Response to Waylon: student developers like features

Hi there, thanks for the reply.

Like I said in my post, whether we're developers or CIO's (now or in the future), we should know what the industry is doing. I have Slashdot on my rss feed, as should everyone else (well, if you want to know what's happening outside / anti - Microsoft) (You can also do the whole MSDN blogs rss feed for internal MS news).  By the way, I sit on both sides of the scale, I'm both a developer and a managing director for a software company.

Also, I'd be concerned if any of us were in the position of investing big money into servers at our age/current position in life. What I think this means is that we, as students, should be sold on the features of the platform, rather than its stats. I understand that there are people making decisions on big cost servers, and they do need the information you're talking about, but students?

Why? Because students are sceptical - why trust stats from someone trying to sell you that thing? I would not try to do this at Massey - there were many people who left feeling 'bent the wrong way' - and none the wiser for it. I think in this situation we could have left feeling positive and excited about the products being advertised.

What does this represent? A lost opportunity. I was talking to a senior lecturer at Massey today, and he said when he was at one of the big Uni's in the states back in the early 90's, everything was Microsoft, because the software was cheaper than the competition (IBM and Borland mainly). People were using Microsoft, and the resulting years had many competent windows developers due to it.

We can't do that now, and as you've mentioned in your blog, there is Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP, Java, python, etcetera etcetera out there, and ok, based on who's giving the stats, are basically free, with huge communities around them. Microsoft can't really compete with that forever, and universities are huge beurocracies (according to the lecturer), so asking for any money for resources takes months. Resources in this instance means anything needed for development, not necessarily MS stuff in particular. This means they take the path of least resistance, which is the non-MS route.

How do we change this? What Massey has mentioned to me is that they want a VS Studio stripped of a huge amount of 'junk'. Now, this isn't junk to the core VS Studio user, but to a first year student overwhelmed with the concepts of variables, methods/functions, OO and GUI's, Visual Studio is just overkill. Massey is presently changing their first year language due to the Delphi book going out of print, now is the prime opportunity to get some people (me and whoever at MS is available) to go in and sell this concept.

Imagine, at the end of the year/semester, you have 1, 10, 100, 200 people versed in the basics of your language. Imagine the change in the marketplace when these people start to get out there. It gets big real quickly.

So, in summary, I see two key points from all of this, for two different groups of people:

1) If a person is already developing in something else, sell them the features of your product.

2) If a person isn't yet developing on ANY platform, get them on it Real Quick.

Well, this turned out long, and isn't all that well thought out. I hope my points make sense, and note they are my perspective when being a student developer, and are really targetted at current or future developers. I don't intend to have any rude comments or anything, so don't take anything I say personally. I just really want to get my thoughts out there, I believe they are in MS's best interest, and I'm not 'dissing out' MS or their products, I really want things to get better for students, and this is how I think things can improve.

This has now become a blog entry 



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