I’m not a real world developer

I made the mistake recently of reading some of the responses to the ‘Entity Framework Vote of No Confidence’ letter which I’m sure you’ve heard about already.  Granted, I haven’t read them all, but so far only one has been of any real value: The one from the EF team themselves. In fact, they even set up a whole web site to be more open about how they’re designing EF.  This helps to address one of the major underlying problems that many of us have with EF (e.g. It was seemingly designed in a back room somewhere without considering some already well-established best practices that have been use in “in the wild” in production for at least 5 years). This doesn’t let the EF team off the hook though, but at least their response was positive, constructive, and sincere.

Protecting the Castle

However, the real point of this post was to discuss some of the — let’s be honest — downright insulting responses to the letter from noted luminaries in the greater Microsoft developer community space. Consider, for example, Kathleen Dollard’s response.  So far all the responses I’ve read – of which Kathleen’s is representative – the arguments basically boil down to:

  1. Entity/DDD/PI/TDD/etc design is too hard for the rank-and-file .NET developer. EF will be nice, warm, and cozy for them. Please don’t upset the plebs. I have a book coming out in the fall and I don’t want this to affect my sales or I have a successful consulting firm built around MDA/ADO.NET DataSet generation with sprocs, and EF fits this better than DDD.
  2. [Some moral relativistic equivocation about how my old way of doing things which costs my company/customers way too much is just fine ‘FOR ME’ and how TDD/PI/DDD/whatever isn’t ‘real world’ or ‘practical’ or ‘realistic’]
  3. The petitioners are not ‘real world’ developers, they live in some sort of magical fantasy candy-land and they’re ‘dogmatic’ and trying to tell ME that the earth is round MDA might not be the best way of doing things anymore.
  4. All you petitioners: hush up. Please let the EF team continue to do things the old way and crank out old-think tools that look just like all the other old-think tools we’ve had for 15 years [which somehow never seem to improve the state of things, but we’ll keep trying!].  I have speaking engagements, articles, and book deals based on my stagnant knowledge of old-think and I’m nice and comfortable. Don’t rock the boat here!

Frankly, I find these arguments terribly insulting — especially the insinuation that what I’ve been doing for the past 3-4 years is not ‘real world’ development.  Presumably the thousands of tests I’ve written in a TDD or mostly-TDD fashion were all imaginary and also the millions of dollars of value I’ve helped create for my employers must also be imaginary or some kind of fluke.


In conclusion, I’d like to reiterate what I said above: Despite all the other intellectually dishonest and personally insulting responses to the letter, the only people who have seemed to have taken it seriously and appear to be working towards positive, constructive resolution are Microsoft and, more precisely, the EF team.  This, of course, was the desired effect of the letter.  I think you can call it a success. Noted luminaries in the .NET space alerted MS customers to a potential problem and advised Microsoft of a resolution and Microsoft responded constructively and positively and the issues will likely be addressed to some degree of satisfaction in v2.  What more could we hope for?

Thank you EF team for responding appropriately and thank you for trying to worked towards better practices and helping to elevate the level of discussion in the .NET space.

Hosting an entire ASP.NET MVC request for testing purposes