I'm here at RailsConf in Portland (where I live, so that was nice, eh). As with all conferences, in my experience, the real "conferencing" happens outside the sessions. I stopped by the ThoughtWorks booth and started chatting with a number of folks.
I've been increasingly concerned with the "Web Developer Stack" that we're (the collective We) using. I started a conversation in the ThoughtWorks booth (because they had free granola bars) where I expressed this concern, and it turned into quite a large and very spirited conversation between the ThoughWorks crowd, DHH, Martin Fowler, myself, and a pretty decent-sized crowd egging it on. It was multi-faceted chat and covered a lot of area. I haven't had so much fun at a conference in a while.
The next day, Chris Sells (unintentionally) got a crowd going that also included the ThoughtWorkers, and we talked about what Alpha Geeks want. I asked if there was a coming diaspora of the Alpha Geek towards developer tools and developer experiences that feed their passions, perhaps more than tools and experiences from Microsoft and Sun. At this conference, the general feeling was that a migration of Alpha Geeks had already started. Just as Alpha Geeks forced to develop using Waterfall migrated to more agile shops, these folks feel the same kind of migration is happening around Web Development.
I propose that newer (somtimes younger) programmers may have less "tolerance" for development pain or frustration present in existing stacks just as a frog doesn't like being thrown into a hot pot. Perhaps we older frogs are starting to notice some heat and are considering other, cooler pots to spend time in.
The one thing I learned about Rails and Rails/Ruby folks at this conferences is that they are enthusiastic and passionate. Not just because many are young (I suspect the mean age to be about 26 at this conference) but because they feel that Ruby and Rails expresses their intent in a clean and aesthetically pleasing way that avoids repetition. The code is DRY (Don't Repeat Yourself.)
In the blogosphere, David Laribee proposed a term I've heard bandied about in the last few years - ALT.NET, to describe developers like this:
What does it mean to be ALT.NET? In short it signifies: You’re the type of developer who uses what works while keeping an eye out for a better way. You reach outside the mainstream to adopt the best of any community: Open Source, Agile, Java, Ruby, etc. You’re not content with the status quo. Things can always be better expressed, more elegant and simple, more mutable, higher quality, etc. You know tools are great, but they only take you so far. It’s the principals and knowledge that really matter. The best tools are those that embed the knowledge and encourage the principals [sic] (e.g. Resharper.)
What does it mean to be ALT.NET? In short it signifies:
Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. I am a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.
Now to more directly respond to your question, many of the people I consider to be alpha geeks on the Microsoft side of the fence are very excited right now about things like Silverlight, LINQ, IIS7, PopFly, and the DLR.
Finally, you act as though my first post had zero content, simply because I dropped the f-bomb. Grow up. We aren't in the third grade.
It's a shame we can't talk about our "religious" views without eventually insulting each others religions.
My goal is to be Microsoft free.
Ruby and Rails dudes are so yesterday. The young talented developers on my staff have long since moved on from such old school web development paradigm and are now doing RIA web apps ala Flex 2. You dudes are already dinosaurs even before you could really became relevant.
Just think out of the box...Could .net or c# be ported to the java platform and then run on any OS?
What if you owned a company that was growing and was not embedded with big legacy system. The company increased sales and moved to the internet. Thinking of going to the next level and had sale reps in other cities and reaching out to the Spanish market. Had to have Macs for design and print production. Needed local networks,internet , and intranet. You had to pay for all server fees,database,software,and wages. Which way would you go?
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.