January 29, 2004 spout

When In Doubt, Ignore Longhorn

Thursday, January 29th, 2004

A guy walks into an exotic car dealer and asks the salesman the price of the fancy new Ferrari in the corner. The salesman looks at him with a sad look on his face, shakes his head and says, I’m afraid, sir, that if you have to ask, you won’t be able to afford it.”

If you’re wondering whether you should be paying attention to the information on Longhorn that has appeared on the web and in the news lately, then you shouldn’t be. Longhorn RTM is years away. This is the most lead time we’ve given on any Windows operating system ever. The reason we did it was so that we could get super early adopters to give us meaningful feedback while we still had enough of the development cycle left to make meaningful changes. If you’re not a super early adopter, than Longhorn is just going to be noise that you should ignore til the beta hits.

For day-to-day development, you should pay attention to .NET 1.1 news sources. For the near future, you’ll want to listen for Whidbey, the next version of the .NET Framework, which should work on all supported OSes when it ships. Here are a list of my favorite news sources for current information and near future information:

.NET Framework 1.x Information Sources:

  • MSDN: The vast majority of existing and new information you’ll find on MSDN is on currently shipping technologies. My Developer Center brethren post tons of new stuff every month all about helping you be successful today. Also, one part of the Longhorn Developer Center that you should check out is the Preparing for Longhorn section, where I keep resources that you’ll need to know about today so that you can keep Longhorn in mind for tomorrow (or the day after tomorrow : ).
  • MSDN Magazine: MSDN Magazine does a fabulous job of helping folks take advantage of .NET 1.x and have recently been doing articles on Whidbey and Yukon.
  • MSDN Columns: If you haven’t seen the columns that MSDN hosts online, you’re missing a ton of great stuff from experts in the field. Besides the Longhorn columns (which you should ignore if you’re in doubt!), my personal favorite is Wonders of Windows Forms, which has also been focused on taking the best advantage of Windows Forms and where Michael Weinhardt has just started with a series of Whidbey Windows Forms topics that’ll make you drool.
  • GotDotNet: This site is host to a raft of content and tools and code samples from the .NET product teams along with active web forums.
  • CodeProject.com: CodeProject is my favorite user-contributions site and has tons of new source code samples and articles all the time about all manner of existing Microsoft technologies.
  • DotNet Newsgroups: The newsgroups are a hotbed of information on current technologies and are staffed by a large number of Microsoft employees to answer your questions.
  • International .NET Association (INETA): Don’t just sit around and code by yourself, find a user group near you!
  • DevelopMentor mailing lists: The .NET mailing list hosted at DevelopMentor launched a development culture. Their mailing lists are still tops in my book.
  • .NET 247: I can’t tell you how often my Google searches on Microsoft-related technologies yields an answer on this site.
  • Most Microsoft bloggers: Sure, Box, Anderson and Scoble hog the limelight, but some of my favorite bloggers concentrate on today’s technologies. Don’t miss Adam, Chris, Duncan, Dino, Kent or Raymond.
  • Whidbey Series on MSDN TV: If you want some info on the not-too-distant future, Erica Wiechers’s series of Whidbey topics on MSDN TV is a great place to start.
  • Whidbey/Yukon PDC talks: Contrary to popular belief, most of the talks at the PDC were not Longhorn-related and it’s not too late to catch the videos or download the slides if you weren’t able to catch them all.
  • Scott Guthrie’s Blog: For juicy bits of ASP.NET 2.0 information, you can’t beat Scott Guthrie’s blog.
  • theServerSide.NET: I haven’t spent much time on this site yet, but Richard Burte, an MS PM, says he likes it well enough to add it to this list.
  • What did I miss?

That’s not to say that Microsoft is going to stop talking about Longhorn in the WinFX newsgroups, on the Longhorn Developer Center and in blogs of all kinds. We do this so that those folks that can think about the distant future today have a chance to make their voices heard at a time when we can most take advantage of what they’re saying.

However, there continues to be more information than any human can consume on current Microsoft technologies, so don’t be alarmed when you see something go by with Longhorn in the title; just ignore it until you think that Longhorn can help make your business more successful. That’s why we’re building it after all. : )