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Discussions, news and rants from the CTO of DevExpress, Julian M Bucknall

DevExpress Newsletter 37: Message from the CTO

We’re at DevConnections in Las Vegas this week. So, no video again, but at least an interesting, forward-looking Message.

Lies, damned lies, and roadmaps

In less than 4 weeks' time DevExpress will hold its 2010 Summit. The Summit is the occasion where, every year, around the New Year, the management, team leads, and evangelists all meet together, listen and watch each other's presentations about where we are, and where we'd like to be, and discuss the proposed features and enhancements for the upcoming year. Of course, this time around, it's all about the Roadmap for 2011.

And, as always it seems, what a time to be deciding on future directions. Let me count the ways.

1. Despite what you may hear (or not hear) from Microsoft, WinForms is still going strong. We're certainly going to be looking at some interesting possibilities to make our WinForms offerings more palatable, especially in the Enterprise space.

2. ASP.NET ditto, despite the 'hammering' it's getting from ASP.NET MVC. It seems clear that the way forward here is with more semantic HTML, better CSS, leaner downloads. And, we have to look at the whole HTML5/CSS3/JavaScript combo, for sure.

3. Silverlight. Yes, well. In the space of a week, the messaging out of Microsoft has changed from Silverlight being the platform for rich client apps on the web to essentially just being the app environment for Windows Phone 7. And will WP7 be a success (for some definition of success)? Should we follow it? Why it, instead of, say, iOS4 + MonoTouch? And, let me be unequivocal about this: just because we have Silverlight controls doesn't mean that they will work well on WP7. The whole user experience is different on a smartphone than it is on a desktop or in a browser. Like, duh.

4. WPF. Yes, well. Let us say, the discussion here will be intense.

5. Our frameworks are certainly in a competitive market. There's Microsoft's Entity Framework to consider, the new (unreleased, note) Lightswitch, and the open source libraries as well.

6. CodeRush already has some aggressive new features planned for 2011. Next year will be the year where writing clear, concise, well-factored code without CodeRush will be ... very painful.

7. And as for the VCL products, already Embarcadero are blogging about the 64-bit compiler and source code changes needed for it.

Of course, as with all roadmaps for an uncertain market, ours will be published with the usual caveats about forward-looking announcements. We're not looking to mislead you per se. No lies here; it's just a roadmap.

Just to let you know our summit this year is 29th November to 3rd December. We’ll also be providing a couple of webinars during the Summit to let you know our thinking as it happens.

Published Nov 03 2010, 12:00 PM by
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Comments

Marc Greiner (DevExpress MVP)

I would say : please continue hard on the work you started in XPS (WPF and SL).

The Scheduler and the Tree especially as far as I am concerned.

November 4, 2010 4:31 AM

Crono

Julian, I think you should read this:

team.silverlight.net/.../pdc-and-silverlight

November 4, 2010 8:10 AM

Peter Hurford

I would say : whichever way you're headed, you should probably concentrate more on documenting your products than blogging

November 4, 2010 10:41 AM

Stephen Eckhardt

Given that C++ refactoring didn't even make the list, do you have a recommendation as to which competitive product I should switch to?

November 4, 2010 10:57 AM

Michael Thuma

Why is writing well factored code next year more painful than today?

November 4, 2010 11:28 AM

Aaron Smith

The future of development is going to the web. New applications are being designed for the web. Web SITES are going to be HTML5/CSS/JS... Enterprise Web APPLICATIONS are going to continue to go with Flash or Silverlight. With the need for rapid turn around time on applications, developers are going to choose what works best for that job, and for the enterprise space, it's Silverlight (if it's a MS shop).

November 4, 2010 5:38 PM

Colin Morgan

Please keep up the documentation and examples, especially with ASP.NET and WinForms. Many companies I know (some large) are still on Windows XP and are not planning to change until the upturn is a reality, not media spin. Many are only just upgrading from classic ASP/JS and don't like the latest-and-greatest until it is a proven technology - very frustrating but sound business practice!  

November 5, 2010 10:22 AM

Aaron Smith

As an aside, Scott Guthrie just answered this silverlight vs. HTML5 question.

weblogs.asp.net/.../silverlight-questions.aspx

Silverlight is here to stay and continues to be a very important technology for Microsoft.

November 5, 2010 10:46 AM

Garry Lowther

With the recent indicision at Microsoft about Silverlight/HTML5, it has highlighted the fact that for business application ISV's, the trusty Windows desktop is still the most reliable platform upon which to build business software i.e. SQL Server, Active Directory, Office, WinForms and of course DevExpress.

We held back on developing in Silverlight because it was/is not and now probably never will, be ready for prime-time.

By utilising web services in the cloud and developing Software+Services, WinForms is still a fantastic platform for building scalable LOB applications.

My request then to DevExpress is to please continue to enhance your WinForms toolkit - it should remain in the lead with respect to cool functionality because it is reliable and robust.

November 8, 2010 12:11 PM

About Julian Bucknall (DevExpress)

Julian is the Chief Technology Officer at Developer Express. You can reach him directly at julianb@devexpress.com. You can also follow him on Twitter with the ID JMBucknall.
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