a platform/tools vendor and they have every right to market their products at events like TechDays, but none of those products will make me a better developer as much as a solid understanding of software development fundamentals will.  If Microsoft continues to market their products without a healthy dose of software development fundamentals, the community needs to pick up the slack.

Let’s keep calling out Microsoft when they focus too much on the tools.  Let’s keep writing blogs to promote what we believe is important.  And let’s reach out to those attending TechDays with our own message.  Will there be an opportunity for TechDays attendees in Vancouver to learn about SOLID and other fundamentals?


It just might not be during the hours of the TechDays event.  Stay tuned for more…