D'Arcy from Winnipeg
Solution Architecture, Business & Entrepreneurship, Microsoft, and Adoption

What is the *True* point of innovation?

Sunday, April 20, 2008 1:08 PM

I was thinking more about the "Are we innovating or just porting" session we had yesterday here at Alt.NET conf.

The discussion was around why the Java community has created so many tools for their development, and yet the .NET community has just seemed to slap an 'N' in front of it and ports it over.

We then discussed what products have come from the .NET space to help enable our own software development, instead of relying on the Java space to provide these. We did end up identifying a list of products from the .NET space, which we patted ourselves on the back for by the end.

I made a comment about how we shouldn't just focus on the open source/free products that are available and ignore the for-profit tools that *have* been innovative (i.e. ReSharper). I started thinking about this idea of innovation and being innovative...and I started to question more and more why we were associating innovation in the discussion with open source/free products.

I saw an add from IBM a few years ago.

[Edit Here it is...]


It's an older guy with a younger geek, and he's showing the older guy his online avatar in a virtual world game.

"It's *innovation*" the younger one declares. The older guy eventually states:

The point of innovation is to make actual money.

I remember when I first saw this ad, my socialist Canadian upbringing made me scoff at this. Why not consider the beauty of creating something for the benefit of mankind and having that be the reward for the work? And birds sung and butterflies flew by...

But now...now I'm not so sure. A buddy of mine who was in that same session pointed out that innovation typically emerges when there is a visible need. Right now in the .NET tools space, maybe we just don't have many *new* needs right now? There were comments in the session about how silly it was for people to write NEW IoC containers or NEW ORM tools, because they've been done.


So if we're looking for true innovation within the .NET space, we need to look at

a) What are the emerging tools that are fixing current pain points in our development.

b) Identify which issues we've already found fixes for and which items can be innovated around

c) Understand that not all innovation will come from open source, but that may come out of for-profit organizations...and this ISN'T BAD!

So what is the area that we as a community can innovate on? What things can we be making improvements to? There was one tagline that the IBM commercial ended with, and I really like it:

Stop Talking, Start Doing.



# re: What is the *True* point of innovation?

I'm just wondering how long until someone builds an alternative ide to Visual Studio (or creates one built on top an existing OSS solution like Eclipse)

That's my prediction and has been for some time... 4/20/2008 1:42 PM | Shaneo

# re: What is the *True* point of innovation?

That's been done already with Sharp Develop

4/20/2008 2:20 PM | D'Arcy from Winnipeg

# re: What is the *True* point of innovation?

Hmmmm.... new prediction

How long until we see built-in ide support for things like NHibernate, StructureMap (or alt IOC container), NUnit (I suppose we've seen that already with ReSharper, TestDriven.Net), others..

4/20/2008 2:39 PM | Shaneo

# re: What is the *True* point of innovation?

That's been done to some extent with GenWise.


It uses NHibernate to generate your data objects and has support for auto building ASP.NET 2.0 pages based on your objects. While not as fancy as the MS IDE it can do the job pretty good from what I have seen and read about. Also the files are VS compatible so you can fire it up in VS without any conversion.

4/20/2008 5:50 PM | William

# re: What is the *True* point of innovation?

Hmmmm.... new prediction

I'm going to be filthy stinking rich by the end of the month

4/20/2008 6:06 PM | Shaneo

# re: What is the *True* point of innovation?

Unfortunately in the .Net world, MS will always be the decider on all things .Net. Even if there were alternative IDE (SharpDevelop) or VS support for NHibernate (ActiveWriter does active record) or VS support for <Insert other OSS tool> a majority of the .Net community will not use them. The reason is all of the above will come from outside MS, and the same reasons people don’t use OSS now will still exist. 4/20/2008 6:10 PM | JCichocki

# re: What is the *True* point of innovation?

Sorry Shaneo, can't help you there....


4/20/2008 9:01 PM | William

# re: What is the *True* point of innovation?

you talking about this video D'Arcy?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZEc-jLXnWNA 4/21/2008 12:37 PM | cam

# re: What is the *True* point of innovation?

No Cam, but I did find it and added it to the post.

D 4/21/2008 4:28 PM | D'Arcy from Winnipeg

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