Snowing Code

Personal notes on software development

Every planet has a north

(Publish date: 22/01/2010)

I had a truly interesting exchange of thoughts/ideas about the state of the ALT.NET community with Richard Fennell whose based in Yorkshire, England. The reason why I turned to him in the first place was to hear from him how things are in the north of England, in an attempt to draw a crude comparison between the English north and the French one (where I’m living, not working).

Richard wrote back referring me to Ian Cooper’s post entitled Whither ALT.NET? which really opened my eyes on some subjects. I wrote back a rather long email which I felt it expressed so well what I feel that I thought might as well post it on my blog (just as he did) for future reference, so here goes:


First of all let me begin by saying I only wish I could tell you how much I am thankful. Reading Ian’s post was a something of an epiphany moment :) At some points he brought it so close to home that I had to stop and think ‘hold on, is he just talking about software development or is there a hidden message about the state of France..?’ Over here it’s not only the IT industry that breeds this sort of position holders that are fine where they are and just won’t bother changing anything. I always think of it as ‘with all that revolution going on, you don’t get any evolution’; the idea is that everyone here are jumping to their feet and straight to the street to cry against whatever change that is offered, that nothing ever gets to change hence no evolution…
To get back to the issue in question, I think one of the things Ian, and for that matter many of the ALT.NET

people, tend to forget or simply overlook is the fact that while at some parts of the world people may think the battle was won, or that it’s about time to wake up from our comfortable twitter hibernation, in some other parts the battle hasn’t even began, which brings me back to my original question. See, you guys up the in England and esp. in the north can be very proud of your community, and not only the development/IT one, but also the local-geographical community. I had to go and look for a job in Paris, which entails a couple of hours on the train each and every day and which is bound to end by leaving Lille; Not only developers and managers are afraid of anything that is not microsoft, the actual idea of software craftsmanship is an abnormality in our region. There is a Nord-agile group that works here and have meetings every couple of months and consists of 5 to 7 people, none of them a .net person. And we’re talking about a huge region and one of france’s 5 biggest cities.
With that in mind, there’s also the fact that roughly each and every year a new generation of developers is arriving to the market which makes it even more difficult to those (esp the beginners to senior-juniors) who wants to learn and work on their coding craftsmanship. (I remember I discovered the manifest only a couple of years ago or so, and soon after I remember reading a post of Ayende saying he’s going to give Twitter a shot. Thank god, he’s one of those who never stopped blogging.)

As for Paris, things seem to be closer to what Ian said; there are a lot more job offers that ask for a working experience in NH, MVC, NUnit etc’, however this feels like the new orthodoxy.


Just as an after note- I’ve just seen that Ian’s post has already started to have an effect. Rob conery has apparently written a post in reply which IMO completely misses the point Ian was trying to make, still it’s great to see that people are still debating :)

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