The decision to make the investment to switch development platforms, historically, occurred based on technological advancements that solved “real” (and not some perceived future) needs of our customers. Since the customer benefits exceeded transition cost, companies and developers decided willingly to change platforms.
Over the past 30 years I went from assembler programming on PDP-11 to C, ADA, COBOL, C++, Revelation, Progress, FoxPro, Visual FoxPro, Visual Basic, SQL Server and Visual Studio Version 6.0. Each transition pales in comparison to short lived excitement of Visual Studio 2003 which has rapidly declined to pure and justifible hatred for Visual Studio 2008. I'm convinced this is the only development suite I use that gets worse instead of better with each release.
With Visual Studio the justification for transitioning to the new BLOATED world of .NET simply is not there for the majority of customers, despite Microsoft’s spin and marketing campaign code named smoke and mirrors. This fact is evidenced by the seer volumes of names on the failed VB and VFP petitions drives. It became apparent, that both the Visual Basic and FoxPro communities were not going to embrace BLOATWARE willingly like Microsoft has hoped. In a self-serving arrogant revenue driven fashion, Microsoft issued an end of life for the Visual Basic and Visual FoxPro product lines in order to get out from beneath the royalty free distribution model of VB/VFP, gain acceptance of Visual Studio and couple new custom applications to the Windows operating systems via dot BLOAT. (See prior weblog entry on this fact)
When developers didn’t get on the Visual Studio bandwagon, Microsoft started releasing updated technologies, namely Office, SQL Server 2008 and to a lesser extent Vista (does anyone actually use Vista?) that aren’t 100% backward compatible with Visual Basic and Visual FoxPro thereby further forcing the transition to occur.
Left with no other viable Microsoft alternatives developers are forced into implementing this BLOATED monstrosity called Visual Studio for small and medium size business applications where it does not fit and only as a last resort. The true niche for Visual Studio is large scale enterprise based applications, not the VB/VFP void Microsoft created ! I'm so right on this point as usual, Soma recently blogged about Microsoft giving away Visual Studio to small businesses. Not surprising Soma's spin is, Microsoft Monopoly INC. helping the "little guy" when the reality is no one in this niche is buying VS therefore let's give it away since we can't sell it and maybe someone just might use it.
The bottom line is honest developers want the right solution for our customers. Visual FoxPro and Visual Basic with some ASP filled this small and medium size business niche nicely. Visual Studio for the foreseeable future definitely is not the right development tool for this market, it is no where close to having the RAD capabilities, ease of use and the low cost of ownership of Visual Basic and Visual FoxPro.