Hey, what’s this?!? Is Rod Paddock not the editor of CODE Magazine anymore? Not to worry: He’s still around. I’m just wrestling the editorial away from him for an issue. Publishers get to do this stuff every so often. ;-)
Interesting things have been afoot, both in the industry in general, and also at CODE and EPS Software Corp. (EPS is the parent company that owns CODE Magazine, CODE Consulting, CODE Training, CODE Framework and… well, you get the idea). Over recent years, everything has changed. Not that that’s not true for the years before. After all, everything always changes in the world of software development. But this time, I mean it! Things have REALLY changed! You’ve probably already noticed.
CODE Magazine has now been around for the better part of a decade and a half. When Rick Strahl and I originally started the magazine, we did so with a revolutionary idea: "Let’s create a magazine that covers everything a developer needs to know, rather than just a single language or environment," we said. It was an idea that most large publishers laughed about. How could a small company come out with a magazine that has its content focused so differently? They pitied us. Now, we can’t even pity them, since they are simply not around anymore and the few that are have been sold and taken over by completely different people and companies. Funny how that goes sometimes.
I think the same idea is just as valid today as it was in 1999 when we started working on our first issue. But then again, everything has changed, and the same idea now means something totally different. Back then, most developers lived in a Microsoft world. Sure, there were other options, but it was entirely possible to do everything with Microsoft tools and on a Microsoft platform and cover everything that needed to be covered. Yes, there was Java. And yes, there were things like PowerBuilder and Delphi, but we could easily afford to ignore those and serve our readers (and training and consulting customers, for that matter) a tasty concoction of a pure Microsoft cocktail. This isn’t the case anymore. Covering "everything a developer needs" now includes quite a list of things.
But what needs to be included in that list?
This is a question I have personally wrestled with both as the Publisher of this magazine and also in my role as President and Chief Software Architect of our consulting, training, and custom software business. Not to mention that as a 19 year Microsoft MVP as well as MS RD (Regional Director), I’ve had a somewhat emotional problem to wrestle with. After all, I’ve been closer to Microsoft for my entire career than most people who are actually employed there. Besides, there was simply so much to choose from. HTML5, Silverlight, Windows Desktop apps with WPF, WinRT, iOS, Android, various Cloud platforms, Blackberry, WebOS, and the list goes on and on. There are multiple ways to achieve the same thing: Do you build a native iOS app or an HTML5-based cross-platform app, if you want to target Apple’s platform?
It seems to me now that the dust has settled a little bit, that things have become quite a bit clearer. It’s clear that we don’t need to worry about WebOS anymore and Blackberry isn’t exactly tearing up the market either. Silverlight is now legacy and HTML5 has emerged as a big winner. Even within HTML, where new frameworks are released once every afternoon it seems, some big hitters are emerging. Android and iOS rule the mobile market. The whole Windows 8 brouhaha is also calming down a bit, although I will still be watching developments around WinRT and Windows Phone like a hawk. Judging by the interest we get in the training and consulting division, and also through our free CODE Framework product, WPF Desktop applications are a very big deal in the Enterprise world. Microsoft is going strong server-side, putting out a very nice Cloud platform offering. Languages like C# are doing very well, and, with the increasingly popular Xamarin platform, can now even serve iOS and Android devices.
In short: Excitement is to be had, but unlike a year or two ago, it’s now quite a bit easier to know what to invest one’s time and resources in. Or, what topics a magazine like this one should be covering for that matter. We have now had several issues with a new content direction that includes Microsoft’s technologies but also a range of other technologies equally, as we feel developers need to know about them to be successful. Feedback, such as on our newly redesigned website, so far has been overwhelmingly positive. I hope you enjoy what we have done!