One other point about LightSwitch that actually isn’t really about LightSwitch

I honestly don’t care about LightSwitch that much about it (I mean, I guess I’ll try it, at some point, maybe…after Blend and a couple of zillion of other things), but some random newsletter I guess I subscribe to came into my Inbox that had one paragraph that I particularly agreed with.

Tim Huckaby is some dude who has had knowledge of LightSwitch (codenamed “Kitty Hawk”) for quite some time, as apparently the development of the tool has been around ‘seemingly for years’ (with “seemingly” in there, it’s hard to know what that really means).  He likes it, but is well aware that other people don’t:

“Not everyone is happy with the LightSwitch announcement. What I find so interesting on LightSwitch is the reaction it continues to get in the technology elite community. No one seems to be “wishy-washy.” It’s been that way since KittyHawk plan was released internally to Microsoft insiders. LightSwitch is either vehemently loved and applauded or violently dissed.”

Call me wishy-washy on this one, but you get the point.  He goes further:

“there’s a legitimate point from the developers whose job it is to inherit these homegrown departmental applications built without governance or guidance, and then turn them into “real” applications.”

But, he adds:

“I’d want to “green-field” every application too and never inherit code and never have to do maintenance on any code. However, that is just not a realistic view of the world we live in.”

And here’s the paragraph I really like:

“So, for you developers out there who have to inherit the code of non-professional developers and absolutely abhor it: Would you rather inherit an Access application, a Visual Basic 6 application, a Fox application, a “fill in the blank” application—or Silverlight code generated by Visual Studio? Because as long as there are technically savvy non-developers, departmental applications that go viral and then have to be turned into production ready apps are going to continue to spawn.”

It is very commonplace (at least at many of the clients I’ve worked at) for ‘non-developers’ (those low-level Fisher Price people who, by the way, are often running the business) to develop tools that help them do their jobs.  This isn’t going to stop (Huckaby forgot to mention the obvious candidate, Excel).  Given that fact (and it is a fact), LightSwitch at least offers the possibility of being better than Access.  Not that you can’t, say, run a shipping department on Access (which I’ve seen done), but it isn’t something I’d recommend.

But that’s just it.  The ‘technically savvy non-developers’ (those low-level Fisher Price people who, by the way, are often running the business) don’t want to hear me even mention SpecFlow, much less try to use it.  They also don’t care if I have to take that ‘homegrown’ app and turn it into a ‘real’ application.  You know why?  They consider it part of my JOB.  Sure, like everyone else, I don’t necessarily like to do it, but the people writing the checks to cover my billing rate *rightly* think that it is part of what I do. 

I can’t really argue against that fact.

posted on Wednesday, August 11, 2010 9:53 PM Print
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