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Dear Fellow CTO, I Write to You about vNEXT

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vnextI doubt many CTOs go to technical developer’s conference where they can witness cool demos like a vNEXT web site deployed to a memory stick and installed on the clean machine of an unaware attendee. Such a demo is definitely cool and just the kind of thing done to excite developers. But I’m afraid it won’t appeal CTOs as much.

The Microsoft stack started an evolutionary, and perhaps just spontaneous, change around 2005–right after the release of .NET 2. The trigger was probably the advent (or just the rediscovery) of Ajax. Fact is, that the foundation of Web Forms–keep me off HTML and JavaScript–was shaken and challenged as people started asking for completely different features–just ability to effectively use HTML+CSS+JS in Web pages. Then it came ASP.NET MVC, Web API, SignalR.  vNEXT attempts at doing a bit of due housekeeping.

As a result, there are two options ahead for a CTO to consider.

1) Ignore vNEXT entirely and do business as usual: same frameworks, same coding experience, same deployment options, no additional features. You don’t lose anything of what you have and can do today;

2) Embrace vNEXT entirely as if it really were (and it is not) a breaking platform with no backward compatibility;

vNEXT lays the ground for Microsoft.NEXT. It inherits enough from current, adds some breaking changes, sets new goals and direction. Like it or not, you won’t be able to ignore vNEXT for too long. vNEXT is where the business of software  seems going these days. I invite you to consider vNEXT as a completely new family of products and frameworks regardless of framework versioning and actual compatibility. Code is–to a good extent–backward compatible; the approach to development is not.

Imagine the .NET vNEXT as a family of frameworks to base future development on. I’d even hope that names (ie, ASP.NET) are completely changed to smooth the transition and give the right perspective of what’s going on.

  • .NET Web is the modernized HTTP pipeline that includes MVC6/WebPages for HTML, Web API for JSON, SignalR for realtime and relies on OWIN for in-out communication and EF7 for data access.
  • .NET Native is the revisited baseground for Windows Store and Windows Phone apps.
  • .NET Core is the latest .NET Framework that is just v4.5.3.
  • .NET for Devices is the framework for micro-devices.
  • Possibly more frameworks coming.

It goes without saying that this is the way I see it and would explain it to fellow CTOs and architects. I didn’t mention the cloud.  The cloud is the substrate of everything around vNEXT. You can have the cloud or not; whatever you can do in vNEXT can be done through the cloud too.



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