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Against: Expensive to learn
Posted by: Clyde Davies (---.dsl.pipex.com)
Date: Thursday, 07-Oct-2004, 07:47:03

I cut my teeth on VB 1.0 when it came out. I soon found myself running up against limitations of the Standard Edition in later versions. Visual Studio.NET is an expensive tool, SharpDevelop isn't really finished yet, and the .NET Framework SDK is horrible to use. VB Express has gone some way to reducing the cost of getting one's foot on the first rung of the ladder, but compared with the panoply of free IDE's out there for Java, it's not surprising that hobbyists tend to go for what's cheapest.



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Re: Against: Expensive to learn
Posted by: Tim (---.gotadsl.co.uk)
Date: Friday, 08-Oct-2004, 08:08:20

Fair point about the cost of VS.NET, but is the SDK really so hard to use? You mention VB 1.0, but with the old VB there was no choice, you had to buy the IDE. With .NET you can use the SDK, you can use SharpDevelop (which is an impressive piece of work), or other tools like DreamWeaver for web apps. Even the Microsoft C++ compiler is now free.

Tim

Re: Against: Expensive to learn
Posted by: Clyde Davies (---.astrazeneca.com)
Date: Friday, 08-Oct-2004, 10:58:05

I agree that SharpDevelop has now gone a long way to plugging the gap between a free SDk and a productive environment. However, if you teach yourself programming (as I did) with a view to making it a career, you still have to make the jump between your current tools and those used in commercial products. Also, the independent ISV, the person who runs their own business and does bespoke development, is going to find the cost opf equipping themselves with these tools a mite onerous.



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Currently writing the GuideDog editor using MSHTML in my copious free time...

Re: Against: Expensive to learn
Posted by: Don Demsak (---.dyn.optonline.net)
Date: Sunday, 10-Oct-2004, 01:32:03

MS has heard this problem, and their solution will be the very cheap (under $100) Express series of IDEs.

As for a small ISV, anyone with half a brain can fill out the ISV application and get MSDN Universal at a deep discount (I think it is around $500 and the product retails for $2799). MS does work very hard to give their products to folks that write applications with them. Also, most colleges can join the MSDN Academic program, which gives the students the Academic version of MSDN Universal.

And as you said, SharpDevelop is out there. So, this complaint that it is too expensive is really a farce. MS just makes it hard enough to get the stuff for free so that the folks that aren't really going to use it will not get it.

Re: Against: Expensive to learn
Posted by: Clyde Davies (---.astrazeneca.com)
Date: Monday, 11-Oct-2004, 11:09:02

'So, this complaint that it is too expensive is really a farce.'

Hardly: if someone says they can't afford it I'm inclined to believe them,. otherwise they would have bought it. And $500 is a hell of a lot of money for an ISV starting out with nothing. If it were a 'farce', why did Microsoft invent an answer to a problem that, according to you, didn't exist by bringing out the Express range of IDE's? And the argument 'MS just makes it hard enough to get the stuff for free so that the folks that aren't really going to use it will not get it' explains why Java is now such a prevalent teaching language.



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deadlyvices@hotmail.com
Currently writing the GuideDog editor using MSHTML in my copious free time...

Re: Against: Expensive to learn
Posted by: Don Demsak (---.dyn.optonline.net)
Date: Monday, 11-Oct-2004, 11:26:10

I think you are mixing different thing. Students, (as per your teaching rant) can get VS.Net for free, if their school joins the MSDN Academic program (you can't say the same for any other Java IDE that is a comerical product). Most schools in NJ (where I am from) are part of the MSDN Academic program (I know because I speak at various student events). As for the Express line, that is not for ISVs, it is just for hobbyist and novices (not college students). Any potential ISV that can not afford the $500 to get the full MSDN Universal thru the ISV prgoram isn't ready to be an ISV, they are a hobbyist (IMHO).

Re: Against: Expensive to learn
Posted by: Clyde Davies (---.astrazeneca.com)
Date: Monday, 11-Oct-2004, 11:43:51

'Any potential ISV that can not afford the $500 to get the full MSDN Universal thru the ISV prgoram isn't ready to be an ISV, they are a hobbyist (IMHO)'.

Oh well, that's that sorted then. Because you think that only true ISV's have loads of cash knocking around, then according to you people shouldn't shouldn't be allowed to start from nothing. Well, let me inform you of something: I started a consultancy business from nothing, and I begged, stole and borrowed every bit of software I could. I would have preferred to have done so legitimately, and actually gone out and bought all my tools, but I couldn't. I had to make do with what I could scrounge and this is the situation that many ISV's starting out find themselves in. And it's not just themselves that they have to pay for: they need to have a per-seat license if they intend to bring anyone else on board. It's quite obvious that your opinion remains merely that; hardly one borne out of any real business experience otherwise you wouldn't make such supercilious comments.



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deadlyvices@hotmail.com
Currently writing the GuideDog editor using MSHTML in my copious free time...

Re: Against: Expensive to learn
Posted by: Don Demsak (---.dyn.optonline.net)
Date: Monday, 11-Oct-2004, 12:39:25

You can't start a business without money. It is plain and simple. Take the example of an automechanic. $500 is nothing for a mechanic to spend on his tools to run his business. If he doesn't have the money, he can't start his business and he is a hobbyist (a shadetree mechanic is what we call them). There is nothing wrong with that, they are just not ready to make the jump to running a business.

I'm an independent consultant, and have been for over 13 years. I've had many side companies over the years, so I know how to run a business. Some businesses have a higher barrier to entry than others. Consulting is one of the businesses that have a high barrier to entry (need lots of cash, and not just for tools, but for salaries of your employees). Consulting is also not an ISV. An Independent Software Vendor is one who makes software to sell as an end product. A consulting firm, on the other hand, is one the builds custom software for a client. Their is a big difference between the 2 types of companies, and they are run different ways.

