What do I think of the Code Room pilot?

I have only watched about 1/2 of it so far. I am definitely a little jaded since I know Russ Fustino (the MSDN presenter) and Scott Bellware (making the obvious naughty joke about master pages) pretty well.

What I have seen so far strikes me that the video is a lot more about the MSDN event than the experience of the programmers. I’ve seen discussions of this where people are saying that it’s designed to be accessible to non-technical people. I just can’t see that at all. It’s all way too technical. Who, besides a programmer, could possibly care what ASP.NET 2.0 is? (I just want to drive the car. I don’t care how thermodynamics makes the engine work. And please, if thermodynamics has nothing to do with a car engine, don’t bother correcting me, it’s just an example!)

The one thing I think an average user could connect to (of what I’ve seen so far) is Scott sitting there trying to figure out how to log in to the computer. It’s actually a great moment because here’s this total braniac whiz-kid (yes he’s an extremely smart guy and he’s not really a kid…Scott always has to remind me that he’s not quite as young as he looks :-)) being daunted by Windows – because you know what, we *all* are! Security, even at the level of just being a user on your computer, is really hard for most of us to deal with. And also it is a completely laugh out loud moment to recognize in all of us that we typically don’t think *we* need to read directions. Like when you are setting up a new computer for your parents or friends. Those nice posters that Gateway and Dell et alia create – plug this here, plug this there. Ahh, better yet, I think I blogged a perfect example in my pre-blog blog over here…yup… gad this is embarrassing – but very true!!

Another hour went by before I figured out that I probably should install .Net Framework on to my IIS server. I have been using IIS server on my Win2K server for VS6/ASP development for the past year – but the server obviously needs something more to handle .Net. We’ll see.

Four hours later I see that this is still not working. Aaargh!

3/13: I have finally found explicit instructions about installing to a remote webserver, which include going through the motions of installing VS.NET on the my server. These were right in the initial setup instructions, which I should have seen at beginning but did not in my presumptuousness and impatience. Click here for the explicit instructions for setting up your webserver to host your .Net Web Applications.

Hooray. WebApplication3 is alive!

So, regarding this as something with possible mass-market appeal? I just don’t see that at all. Though, really I have never seen anything official that suggests this is MSDNs goal. Is it a tool to lure new developers? Hmmm, I have to see the rest of the episode to see if they are successful. If they aren’t, then the answer might be no because if Microsoft is promising that it’s SO easy and these guys can’t do it, then I’m not sold. Granted, you are taking serious developers and asking them to do something that is out of the norm for them. These guys are not drag & drop developers so it’s got to be way too hard for them to let go of their way of doing things to use the tools that were probably not really designed for them.

Posted from BLInk!

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