What’s Hot and What’s Not

28 06 2007

The field of IT is constantly changing. It takes a great deal of time outside of work to stay up with current technology. At various stages throughout my career, I’ve had to bet on what technologies will become “the next big thing”. Some successful guesses have been XML, .NET, and Web Services (in hindsight, these don’t seem like technologies that could have failed, but focusing on XML was a bit out-there, and .NET was a huge gamble). Some of my wrong guesses have been Linux (back in 1996 the market just wasn’t ready); low-level unix network programming; and to a certain extent WinForms1. I thought it might be interesting to write down what technologies I am currently focusing my learning efforts on. Then, sometime in the future, it will be interesting to see how my bets have turned out.

  ThumbsUp WPF
    I just love using WPF. It makes developing a pleasure again. Granted, it can still be frustrating; but it’s usually logically frustrating.
  ThumbsUp XAML
    XAML looks like a great investment of my time. Not only does it power WPF, it is also used for Silverlight, WF, and various other technologies.
    WiX
    WiX is an open source installer toolkit. This is a much better way to build installation packages compared to the tool included with Visual Studio.
    ClickOnce
    There is a lot more to ClickOnce than meets the eye. This technology used to deploy a WPF app, with a WiX installation program for the server-side is a great, maintainable deployment model.
  ThumbsUp Silverlight
    The technology to reboot the web“. There is a lot of hype around Silverlight. I am only scratching the surface, but I’m hoping it will live up to my already lofty expectations.
  ThumbsDown ASP.NET Ajax
    I’m amazed at what people are doing with javascript. However, this is getting less focus from me a this point.
  ThumbsDown CSS
    Likewise, CSS is a technology I am passionate about. But, I’m focusing more on other technologies at the moment.
  ThumbsDown WinForms
    While I’m a little disenchanted with WinForms, it is still currently my greatest area of expertise. I will continue to spend time keeping right up-to-date on advancements; especially in the CAB arena (we use the CAB in projects at work).
  ThumbsUp WCF
    I made a heavy investment into Web Services. I haven’t had the opportunity to use WCF much as yet; this is something that is going to change.

So, I wonder if I’m betting on the right things now? I could probably change focus and move to a web-orientated technology-set, but for some reason I just love developing high quality windows applications. WPF is my technology of choice.

1 – WinForms has put food on the table for a number of years now, so it wasn’t a bad bet; it’s just that the web is going through its 2.0 bubble. It will be interesting to see how things pan out.

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