Don't be so quick to flame me, until you get to know me. I don't mind someone giving their side. Just do it with facts, not with beliefs.

Stealing someone's hard work, just so that you can get ahead is not acceptable, on any level. Stealing is stealing whether it is music mp3s are software, there is no gray area.

My blog is www.donxml.com

Re: Against: Expensive to learn
Posted by: Clyde Davies (---.astrazeneca.com)
Date: Monday, 11-Oct-2004, 13:14:40

Well, if I haven't given a factual basis to my grievances with the pricing policy then I'm surprised. Some people do start up business on a total shoestring. You can start a business without money, surprisingly. You just can't grow it as quickly. I didn't like having to 'borrow' software then and I don't like doing it now but if it's the only way, well....

I think I took particular exception to your remark 'MS just makes it hard enough to get the stuff for free so that the folks that aren't really going to use it will not get it.' This is just elitist rubbish. Who's to say who should and shouldn't use a software tool? Most people don't use MS Word to anything like its true capability, yet no-one would base a pricing policy for it on whether or not they were competent. We all have to start somewhere. Similarly for software development tools. I started out as a total amateur and now I develop software for a living, and rather well, even if I do say so myself. Access to the right tools is far more important than how much cash you have. You can start a consultancy/ISV/whatever without the right tools. You just can't progress as quickly.



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deadlyvices@hotmail.com
Currently writing the GuideDog editor using MSHTML in my copious free time...

Re: Against: Expensive to learn
Posted by: Don Demsak (---.dyn.optonline.net)
Date: Monday, 11-Oct-2004, 13:33:08

I understand where you are coming from, and I think the way phrased it is the problem. I agree with what MS is doing and here is why. Without some barrier to become an ISV, hobbyist would be selling their wares as if they were ISVs. I don't know about you, but I've seen lots of code by novices trying to sell some new fangled software, and it was a total mess. I would not want to buy such software, and it does not bode well for the MS image if such software exists. I'm educated enough to know to look out for this type of software, but someone like my mom isn't and that is the rub. Sun does not make much money directly from Java for the end user. They make it (mostly) from the sales of their servers, which isn't an end user product. So they don't care about the average end-user, only other companies, which should have the expertise to determine if an ISV has reliable products. MS on the other hand makes most of its money from the end user.

Re: Against: Expensive to learn
Posted by: Clyde Davies (---.astrazeneca.com)
Date: Monday, 11-Oct-2004, 13:51:32

But I don't see how this reflects badly upon MS. I use various software products, and if these crash on me I blame the vendor, not the company that wrote the tools that were used to write the products. When that overpriced pile of crap otherwise known as Rational Rose crashes yet again I blame IBM for charging too much and not paying their programmers enough.
I know exactly what you mean about 'a total mess': the Visual Basic Interface from Hell was a common sight a few years ago. But I don't think this reflects badly upon MS, except in the eyes of those people who think that VB was a bad idea in the first place and 'real' programmers use only C++, or those who have a downer on MS in general.
The market ultimately will decide upon whether a piece of software sells. I often haven't a clue how my software tools were developed. They either work or they don't. I also think that novice programmers should be encouraged rather than discouraged through pricing policies: if they want to move on to producing software for a living, then let's support them by making the tools more affordable.



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deadlyvices@hotmail.com
Currently writing the GuideDog editor using MSHTML in my copious free time...

Re: Against: Expensive to learn
Posted by: Ned (66.179.220.---)
Date: Monday, 11-Oct-2004, 18:33:27

Go Clyde. You are my hero, a modern day Robin Hood. We need more voices like you.

Re: Against: Expensive to learn
Posted by: Clyde Davies (---.dsl.pipex.com)
Date: Tuesday, 22-Mar-2005, 18:21:36

I've just read that the Express editions will be sold at $49. So how does this square with MS' supposed policy of making sure that the 'wrong' people don't have access to the technology?



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deadlyvices@hotmail.com
Currently writing the GuideDog editor using MSHTML in my copious free time...

Re: Against: Expensive to learn
Posted by: Don Demsak (65.198.97.---)
Date: Tuesday, 22-Mar-2005, 19:49:44

Check out what the Express Editions can and can't do. You definitely can't write enterprise ready apps with the Express Editions (all the code has to be inline for ASP.Net and you can't compile down to a dll, SQL Express can only use 1G of memory, 1 CPU, 4GB of data, and it does not come with OLAP, Reporting Services, DTS, plus there are a bunch more little things like that, but not everything has been decided so this might be changed before it is released).

Re: Against: Expensive to learn
Posted by: Clyde Davies (---.dsl.pipex.com)
Date: Sunday, 10-Apr-2005, 21:11:00

It sounds like the old VB 3.0 professional edition to me. You could certainly write a commercial application with that, and almost certainly you can with Express. The limiting factor here is really what other technologies (database servers, application and web servers etc) solo developers have access to, not what Microsoft wants them to play with.



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
deadlyvices@hotmail.com
Currently writing the GuideDog editor using MSHTML in my copious free time...

Re: Against: Expensive to learn
Posted by: Don Demsak (---.dyn.optonline.net)
Date: Sunday, 10-Apr-2005, 23:26:23

Yeah, I guess you could write "commerical" applications with Express, but I wouldn't call them enterprise apps. Subtle differences between the 2, but I wouldn't by anything created with Express, or recommend them to my clients (large corporations). Open source, now that is a different beast, since I could use the code and integrate it into an enterprise app.



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