.NET Developers: Wake Up and Smell the WP7!!

Developers, Developers, Developers for Windows Phone 7
Developers, Developers, Developers for Windows Phone 7

I attended the annual DevConnections conference last week and I was, generally, dismayed with the lack of interest in the latest Windows Phone platform. Now, please understand, I’m not suggesting that there was NO interest and that Microsoft is doomed. However, I found it a bit perplexing that I discovered so many Apple enthusiasts and Android die-hards.

Here’s an example: Standing at the Windows Phone booth, I encountered a fellow Microsoft developer.

Developer: (Handling the Samsung Focus, navigating away from an application, then back to it)> “Hmmm…How come it didn’t save my state right there?”

Me: “Well, WP7 doesn’t support ‘mult-tasking’. It does support ‘tombstoning’, but the developer has to take advantage of that. Apparently, this application didn’t do that.”

Developer: “That’s lame.” (Sets Samsung down and pulls out his Android. Walks away.)

Now, this particular developer isn’t representative of the ENTIRE community, but it does show an inherent problem. Does Microsoft have to win over these developers? Or do .NET developers need to get with the program?

And belive me, Microsoft IS trying to win us over.

I attended a free developer launch event in the Los Angeles area. I was treated with meals and given free T-shirts and books. All the while, envangelists stroked our egos and made sure we realized how important we were to the success of the phone platform.

However, may I suggest?: The platform is far more important to us.

Remember folks. We are .NET developers. We use (in my opinion) the BEST tools on the planet to write code. Microsoft’s Visual Studio and Expression Blend completely blow away the competition in their abilty to offer powerful, agile, and robust development. And may I just say, that using these tools (which are free for WP7 development) are just plain fun to use?

Listen. I get it. Version 1 of WP7 isn’t perfect. But it’s up to us to make it perfect. We have to participate in the discussion. Microsoft is HEAVILY interested in our feedback. We have to give it to them.

We have to eat our own dog food. We have to own these phones and put up with some of the bugs (cough)features(cough). We have to evangelize the phones and admit where they fall short.

But sitting back with our Version 4 iPhones or Version 2.2. Androids is plain silly. And, frankly, lazy. We are signing our own death warrant.

The mobile platform is integral to the success of .NET over the long-term.

If Windows Phone fails will .NET be over? Of course not.

However, I would much rather see the platform flourish and have more opportunities as a .NET developer.

Microsoft has always loved it’s developers. They use words like “partner” and “create”, while Apple has continually had an air of “privilege” towards it’s developer community. A quality that suggest that one must “prove” themselves “worthy” of Apple’s marketplace.

Microsoft has a long road to prove that the Windows Phone platform can work.

I suggest that the .NET community gets behind them and help push.

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