Developer Update--Software Sector Is Seeing Another Paradigm Shift--July 21, 2006

This Issue Sponsored By




Double-Take Software

In This Issue

A Note from the Editor

Developer Perspectives

  • Software Sector Is Seeing Another Paradigm Shift
  • eLibrary Short Takes

  • SMBs Need Some Discipline
  • Learn How You Can Achieve 100% Uptime For Your Email System
  • Tech Talk

  • Glad You Asked: Looking for a New Job? Keep These Pointers in Mind
  • For 'um Developers
  • Letters to the Editor
  • Info to Go

    New and Improved

  • Software Simplifies Creating Web Database Applications

  • Sponsor: AVIcode

    80% of all software released into production will fail due to quality issues, but proactively monitoring applications throughout the lifecycle will improve quality and reliability. Learn about the two fundamental categories of application errors and methods for quickly pinpointing the root cause of functional errors. Download the whitepaper today!

    A Note From the Editor

    You might notice that this newsletter looks a bit different. As Bill Sheldon described in his columns "Will .NET Survive" ( and "A Ripple Becomes a Wave" (, Developer .NET UPDATE is sporting a new name--Developer Update--and some new features. One notable new feature is the "Glad You Asked" column in which Bill will answer readers' questions. In addition to these changes, the newsletter will be published once a month (the first Friday of each month) instead of twice a month. This new schedule will start with the August 4 issue.

    Developer Perspectives

    by Bill Sheldon, [email protected]

    Software Sector Is Seeing Another Paradigm Shift
    Every so often, the business software industry's focus goes through a paradigm shift. I feel we're on the verge of another shift, but it's not the one you might think.

    Originally, we had large centralized mainframe systems that relied on server-based applications and roll-and-scroll terminals. These systems were prohibitively expensive for most companies, except for large organizations. Companies that needed limited computer processing purchased a share or time on a computer that was hosted and run by a company such as IBM.

    The era of server-based systems eventually gave way to a client-server architecture that was built on desktop PCs. Many applications took advantage of the advances in desktop systems and stored only their data on central servers. Some applications were entirely desktop based.

    The client-server era was overcome by the explosive growth of the Web and a reintroduction of applications hosted on central systems. Although this era is similar to the one in which we started, the return to central servers didn't end the client-server architecture--it just changed the applications' focus. With the release of the Microsoft .NET Framework, the Web began including applications that featured improvements designed to enhance the users' experience. Microsoft wasn't the only source of improvements; another good example is the use of Dynamic HTML (DHTML)--aka Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (AJAX)--in Web applications.

    The newest release of the .NET Framework is starting to breathe new life into client-server based applications. For example, the .NET Framework 2.0 offers ClickOnce deployment. With this feature, you store a client application on a server and locally install that application on a client. The application on the client then keeps itself current with the application on the server.

    ClickOnce applications have the potential to drive the paradigm in the direction of client-based applications again. However, I don't see this happening because of the upcoming release of Windows Vista, Longhorn Server, and Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF). I think that WPF's focus on allowing the same UI to be hosted in a server-based Web application or on a client will ensure that a paradigm shift back to the client-server architecture won't occur. Instead, I see a different shift starting.

    As I mentioned previously, back in the days of mainframe systems, many organizations didn't own the central systems they used. However, that situation changed with the introduction of the client-server architecture. Most every company purchased one or more servers as well as server-based applications.

    Even though hardware costs are relatively low, many companies are now seeing the cost of maintaining their servers and server-based applications become prohibitive. Thus, I see a new era emerging. In this era, companies will start to eliminate their server-based applications and their extranet infrastructure and instead allow these applications to live on servers for which they purchase a share or processing time. Truly large companies will likely still carry the expense associated with maintaining an internal IT environment, but many small and midsized companies will move to this hosted model--even for custom applications.

    Vendors are already starting to offer application hosting services. For example, offers the AppExchange (, an on-demand application-sharing service. As subscribers, companies (and even individual developers) can design and run applications within the constraints of the AppExchange platform. If desired, they can have review their applications and make them available for other subscribers to use. To use another subscriber's application, you pay an additional fee, which is paid to the application's owner/developer. Microsoft Office Live ( is setting up a similar service.

