Does Microsoft think developers are stupid?

Well, do they? Because every tool they have for web developing, it “magically” rearranges the code when writing it and when it is delivered at runtime to the requesting web browser. I guess Microsoft’s intention is to make it as easy as possible for the web developer, and sure, it goes fast to set up a dynamic page in .NET (if we, of course, look away from the invalid code, dependancy on the obtrusive JavaScript and a total lack of accessibility).

It probably helps some web developers, but to me it just adds a lot of extra time trying to correct the invalid output. Instead of helping or aiding me, it adds 25% to my working time covering up for its flaws.

My approach as a web developer is to have total control of the code being output. This means that if I have the necessary skills, it wil be a good result. Unfortunately, the way it is now, Microsoft tools are really keen on (or even, horny about) trying to be more intelligent in its code generating than they expect the web developer to be.

I really hate when a tool think it’s smarter than you and just gives you a lot of extra things you don’t need, nor ever asked for. It’s like going to a store and buying something, and the sales man throws in a lot of extra crap that you have to bring from the store and throw away after.

It needs to be pointed out that this is not written out of deprecation for Microsoft, I do think that they have created many good things too. This goes out to any company that makes tools that alters my code without being asked to do it. In this case, this company’s name is Microsoft.

Please, please leave my code alone!

8 Comments

  • Well, my CMS does a complete XML-parse on the content you input, and then recreates the content according to what we allow, and how. In a way, we change your code without you asking for it, but that's different in two ways:

    1) this is an end-user CMS, meant for those without technical know-how, and NOT meant for developers

    2) we do this to ensure that the output is valid and well-formed πŸ™‚

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Faruk,

    That I have no problem with. The other way around actually, <acronym title="What You See Is What You Get">WYSIWYG</acronym> tools should alter the incorrect input code from editors that don't have the know-how.

    What bothers me is when developing tools do that, it's not its place (unless, of course, I choose something like "validate my code" from the application's menu).

  • Michael says:

    Much agreed. The headaches I've had with Visual Studio and .NET in terms of non-standards-compliance, anti-accessibility, and aggressive code-rewriting have been magnificent. I'm hoping and expecting the next version of .NET to be much better.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Michael,

    Thanks for your comment.

    I think there are many web developers out there that share the same grief.

    aggressive code-rewriting

    That was a good way of putting it! πŸ™‚

    Also, my How to generate valid XHTML with .NET might be of some help to you.

  • Dale says:

    Microsoft has pretty much always been about increasing productivity of the programmer, even if it is at the expense of the programmer "losing control". The history of Visual Basic is a testament to that. And yes, it does "lower the bar" as far as a programmer's knowledge is concerned.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Dale,

    That's true. I have no problem with applications increasing the productivity of the programmer, but, as you say, to me it's not worth the expense.

    The problem is also that it lowers the bar too much, which ends up in web developers believing blindly in that everything generated by the Microsoft tools is correct.

  • Arni Gunnar says:

    Just you wait for Visual Studio 2005 this fall, or early next year.

    There they don't touch your code. When you flip from design mode to source mode, the code stays the same. Even if you make changes to the source in design view, alter text or something, the code will stay the same.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Arni,

    Thank you for your comment.

    Unfortunately, I haven't had time to try out the beta of ASP.NET 2.0 and Visual Studio.NET 2005, but I've heard that it won't mess up the code when switching views, and I'm really excited about it.

    The problem that's still there, however, is the code that's automatically generated from it. Please read my How to generate valid XHTML with .NET post and also follow the links in it to Charl van Niekerk’s evaluation of the produced code.

    Then again, hopefully that's something the Microsoft/WaSP task force will be able to take care of.

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