With the ASP.NET 2.0 Beta 2 slated to ship this week - this is still the game plan, no? - I'm starting to prepare myself mentally for my next book, which I've yet to start, but plan on hammering out the TOC within a week after Beta 2 ships, and start writing soon afterward. To be honest, I haven't played around much with 2.0, other than digging into the GridView pretty extensively, and working with Generics. But many of the new, cool ASP.NET 2.0 features - profiles, the mryiad of new server controls, ControlState, client script callbacks, etc. - I haven't used at all or, if I have, it's been just a cursory examination.
Today I stumbled upon Rick Strahl's latest blog entry, titled What, No Whidbey Version? Rick, who sells a WinForms app, is a bit peeved at people who are moving production code to beta bits and who are likewise on his back for having a 2.0-compliant version of his applications at this time. What I related best to was Rick's comment on 2.0 material out in the community - books, conference sessions, magazine articles, etc.:
I’m finding that magazines have little interest in articles of the current version. Same with .NET conferences. Submit 1.x or more ‘general’ topics – even if they are unique and your chances of getting picked go down pretty drastically.
I have noted the same tendencies. Personally, I think it's a shame. Yes, looking forward is fun and cool and a great way to get a jump start on a new technology, but there are real people doing real work today with 1.x. Who's providing information to them? In fact, I can be counted in that set of people, as the consulting work I do is, and will be for the forseeable future, rooted heavily in 1.x. Sure, it's cool that there are a ton of 2.0 articles out there, but, at this point, MSDN Magazine is worthless to me, since it's about 95% focused on 2.0. (I understand the purpose of the magazine is to be forward looking, but the challenges I face and the clients who pay me are more concerned about the present than what will be shipped (hopefully) by the end of this year. I'm looking forward to moving to 2.0 eventually. It's just that my clients want production-ready code written today.)
Overall, I think it is time for 2.0. 2.0 solves many of the headaches that are around today. Furthermore, .NET 1.x is pretty old, all things considered. I wrote my first classic ASP page in January of 1998. I wrote my first ASP.NET page in May 2000. That's roughly 2.5 years of ASP use, from which I moved from ASP 2.0 to ASP 3.0. I've now been using ASP.NET (rather exclusively, thank the gods) for nearly five years. That's almost twice as long as my tenure with classic ASP, and the only version change was from 1.0 to 1.1. Yes, it's time for a new version, time to fix the woes of the current version, but, like Rick, I'd rather not be innundated with 2.0 information until it's closer to shipping. (Correction: it's not the deluge of 2.0 info that is frustrating, it's the replacing of 1.x information with 2.0 information that's vexing.)
I'll leave you with Kirk Allen Scott's two looks back at the last five years of .NET:
I would promote Kirk's #3 worst - tight coupling of Visual Studio to IIS - as the #1 worst, but as an ASP.NET instructor who has to grade projects that are submitted as Web applications I may be slightly biased.