    As you can see I'm not projecting this paradigm shift out of thin air. Companies are already moving in this direction--and this movement is going to accelerate fast. Combining an on-demand application-sharing model with the ClickOnce's smart-client capabilities will undoubtedly provide a powerful paradigm for business software in the coming years.

    Sponsor: Surgient

    Use virtual lab automation solutions to address special challenges presented in pre-production and staging environments, including virtual server file library management, provisioning, configuration and remote access issues. Live Event: Thursday, May 18

    eLibrary Short Takes

    SMBs Need Some Discipline
    Many small-to-midsized businesses (SMBs) tend to use a development process that doesn't typically incorporate formalized database change-management processes. Will Microsoft's Visual Studio Team Edition for Database Professionals bring the needed discipline to these SMBs? To find out, read Michael Otey's editorial "Database Design Discipline" in the August issue of SQL Server Magazine. Go to

    Learn How You Can Achieve 100% Uptime For Your Email System
    The whitepaper "Can You Afford to Have Anything Less Than 100% Uptime For Your Mission Critical Email?" shows you how to make email systems truly available 24x7x365. It also shows you how to secure your systems against viruses, comprehensively back up email data, and more. To download this free whitepaper, go to

    Tech Talk

    Glad You Asked
    by Bill Sheldon, [email protected]

    Looking for a New Job? Keep These Pointers in Mind

    Q: In your "Interested in a Programming Career? Here's How to Start" Q&A (, you provide some good suggestions on how to get into programming. However, you missed the biggest option: a college degree. As a manager of a small development group, I concede that Microsoft certifications will get your resume some extra attention. But almost always, a bachelor's degree is required or desired. In many cases, we won't even interview someone without a bachelor's degree.

    I'm not saying that all computer science graduates are the best developers. But when you have a large stack of resumes to sort for every developer job, the first cut is often the candidates' formal education. In my last hiring round, I had resumes from high school graduates as well as doctorates.

    Equally important is that developers without a bachelor's degree basically have nowhere else to go in the corporate world. Writing code can get boring after a while, and they'll want options. Without a degree, those options often aren't there.

    I can also tell you that salaries are affected. You might have two equally talented and experienced programmers, but developers with a bachelor's degree will likely earn $20,000 to $30,000 more a year than their counterparts without a degree.

    Can you please let people know that the certifications are nice but not a substitute for a formal college education?

    A: I completely agree with the gist of your comments. A formal college education is very valuable. In almost every case, developers who go through a solid 4-year software engineering or computer science program have a better understanding of how computers work than developers who didn't go through such a program. A good program helps future developers understand what the computer is really doing, which helps them troubleshoot problems when they arise.

    However, the college route works best for those under 30 who can afford to devote the appropriate time to it. The question in the "Interested in a Programming Career? Here's How to Start" column came from someone who noted that his age made going for a bachelor's degree an unrealistic option. And since this person had already had a career, stopping his income or spending 6 or 7 years in night school without already having a related job in that field wouldn't make sense. The reality is that there are hundreds of people in or entering the software market who aren't in a position to get a bachelor's degree.

    As for Microsoft certifications, having a string of letters after your name can be good or bad when you get to an interview. As you note, the whole idea is to get to the interview stage. So, let's look at this from that standpoint and discuss the skills that a developer should possess.

    First, as an interviewer, remember that you should never ask illegal questions such as "How old are you?" or "Are you married?" Note this doesn't mean that you can't deduce the answer to some of these questions. For example, if a candidate received a bachelor's degree in say 1987, it's pretty easy to deduce that the candidate probably is around 40 years' old.

    As a job candidate, you should avoid bringing up such topics as age and marital status unless you're certain they'll help you get the job. For example, if you're interviewing for a position that requires traveling more than 50 percent of the time, you might want to mention that you're single without kids because the interviewer might feel that you'll have fewer travel restrictions. By the way, being single isn't always a plus. An interviewer might consider it a drawback because it's easier for you to leave the company for a different job.

    But back to our focus: having a degree. Although a bachelor's degree can be helpful, there are also limitations. For example, having a degree in say astronomy might not carry much weight with an interviewer (which is the interviewer's loss since I know a very talented engineer who had that as his major). When I'm looking for someone to join our development team, I'm wary about hiring candidates with doctorates. In an interview, such candidates are going to have to convince me they want to write code as opposed to discussing design theories.

