I call it “programming by holding your mouth right”.
You never see the code generated by endless clicking and dragging. There’s literally nothing to debug. You delete and recreate instead.
The saddest aspect of ASP.Net is the lack of reliable documentation and code samples. I spend hours Googling error messages and reading forum posts looking for solutions. Many of the answers are wrong, and I suspect never worked even for the people posting them.
Code samples downloaded from tutorials — even those published by Microsoft — often do not work. The code is for a previous .Net version and the author forgets to mention that. Or a class name is changed. Or you are presented with delightfully emphemeral error messages like:
Class blah-blah is obsolete. Please use the replacement class.
I am beginning to wonder if the only people who can make the highly touted AJAX.Net work are the Microsoft developers who created it.
Don’t get me wrong. There are some things about ASP.Net that are wonderful. It’s incredibly easy to wire-up a data grid to a database table, for instance.
But that example illustrates what to me is the problem with most of Microsoft’s web programming products: Visual Studio and Sharepoint, to name the two biggest offenders, are specifically designed to give great demos.
“See how quickly your programmers can produce that report you’ve been waiting months for?”, the Microsoft rep says. Click, drag, drop. Ka pow. It’s done. Sale made.
But try doing something useful.
Like an AJAX autocomplete search box so that your user doesn’t have to scroll through that nice big table. What? The AJAX Control Toolkit version of autocomplete returns only the matching text — NOT the record id. Useless.
Want to add a new row to that GridView control? Easy. Just click on an existing row and then you can click on a “new” button. Is that intuitive, or what?
About the only good thing about ASP.Net is that with it, Microsoft has created a fertile field for consultants.
I’m thinking of charging a Microsoft surcharge on the next job.