David Chappell


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The Microsoft Application Platform: A Perspective  
# Monday, June 22, 2009
I spoke at a Microsoft conference in Holland last month, and a video of one of the talks I gave is now online. Its title is The Microsoft Application Platform: A Perspective, and it covers a potpourri of different things: the relationship between application platforms and business strategy, a simple model for thinking about application platforms today, a look at the on-premises and cloud platforms of various vendors using this model, and more.

Now that I think about it, a better title for this session might have been Things David Thinks are Interesting in the Application Platform World Today.

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Great presentation! I enjoyed the diagramming showing how the various camps are lining up against one another.

In my experience, the best use of "re-use" of code has been with services (in a wider sense, what you call infrastructure, I believe) rather than libraries (above the very basic libraries built into languages). The re-use has been best with things like web servers, database servers, etc. and not necessarily specific blocks of code that make up parts of the services.

I believe that this is because a service creates a clear boundary. It defines for you up front what it will accept and what it will return or otherwise cause to happen. It is of no importance to the user how the work is accomplished; it simply is accomplished.

The UNIX ideal of "small and sharp" tools also cleaves to this ideal, whereby small command line utilities that do only one thing but do it very well can be chained together to create useful applications. The success of PowerShell has also built on this idea of chaining together items.

In a wider sense, the pieces brought are brought together in a "platform" or "stack", where different services and glued together to provide an overall environment / platform.

For example, the LAMP stack (Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP) is credited with a large amount of the innovation that occurred on the internet because all four components were F/OSS (encouraging widespread adoption) and were in use by large groups of developers.

Additionally, if you as a developer lived in any one of the components you did not have to worry about any of the others. A web developer in PHP does not need to know how to program the C code that makes Linux work, nor the low level routines of Apache of MySQL. You can concentrate on building web applications using PHP and just depend upon the other items to work together.

In your opinion are there any open source competitors to the .NET and Java platforms, or are there so many possibilities that the effects of any one set are too diffused?

Great talk.. Will u be posting a link to be able to download the presentation used during the talk

Todd: Thanks for the kind words--I'm glad the talk was useful for you.

And there are certainly open source competitors to the platforms I talked about. In fact, if I took the final group of slides in the presentation to the next level of detail, open source technologies would appear in many of the vendor platforms. My goal in this talk was to focus as much on vendor strategies as on technologies, however. I believe that what these vendors choose to do matters a lot, especially for enterprise customers.

For a PDF of the slides, go here.

Great Talk. I love your talks man. Exciting times to be in and be able to see whats coming and be able to prepare. I wrote a short synopsis of your talk on my blog. Hope i did it justice. http://geekswithblogs.net/cloud9/Default.aspx

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