What I would like to see from Microsoft regarding OSS

posted on 02 Apr 2013

I had an awesome conversation on Monday with Glenn Block about Microsoft in regards to OSS, as a result Glenn asked me to write a post about what I would like to see Microsoft do.

To be clear, everyone has their own opinions about what Microsoft is doing with Open Source Software, whats working, whats not, that isn't the point of this post. This is about what I would like to see, and why.

Promote itself with the community, not against it

One of the things I think Microsoft does is promote itself against the community, it has opened sourced MVC and WebAPI, but people outside the community don't know about the alternatives.

I'm not suggesting that Microsoft actively promotes frameworks like FubuMVC, NancyFX, ServiceStack etc as their own, or in such a way that it overshadows their own stuff. What I would like to see is Microsoft promoting itself along side other frameworks. A lot of the guys who create these other frameworks are advisories for MVC/WebAPI, they help make Microsoft frameworks better, and there's all the people who contribute, and in my personal opinion Microsoft doesn't really give anything back to the community through its main channels.

People in the community help the community, we all know this stuff exists, but a lot of us are stuck in jobs where we cannot use it because it's not "Microsoft", I think if Microsoft helped promote itself with the community, people outside the community who hear of these things through the main channels would be more willing to integrate non-Microsoft technologies in their existing Microsoft solutions.


I've often thought it would be awesome for Microsoft to accept articles on http://www.asp.net that weren't related to MVC / WebAPI / Web Forms, etc. I would love to see articles to do with other web technologies. In terms of web technologies, this is the go to place for a lot of companies.

A little less emphasis on Microsoft technologies

I have to admit, Microsoft has pretty much redeemed themselves on this one, when MVC 3 and 4 came out they heavily pushed their own Templates in Visual Studio which forces a LOT of technologies. EntityFramework, WebAPI, etc etc.

This to me has a negative effect on the community because these are all pushed via Nuget, ever increasing the number of downloads and making it seem these technologies are more popular and a better choice than alternatives.

Microsoft has since created a Truely empty Web Application project which I'm grateful for, but even their Empty MVC 4 project still contains WebAPI configuration.

What I would like to see is Microsoft make creating templates MUCH easier for people, it would be great if owners of differ projects could much more easily create and maintain templates rather than throwing in the towel due to difficulty, or neglecting them because they are hard to maintain.

Your Ideas

I would love for anyone else reading this to add their own ideas on how they think Microsoft can help the Open Source Community. Either on Hacker News (linked below) or in the comments below. Or even blog your own ideas and let me know!

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