.NET, great disruptor of the decade

'If .NET and C# had come out at the same time as Java, we wouldn't even be talking about Java today.'

I got some pushback from readers in response to my recent post on "Disruptive technologies: the top eight that left their mark in software development," pointing out that Microsoft's .NET should have been included on the list as a leading disruptive force in the '00s decade.

While the original list is a citation from Richard Watson, I think the readers have a point, as I'll explain in a minute. As one reader put it:

".NET should be number 1 on your list. When did Java hit the scene...1996. When did .NET...2002. What is the market share now...50/50. .NET has done so much more than Java in the time frame you are referencing. Visual Studio has had four full releases in 2002, 2003, 2005, and 2008. Microsoft has released the largest free code base compared to any other company. Microsoft's Web service development platform has made it easier than the rest to interop data. Microsoft's UI development in Web, Windows, Mobile, and now Silverlight have reached so many devices with simple developer experiences."

Another reader echoed similar sentiments:

".NET was a huge disruption. I would argue that there are a huge number of commercial sites running on .NET, including all those Sharepoint sites. In my opinion, as an MS developer, .NET has had a far greater impact than Ruby or Spring. Think of ASP.Net, ADO.Net and Linq, WCF, WPF, etc."

Still another reader put it this way: "If .NET and C# had come out at the same time as Java, we wouldn't even be talking about Java today, since .NET and C# clearly outshine both the JVM platform and the Java language."

My take:  .NET and the .NET Framework were probably just as disruptive as open source, especially to the emerging SOA space, over the past decade.

Why? Because Microsoft brought service orientation to the unserved and underserved part of the market that couldn't afford SOA. As it first developed, SOA was a luxury for the well-heeled. To put SOA into action, you needed robust tools, a proprietary application server that handled all the plumbing and protocols underneath, and expensive consultants to make it all happen. SOA was a nice high-margin business of vendors. With the rise of .NET, the ability to create and deliver standardized services was made available to companies with small or non-existent IT budgets.  Open source tools and platforms are seen as great disruptors for this very reason, but .NET fits into this category as well.

Readers, what do you think? Should .NET rank as one of the great disruptors of the 2000s decade?


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