    Whether you have a degree or not, the most important skills you can demonstrate are the ability to write clearly, the ability to communicate effectively, and the ability to reason and think on your feet. Your resume needs to demonstrate your writing skills. It should be concise and correct. You need to demonstrate your communication and reasoning skills in the interview. Make sure you understand the question being asked and answer accordingly. There are times when the correct answer is something like, "I don't know. I'd need to reference the documentation to verify that." Incorrectly guessing at a question or providing an answer that tries to dodge the question can cost you. However, constantly asking the interviewer to repeat or rephrase questions is a concern.

    Although you need to demonstrate your writing, communication, and reasoning skills, what really sets a candidate apart in an interview is his or her ability to show desire and passion for the job and a willingness to try to resolve problems. So, when you get to the interview, remember that the interviewer wants you to succeed. You just need to demonstrate that you can be an effective team member.

    For 'um Developers
    Forum participant Bill is running into a problem when using a WHERE statement that includes a variable. If you can help, go to

    Letters to the Editor
    What's on your mind? Let us know at [email protected]

    2006 Watch

    FREE Visual Basic 2005 Training CD-ROM!
    Start learning Visual Basic 2005 today with cutting edge training from AppDev. Get a FREE Visual Basic 2005 training CD (a $115 value!) taken directly from our new course. Click the link below for your Visual Basic 2005 training CD.

    Info to Go

    When disaster strikes your Windows, SQL, or Exchange servers, you need answers. Make sure that if an emergency occurs, you're prepared. Get the full eBook and get started on your recovery plan today!

    Are you protected company-wide against spyware, keyloggers, adware, and backdoor Trojans? Test the state-of-the-art scanning engine that uses threat signatures from multiple sources to track down the culprits that antivirus solutions alone can't protect you against. Download your free 30-day trial of CounterSpy Enterprise today!

    Learn to use a database utility for SQL Server to lower operational costs, simply management, and increase the availability of your SQL Server deployment. On-demand Web seminar

    Get the essential tools you need to manage a SQL Server 2005 system, SQL Server security essentials, and database backup and recovery. Download this exclusive guide today!

    Invitation for VIP Access
    Become a VIP subscriber and get continuous, inside access to ALL content published in Windows IT Pro, SQL Server Magazine, and the Exchange & Outlook Administrator, Windows Scripting Solutions, and Windows IT Security Newsletters--that's more than 26,000 articles at your fingertips. You'll also get a valuable one-year print subscription to Windows IT Pro and two VIP CDs that include the entire article database and are delivered twice per year. Order now:

    Save $80 off the Windows Scripting Solutions Newsletter
    Get endless scripting techniques and expert-reviewed code. Subscribe to Windows Scripting Solutions today and save $80:

    Hot Spot

    Increase your SQL production server's performance by offloading Reporting Services to a secondary server. Gain additional insight into your important business data quickly and effectively. Download the whitepaper today!

    New and Improved

    Send information about your developer-related products to [email protected]

    Software Simplifies Creating Web Database Applications
    Awaresoft Pty Ltd released Aware IM 2.0, software that lets developers and experienced computer users create Web database applications without programming. Aware IM simplifies three major areas of application development: database management, UI, and business logic. Version 2.0 offers internationalization support, a more flexible UI, and more than 40 other new features and improvements. A free trial version of Aware IM 2.0 is available. For more information, contact Awaresoft at 720-274-5479 or [email protected]

    Contact Us

  • About Developer .NET Perspectives -- [email protected]
  • About technical questions --
  • About product news -- [email protected]
  • About your subscription -- [email protected]
  • About sponsoring an UPDATE -- contact Richard Resnick, [email protected], or Lisa Kling, [email protected]
  • Developer .NET UPDATE is brought to you by SQL Server Magazine, the only magazine devoted to helping developers and DBAs master new and emerging SQL Server technologies and issues. Subscribe today.

    You can manage your SQL Server Magazine email newsletter subscriptions by going to

    You can view the SQL Server Magazine Privacy Policy at

    SQL Server Magazine is a division of Penton Media, Inc. 221 East 29th Street, Loveland, CO 80538, Attention: Customer Service Department

    Copyright 2006, Penton Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

    Hide comments


    • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

    Plain text

    • No HTML tags allowed.
    • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
    • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.