I’ve been attending my University’s annual Postgraduate Research Conference, listening to presentations, and giving one myself!
What struck me was how quickly academia has taken up .NET and how word is spreading. Projects which started in Java are now shifting towards .NET or are investigating .NET as another option of deployment and research. Sure, .NET has been around several years now, but academia is usually slow to change.
Its all good signs as to the future of .NET. Where research is active, is where the next generation solutions will arrive and where developers should concentrate.
It was also good talking to delegates afterward explaining the forthcoming changes in Whidbey and seeing eyes widen as to the possibilities, especially Indigo (a lot of our research is in middleware).
However, one problem seemed to be jarring. Cross-platform support. In my eyes, this is the single biggest limitation to .NET and its uptake in both business and academia. We have Rotor, we have Mono…but it needs a mind-shift from Microsoft to get the ball really rolling.
It won’t happen soon…one of the big problems of having a desktop and server provider writing a development platform. And with Longhorn looking to tie .NET closer still, its an in-built constraint of .NET and a disappointing one at that.