[FoRK] The collapse of the .net ecosystem

Damien Morton dmorton at bitfurnace.com
Fri Jun 19 04:16:30 PDT 2015

In my opinion, the jumped-the-shark moment was the introduction of WPF.

WPF was a bloaty performance nightmare - overpromising largely meaningless
GPU acceleration, while being fundamentally slower than the WinForms it

Instead of a theoretical diamond intended for use outside of Microsoft,
they should have been creating a graphics platform good enough for them to
develop their core products in.

As far as I know, .NET was only ever used in a peripheral way inside
Microsft - it was never intended for Microsoft to develop its own products

On Fri, Jun 19, 2015 at 12:08 PM, Stephen D. Williams <sdw at lig.net> wrote:

> This has been obvious for quite a while, years.  Now it is just glaring.
> https://onedrive.live.com/view.aspx?resid=1E5AA35A965D3234!26479&ithint=file%2Cdocx&app=Word&authkey=!AHbAQ1i_GgwNxJY
> Author name: Justin Angel Twitter: @JustinAngel Short-bio: Justin Angel
> worked for Microsoft building Silverlight, Nokia as the Principal Engineer
> for Windows Phone development, and at Apple as the lead windows phone
> developer for Beats Music.
> The collapse of the .net ecosystem
> The golden age of the Microsoft developer ecosystem is behind us and so
> could be your career. The Microsoft developer ecosystem is experiencing
> plummeting employment opportunities and declining community interest. You
> might have felt it for yourself and now we have numbers to prove it. Sure,
> you’ll always be able to find a job working in C# (like you would with
> COBOL), but you’ll miss out on customer reach and risk falling behind the
> technology curve. I’m here to convince you to seriously consider retooling
> your career in another technology. Let’s get us started by reviewing some
> publicly available statistics.
> Plummeting Employment Statistics
> Indeed.com job site aggregates job ads from all over the internet
> including LinkedIn, GlassDoor, Dice, CyberCoders, Monster and many other
> job sites. The number of job ads on Indeed.com is a strong indication of
> the overall employment trends for each technology. Indeed.com generously
> share the employment trends they’re seeing and the job graph for C# is
> truly disconcerting:
> The graph above shows an approximate 60% reduction in C# jobs since the
> golden days of 2010. The number of C# jobs today is back to 2006 levels.
> What does that mean for you the next time you’re looking for a new job?
> Microsoft’s developer ecosystem fails to supply employment to its
> developers. That’s a critical deathblow to any professional developer
> ecosystem.
> Sinking Developer Interest
> The TIOBE developer interest index rates programming languages based on
> the number of professional engineers world-wide, courses offered, third
> party vendors and search engines statistics. It’s consistently tracking C#
> as a top programming language for over decade. During the last five years
> we can see a sharp decline in C# developer interest.
> TIOBE developer index has C# developer interest down approximately 60%
> down back to 2006-2008 levels. The first time I heard this number I was
> flabbergasted. What do other developers knew that I didn’t?
> Example: Google trends down by 50%
> We can see an example of waning developer interest by looking at Google
> search trends. Google search volume for C# is down approximately 50% since
> 2009.
> Personally I use google to help find answers to technical questions all
> the time, so it’s worrying to see there’s a lot less people doing just
> that. C# search volume being down approximately 50% is a great example of
> what information gets folded into the TIOBE developer interest index we
> previously looked at.
> Open source contributors are leaving
> OpenHub.net aggregates information from multiple open source hosting sites
> including Codeplex, SourceForge and others. They report that the number of
> developers contributing to C# open source projects is down by approximately
> 40% since 2010.
> Many .net developers use open source projects to improve their
> productivity. What do you think it means if the very people who build those
> projects are leaving the ecosystem?
> Are these statistics really meaningful?
> There’s an undeniable downward trend shown across all data sources we’ve
> reviewed: The .net ecosystem boomed in 2010 and lost approximately 40%-60%
> of adoption since then.
> Independently each one of these phenomena might be explained away by
