Visual Studio

I see MS have detailed their new plans for the latest releases of Visual Studio 11.

The Express editions of VS11 will only be able to create Metro apps. This is about as opposite as you can get from what most of us were hoping : that Express 11 would include VSTO. Rather than beef up the features of the free IDE they have kneecapped it in a rather desperate looking attempt to get devs to target Metro. Express 2010 will still be available for a while so its not the end of the world, but it doesnt look great for VSTO etc.

In fact Office dev is barely mentioned in all the bumf.

On a separate note I actually spoke to a pimp (agent) about a VSTO role this very week. I never heard back after I told him my rate! He did say most of the other applicants had only dabbled with it and there weren’t many of us with real world commercial experience. I guess the client went with one of those cheaper neewbs. I hope the deployment goes well for them ;-).

I have long since doubted Microsofts commitment to Office development (from around the time they disbanded the Office Developer Advisory Council ;-)). But everything I read seems to confirm that I made the right choice to de-emphasise it. Indeed I haven’t seen anything for a long time that would give me any doubts about my decision to de-emphasise Microsoft altogether.




18 Responses to “Visual Studio”

  1. Govert Says:

    I think this will give a nice boost to SharpDevelop – a free IDE for .NET that has made huge progress in features over the last few years. Together with NetOffice and Excel-DNA, I think the free .NET Office development options look pretty good.

  2. mbrandewinder Says:

    As a VSTO user, I don’t feel more offended by this announcement than by previous ones. Not having VSTO on Express was a big missed opportunity, I made my peace with it long ago. VSTO is great, but in general, my perception is that “thick desktops apps” will progressively become rarer, with more thin clients (tablets) and CPU work moving to the cloud. In that frame, I think Office automation on the client doesn’t have a bright future anyways, regardless of whether it’s VBA or VSTO – it’s going against the trend.

    On the other hand, as a general.NET developer, I find this move offensive. It’s like the VSTO treatment has been extended to all .NET developers. If you don’t know .NET yet and want to try it out with a Console app, no luck – you need to pay for a VS11 version. I’d be surprised if they stick to that decision, so far the reaction is pretty negative, and as much as I wish Win8 all the success in the world, I don’t see it replacing overnight the current ecosystem.

  3. sysmod Says: has the following index for IT jobs:

    1 Java
    2 C#,.Net
    3 Tech Support
    4. PHP & Symfony
    5. Network Engineer

    So did you choose Java?

  4. Simon Says:

    Hi Govert, thanks for the heads up on net office ( ). Ross always raved on about SharpDevelop, probably something I should take a look at. one day.

    Hi Mathias, I agree with everything you say, all good points. I was just looking for a hint anyone there gives a shit about Office dev. I didnt see anything in the VS post. Perhaps they have fixed it in Office 2012 with VSTA or something?

    Hi Patrick, close, but you’re looking in the wrong place…
    hint: top 5 and climbing strongly. And Java as it happens.

  5. workerthread Says:

    Maybe worth noting the various news around what is currently known as “Office 15”, which will include “Office web extensions” (the codename is “Agave”) More on this here and here

  6. sysmod Says:

    “hint: top 5 and climbing strongly. And Java as it happens.”

    So you’re doing Objective-C AND Java? Great to have such energy!
    Focusing on Apple platform? Smaller market, less price sensitive?

  7. gregkramer1 Says:

    Hi Simon,
    For my part, I’m curious why wouldn’t be using your excel chops to get into the broader BI game like Marco Russo & Chris Webb, mastering DAX & being pals with dba types

  8. Simon Says:

    Good question Greg:
    I have had my fingers burnt too many times early adopting MS stuff that doesnt gain traction (eg VSTO)
    I prefer coding to data wrangling.
    The customer is not clear for DAX – it drops between something the biz would find v useful but IT would have to approve, install and maintain.
    As it depends on office 2010 the market is small.
    I do do BI/OLAP with Essbase and SSAS (and MDX) and would love to do more, maybe even with DAX, but I would need more evidence of it commercial viability first.

  9. gregkramer1 Says:


    Thanks for your reply. Great to hear your perspective.

    With all the hype, evidence\data regarding commercial viability is important. After all, if one is preaching the value of data-driven decisions to customers then decisions regarding ones own career should not be faith based :-)


  10. Simon Says:

    Greg, to me the biz case is beyond proven for an analysis data layer between the transactional systems and the performance analysis and reporting. Sadly in many actual companies it still isn’t proven to the point of driving action. That battle is too big (and messy) for me.
    And MS seem obsessed with ‘Web’ and ‘cloud’ (and ‘google’ of course) and not biz value, the BI crowd are obsessed with changing their name to avoid their previous snake oil claims and IT departments are just playing buzzword bingo as they are so disconnected from the biz. That and the ‘security’ land grab to try and prevent their last remnants being outsourced.
    Data driven is right, but its tough to know if the data is reliable, or if the decision is valid, in careers and in biz.

