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If Microsoft aren’t using Xamarin, why should I?

4 May

Microsoft, in a move that many developers were hoping for, purchased the really rather brilliant company Xamarin. Xamarin provides a tool to write cross platform apps from one code base, namely C#. Brilliant! Now the promise of being able to develop for iOS, Android and Windows from the one code base could become a reality without costing a fortune!

Microsoft also purchased Wunderlist. This will gradually be retired in favour of their new application, Microsoft ToDo. Microsoft recently released clients for Windows, Windows Phone, iOS and Android.

None of which were written in Xamarin apparently.

Why?

I can’t find any details of which Microsoft first party apps for iOS and Android are written in Xamarin, but I suspect it’s not many.

It should be a case that virtually all Apps from Microsoft should be written in Xamarin (with the possible exception of those requiring a significant of low level access, and even then I’m not convinced they couldn’t be coded partially in Xamarin if it’s as good as portrayed).

Microsoft used to be the best at eating their own dog food. If they are indeed doing this, isn’t it time we were told?

Windows on phones is dead…

22 Apr

… or is it the next big thing?

Well, since few people even at Microsoft are using it the outlook does look grim at the moment.

However this article makes a case how Continuum could be the future. Perhaps.

Of course my concern is that I just purchased a display dock to test out Continuum, but I can’t get it to work.

Colour me disappointed.

The top 1%

1 Feb

Or to put it more accurately, the bottom 1%.

That’s where market share of Windows Mobile has plummeted to (worldwide, I see quite a few WM phones in the wild here), and it’s depressing. As one developer who is pulling out of Windows Mobile put it “the market share is falling, and Microsoft doesn’t seem to be doing anything to combat it”.

And finally, I’ve come to agree.

I think Microsoft does see a future in Windows Phone, but it doesn’t see it as anything other than rounding out its offerings and as an insurance policy if they get locked out of Android or iOS.

What a shame. Competition was good, and having a third player is better than having two competing companies for everyone involved. Plus, I do genuinely believe Windows Mobile has the better interface, but that’s now largely academic.

So My lowly Lumia 550 may well be my last Windows Mobile device, even if the surface phone was to arrive. This makes me sad as it feels like taking a step back.

So where to next? Well, probably Android rather than iOS, purely because I’ll probably be concentrating my development efforts there, now Windows Mobile is effectively dead.

Which itself is interesting. I spent some time refreshing my Android knowledge mid last year, only to switch back to Universal Apps and then ASP.Net/Knockout/Bootstrap as work dictated.

With Windows Mobile out of the picture there isn’t as much of a draw to develop Universal Applications, after all, they’ll be universal on what?

HoloLens? Brilliant. No good to me now though.

IoT? Very interesting. But not commercially any use for me.

XBox? I love my XBox. I’m not interested in developing for it.

There’s only one thing that Microsoft can do to reignite my interest in Universal Applications right now – add Android compatibility.

Microsoft dropped the Astoria bridge (or at least postponed it indefinitely) which bought Android applications over to Windows Mobile. Perhaps it is looking at the problem the opposite way around now – bring Windows Universal applications over to Android.

That would be great!

But what would Microsoft get out of it?

Possibly sales of its development tools, which is not to be sniffed at.

If the apps go in the Amazon or Google Play stores they won’t get a cut of the revenue there, but licensing apps developed with the technology could also produce a revenue stream (although be unpopular I’d imagine). Or launch their own store, which would be silly.

Or perhaps the best thing they would get is more apps in the Windows 10 store – both desktop and mobile. That would be one hell of a Trojan horse. Possibly even enough to make Windows Mobile a viable proposition again if enough apps were released this route…

That’s one hell of a long shot, based on zero evidence. It’s just flights of fancy from a disheartened developer. But my god it’s appealing!

But that’s not where the company is going. They are more interested in seeing people using their services on whatever platform these days, and that is a good thing for them. The days of Windows being king are long gone, as well they should be in this new world.

But a unified development platform could also be potentially good for Microsoft. They too would benefit from the develop once run anywhere model that Java never quite achieved. But it’s a lot of work with many compromises…. which they have already worked out how to address with the current UWP implementation.

So come on Microsoft – make Universal Apps that little bit more Universal, and restore my faith!

Until then, I’m going back to the web.

Aside

The Glassdoor Top 25 companies to work for UK

9 Dec

I’ve just had a look at the Glassdoor top 25 companies to work for in the UK.

I’ve worked in 3 of the companies on the list.

Only one deserves to be there.

The other two were not particularly nice places to work in my experience, either for me or many others. Indeed in one┬ácase I don’t know anyone who stayed from out team, and in the other they had a very high staff turnover and the trouble they have retaining staff is well known.

Yet still I wondered about working for the other companies on the list.

With hindsight that probably doesn’t reflect on me particularly well.

NserviceBus – another day another configuration nightmare

11 Mar

Yep, this seems fair: NserviceBus – another day another configuration nightmare.

It’s not just that the NServiceBus API changes significantly and regularly, but all the little things like the documentation being either out of date or just plain incorrect. For example, try following the Step By Step Guide. When I did this a couple of weeks ago entire classes were missing from the process.

That’s just lazy.

Actually, not just lazy, also unprofessional.

Still, I very much like the irony of the company I’m working for being listed on the front page of the Particular web site as a featured client. Still, I guess it doesn’t say satisfied, just featured.

via NserviceBus – another day another configuration nightmare.