Devices and Services – what it means for you

Posted on 5/13/2014 @ 3:43 AM in #Non Techie by | Feedback | 1329 views

A while ago, I had written a blogpost talking about the future of the Microsoft IT Pro and Developer. The predictions in that have been spot on.

  1. .NET is done, not dead but done. The pace of innovation in .NET is near zero. Okay, reality check – they did intro Rosslyn, and Rosslyn was known even when I wrote that blogpost. What they did in fact is to open-source Rosslyn. Why is Microsoft Open sourcing everything? I sincerely believe, it is because Microsoft wishes to ride on the innovation of the community, a.k.a. Microsoft will spend less resources creating platforms, and more resources creating services built on these platforms.
  2. Multiplatform FTW. See didn’t I tell you so? This prediction has been more spot on that I could have imagined. Microsoft has not only recognized, but has fully embraced Xamarin/Cordova, and now shows off iOS in it’s keynotes. Again, the push towards “Services”, and less love for the “Platform”. .NET is a platform, and Office 365 and Azure are example services.
  3. In various other places I have also predicted that Windows will become free or damn cheap for the consumer and server licenses and higher end desktops is where you’ll still have to pay for Windows. That prediction, also has been spot on.
  4. Oh and I did predict that Microsoft will have to bring the start button back and will have to “rethink” the tablet/laptop/desktop combo, touch UI gets in the way of desktop, and desktop gets in the way of touch. They will need to create a cleaner separation between the two – they haven’t done that yet, but they showed what they are thinking at the Build keynote with window’ed metro apps. Until they fix that, I’m happy using a Mac, and I suspect those of us who have the choice, are happy using a Mac too.

So let me preface rest of the blog post by saying, I am happy to see this pace of change under Satya Nadella. I like it when my beloved Microsoft does not make stupid moves, like remove the start button.

And that brings me to the meat of this blogpost. Few observations,

  1. The pace of technology introduction is way too furious. Too little real world experience, too much too soon. Enterprises don’t care, and they are simply turning a deaf ear to all this pace. And so do most developers, it is simply too much to keep up with.
  2. No books, no guidance, no documentation, is making the architect’s job 100x harder. I predict good architects, that are still hands-on, but understand the involved platforms end to end, will be worth millions. Dowdy organizations will not see this, but they will be left behind by more agile organizations who will recognize the value of good skills on your team.
  3. And when it’s all “services”, your final solution will be an amalgamation of many diverse services. Therefore the swiss knife approach of “SharePoint”, where one platform does it all, is going to be seriously challenged. The reason people went for SharePoint is because you could invest in one on-prem platform, that did it all. It had a screwdriver and a piano built into it, it wasn’t the best screw driver or the best piano, but it gave you both. .. but when you talk of devices and services, and cloud, does it matter where your services come from? And if it doesn’t matter where your services come from, what is the advantage that a big monolithic platform like SharePoint offers!? None! Don’t get me wrong, the relevant technologies are not dying. But its valuable pieces are going to graduate and grow up as separate offerings, bricks that you can choose to build your mansion with.

So going forward,

  1. I still see a multiplatform world.
  2. Office365 and Azure and similar will offer a number of services.
  3. And the average application will target multiple platforms on the front, and multiple services on the backend.

And that is where your skills need to be.

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