  11. Ross Says:

    I didn’t know this!

    Its a BAD move…. the VS11 only doing metro – lots of people will move to SharpDev now – good for them its a great IDE.

    I cant see metro/win 8 taking off, I constantly feel like MS are losing the plot, there seem to be try more and more “risky” things to “catch up”. I think they need to go back to buying out good ideas, and tooling it all up well.

    I think Office development is dieing out as we know it. There will always be a need for it, but I can see versions of office shipping in the future with out any coding language built in.. it will be a sad day.

    VSTA!! HA, what ever happen to that, last seen with lord Luchan!
    MS seem routed in the idea of SharePoint, MOSS etc, and trying to push the cloud model. Problem is cloud computing is still 10 years behind where it needs to be to be as good as desktop is TODAY….

    I think the cloud for office productivity tools will blow a way a bit in the next 5 years, when crops twig it does not do what they want…. maybe!



    • Harlan Grove Says:

      MSFT needs to get into the device market before everyone realizes we’re well & truly into the post-PC era. If they can’t, their market cap will falter even if their revenues don’t because their growth prospects will dim. Thus Metro and the focus on Metro app development.

  12. Simon Says:

    I think corp devs will love metro, another opportunity to polish the CV whilst delivering zero biz value. Independent devs will continue to avoid .net like the plague.

    I agree MS seem to be forever playing catchup. they only seem to only have a couple of biz strategies now:
    1. Envy – Apple, google, Facebook etc
    2. Gimmicks – these increasingly silly and pointless new UIs – they really are just like a macro version of corp devs. just keep re-wrapping the same tired core in a new ‘interface paradigm’.

    but like you – what the chuff do I know?

  13. DickM Says:

    MS is being managed (with the exception of the guy at the top) by a bunch of good looking, tall, white males with nice hair who are only interested in keeping their bonuses and their condos in Hawaii. Theye all know that if they lose their jobs at MS they will NEVER find such a “cool” and frankly easy gig….

    When Bill ran the show the smartest guy in the room ran the show, and he also owned the company so things got done right.

    If this continues I see MS going the way of RIM in a BIG hurry.

    On the Excel and Access front my only hope is some day someone will wake up and realize that they are destroying a technology that if done right would give them a lock on businesses forever. There will ALWAYS be a need for spreadsheets and the idea of those spreadsheets being smart and connected and efficient should eventually catch on again. Also the need for small departmental databases will never go away and is TOTALLY not being satisfied.

    How MS can let this “space” die away is so irresponsible it makes me sick. I am doing fine because there seem to be enough companies that get it so far. But without younger people coming into this technology and with less and less visibility of this tehcnology on the Internet it looks to be a dying art that may have gone so far that it can’t be turned around. What a crock.

    Sucks to be us.

    Hope all is well Simon ;-) … (ending on positive note)

  14. Simon Says:

    Hi Dick
    I have a few posts in that very area coming up

  15. DickM Says:

    Hi Simon….

    Glad to see YOU posting. I have decided to top posting because of the old saying “If you can’t say something nice don’t say nothing at all.”

    I see lots of great stuff being put into the next Excel but am convinced that MS’s plans for promoting them are going to be a big fail.

    I also had an MS manager ask me why I do such big projects in Access last Fall (in front of one of my BIG clients) and that made me pretty mad.

    I am also very disappointed in the Access Services “story” going forward after my going to a lot of effort to promote it on my blog. Oops … sorry ’bout that folks…

    Also because somebody took issue with the fact that I alluded to having “learned” something while doing work at their corporation as if I am supposed to know everything already (?).

    So screw everybody … I know what I know and I think I’ll keep it to myself from now on… But I couldn’t help but support what you were saying here.

    We should chat.

  16. Harlan Grove Says:

    MSFT seems to have entered a pattern of introducing GREAT NEW IDEAS in one version, then fixing them in the subsequent version. Not that they’ve fixed the ribbon, but the Office 2010 File tab sure does fix the brain fart which was the Office 2007 Orb. Same should be true for Metro/Windows Runtime API.

    However, unless MSFT phones and tablets fail miserably, Metro is the future. OTOH, MSFT hasn’t yet been able to rewrite Office programs as Metro apps (and probably never will), so Office remains desktop software. But desktop software is the past, so Office is as welcome as bastard stepchildren in a family portrait.

  17. Simon Says:

    good analogy Harlan. bit of an arse though when the brother from another mother generates half your profit (source FY12Q3 10Q P39- MBD = 11B, consol = 21B YTD)

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