Microsoft’s Own Developers Lambast Visual Tools

It would be easy to cite this piece as an indictment of visual tools as a class. I don’t think that is really the point, rather the more interesting point is that Microsoft is made up of the same sorts of people you find in any organization or on any project. All of the developers quoted are way on the more senior end of the spectrum, many of them responsible for some serious systems development and design and implementation of programming languages.

For those classes of development I would easily agree that visual tools are very poorly matched. It doesn’t really matter if those tools are created by Microsoft or the engineers who eschew them come from the same organization. As the article notes, it is somewhat enlightened of Microsoft to allow their distinguished engineers to speak so freely, even when it might be construed as an unqualified bash of some of their products.

No matter how you look at it, as I mentioned with regards to the recent post about programming in natural language, simplifying programming tools in my experience inevitable leads to limitations in those same tools. The more complex the challenges you undertake, the more you are pulled past those beginner tools into using more expressive ones. I see that as a natural path on through mastery, not a reason to dismiss simpler tools outright.

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