I love this term. Yes, it tends to be overused and sometimes misused, but essentially for me, it means one thing: doing what’s best for developer communities. I’m not talking just about the Microsoft developer community, but the community as a whole – all developers with lots of different programming backgrounds – from HTML and CCS to PHP, ASP.NET to Java – and more. And usually I find that if we can do what’s right for the community, it’s a win-win for both organizations and communities out there.
At Microsoft I find it’s sometimes a mixed bag. The terminology that I use is that we’re a huge ship – and it takes awhile to get people in line to move that ship in the right direction. Cal Evans outlined this beautifully in a blog entry recently – and I think he gives a fair assessment of where we’re at and some of the things we could do to improve.
That said, our teams that are driving the Microsoft Web Platform are really working to nail this. We started out with a vision – a very simple statement with lots of work that goes on behind the scenes.
It’s been 10 months since we kicked off this effort, but we have seen some amazing results to date, including:
- The introduction of the Web Platform Installer (WebPI), which streamlines the download/install process of our web stack (no more 10 websites to visit – only one!)
- The delivery of the Windows Web Application Gallery with the most popular open source applications out there – for installation on top of the Microsoft Web Platform (no more configuration pain!) – and, if you have an application you’d like to showcase – we’ll do it – marketing & distribution included :)
- The inclusion of PHP into the Microsoft Web Platform Installer (we do listen, I promise)
And the community is responding – we’ve had over 1.5 million downloads of our products through the WebPI since January of this year (!!) and almost 150,000 applications from the Windows Web Application Gallery downloaded since March 17th.
But let me get to the point that I’m trying to make here about the success of what we’ve done:
With greater success comes greater responsibility. And we want to deliver to you a better, more interoperable community-driven platform going forward.
What does this mean? Well, for starters it means that we’re going to be looking into the broader community to create guidance around certain things – such as OpenID (yes Chris Messina, we’re getting there) and other standards-based efforts. We’re also going to be continuing to work closely with the PHP community on different things we could do better for PHP developers working on Windows. We also want to include various tooling options that help developers build web projects faster and better – even if these don’t come from our own engineering teams.
That said though, as my team embarks on planning out our next steps – we need your help. What do you want to see? How would you like to participate?
Some of the things we’re looking for specifically are:
- Feedback on the WebPI: What’s missing? What would you like to see included?
- Feedback on the Windows Web App Gallery: What apps would you like to see? Could we improve this experience?
- On the Microsoft Web Platform as a whole: how can we make this better? What products do you want to see better integrated? We’re planning on integrating more with Azure, but are there other products out there we could provide guidance for and/or include?
- Guidance: What tutorials would you like to see?
So the action item here? Let us know what you want to see. We’ve been pushing hard to make this happen internally at Microsoft, but the community feedback is absolutely critical for us to take the next steps to make this a true community platform.
(photo credit: Jim Grisanzio, Sun Microsystems) http://www.flickr.com/photos/jimgris/542408040/