> reviewing the methodology used to compile each of these indices, selecting
> them and checking for various sampling errors. But collectively these
> numbers should make you think.
> Definitely ask yourselves if I’m wrong because I could be. But also ask
> yourselves “What if Justin’s right? What if the .net ecosystem is in
> freefall? What does that mean for me for my career? If the .net ecosystem
> is really collapsing what actions should I take?”
> Why is this happening to .net?
> Only a detailed historical analysis can really explain the processes and
> causes involved here. I can’t provide that, but I can venture a few
> educated guesses of my own:
> 1) The reach of Microsoft’s developer ecosystem has declined in the past
> five years due to the rise of non-Microsoft web frameworks and mobile
> platforms. Android and iOS control 90% of the world wide smartphone market
> and .net developers aren’t first class citizens on those platforms.
> 2) It’s hard to make long term investments when Microsoft’s ever revolving
> door of new technologies continuously makes previous codebases obsolete.
> That climate makes both businesses and developers afraid to invest
> resources in potentially defunct technologies. Remember when WinForms was
> replaced by WPF? Only to be replaced by Silverlight? Then by Windows Phone
> apps? Which were replaced by Universal apps? Or what about how Web Services
> were replaced by WCF only to be replaced by Web API?
> 3) A lack of emphasis from Microsoft itself on .net development didn’t
> help either. Looking at Microsoft’s Azure documentation we can see .Net on
> equal footing with Node.js, Java, PHP, Python and Ruby. It feels to me like
> Microsoft have just given up on .net development.
> 4) The .Net Framework has become fragmented and stagnated. We’ve seen
> “forks” of the .net Base Class Library to Silverlight, Windows Phone,
> Windows Store apps and Xamarin each with their own unique flavor. While at
> the same time nothing interesting seems to be going on with the classic
> .net framework. With the exception of Roslyn what’s really new and
> interesting about .net vNext?
> Are there going to be .net projects in the future?
> Absolutely. The entire .net ecosystem won’t disappear any time soon. There
> are always going to be maintenance projects for existing .net codebases.
> There are even going to be new greenfield projects where .net has a unique
> lock-in advantage (such as using WPF for desktop app development).
> Additionally, Microsoft itself will continue funding development for
> partner apps on new platforms.
> What should developers learn to future-proof their career? What’s hot
> today?
> Go learn something you’re passionate about. If you think there’s a chance
> I could be right, you owe it to yourself to keep relevant and explore
> what’s out there.
> If you’re into client-side web development there’s a huge boom in “HTML5”
> technologies and Javascript skills have never been in more demand. For
> server-side web development Ruby and Python are still going strong and
> Node.js is picking up serious steam.
> If you think Mobile is here to stay then you owe it to yourself to buy an
> iPhone or Android and see which platform you personally like the most.
> Android development is done in Java; iOS development can be done in Swift.
> Developing for either platform is an easy switch for .net developers.
> If you consider yourself proficient in SQL Server or Oracle, go ahead and
> experiment with MongoDB or Redis. They’re fine examples of data storage
> technologies that are becoming very popular.
> There are also potential outliers like going into Big Data and learning
> Hadoop, or consider making a career switch to DevOps and pick up skills in
> Puppet or Chef.
> Put your money where your mouth is!
> I’ve spent the last dozen years in the .net ecosystem and even helped to
> build it while working at Microsoft and Nokia. Well, I’ve just accepted a
> full-time position as an android developer. Over the last few months I’ve
> been learning Java, reading the Android source code and figured out how to
> use IntelliJ productively. For the foreseeable future, I’m taking a break
> from professional .net development.
> The numbers I’ve shared with you in this article were a major reason why I
> first considered joining another ecosystem. It’s my sincere hope you’ll
> consider doing the same.
> Sincerely, -- Justin Angel
> sdw
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