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MVP Summit Roundup: .NET is open and everywhere

Applications powered by .NET will run everywhere and will be developed everywhere. That was my big take away from attending MVP Summit this year.

Microsoft MVP Summit 2016

What is MVP Summit?

Every year Microsoft holds the MVP Summit, an invitation to MVPs from around the globe to meet Microsoft product teams and one another at the Microsoft Redmond campus. This year I and 2000 other MVPs from around the world came together to learn and give feedback about what Microsoft is working on.

A Microsoft MVP Summit 2016 session

.NET is open!

I have been an MVP in the .NET and ASP.NET space since 2012, and in the last four years I have witnessed a transformation in the way Microsoft builds its developer tools and engages with developers. The time when Microsoft employees were forbidden from even looking at open source code, let alone using it, is in the past. Likewise gone are the days of Microsoft spending years creating its developer products and tools in private and then releasing them on an unsuspecting developer community.

Microsoft today is developing its .NET tools, like ASP.NET, out in the open. The source code is hosted in public on GitHub. Not only can you view changes that Microsoft developers are making one commit at a time, you can even join in, review and comment on their code, or submit code of your own. Microsoft is now the largest user of GitHub in the world – an amazing change in just a few years.

Another big change for Microsoft is that they are completely open to using and integrating third-party solutions. For example deploying applications in containers is rapidly gaining popularity amongst developers. Docker is one of the most popular examples - instead of reinventing the wheel with its own container product, Microsoft is building support for using Docker into Azure, Visual Studio and its other developer tools.

Developers are happy with Docker and Microsoft wants you to use what makes you happy.

.NET is everywhere

It is strange to think that a few years ago Microsoft’s .NET effort was focused entirely on Windows. Now with .NET Core, Xamarin and Unity we can build and deploy .NET apps and games to Windows, Mac, Linux, Android and iOS.

.NET is everywhere

The goal of .NET used to be to drive developers to Windows. Microsoft had three pillars for making money: they wanted to sell you Windows, they wanted you to run Office on your Windows OS, and they wanted you to go home to play games and watch TV on your Xbox.

The revolutionary change to Microsoft’s thinking was adding Microsoft Azure as a fourth pillar. Microsoft doesn’t care if your Azure server is hosting Windows or Linux, SQL Server or MongoDB. This change has refocused Microsoft to make .NET not just the best tool to develop applications on Windows but the best tool on any platform.

Microsoft Azure and Linux: a match made in heaven

As well as running .NET everywhere, Microsoft is enabling developers to build .NET applications everywhere. Visual Studio Code is a cross platform IDE released this earlier this year and rapidly gaining popularity amongst developers. In a short time it has attracted over a million daily users and experiences double digit monthly growth.

The Future

By making .NET open and decoupling it from Windows, Microsoft has laid the ground work for other companies to spread it everywhere. Just after the MVP Summit, Samsung announced it is building .NET into their Tizen operating system, that will run on its new smart TVs, wearables, and other IoT devices from 2017. And Google has announced they have joined the .NET Foundation, with the likes of Red Hat, Unity and Samsung, something no one would have imagined a few years ago.

As a software developer I am incredibly excited by the transformation that Microsoft development tools have undergone, and wholeheartedly approve of Microsoft’s vison: Any dev, any app, any platform.

And judging by the response of the other developers at MVP Summit I’m not alone.

Microsoft love developers

Posted by: James Newton-King, Developer | 21 November 2016

Tags: Cloud, Azure, Open Source, .NET, Development, Xamarin

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