Microsoft is ignoring .net developers!

Apr 2, 2009 at 7:03 PM
Adobe just announced they're creating and supporting an offical Flash library for Facebook. http://www.adobe.com/devnet/facebook/

Meanwhile Microsoft invests $240 million in Facebook and just outsources the project to a company that is doing half a job, at best. Why, when php is free, is there an official Client Library for PHP. Why, when we PAY for Visual Studio is there nothing but this crappy poorly supported Facebook Developer Toolkit from Microsoft? Microsoft is snubbing the very developers that keep their windows servers relevent. This toolkit is a POS from Microsoft and Clarity Consulting Inc.

We pay money to develop in .net
Documentation is a joke
Examples are buggy and limited
Microsoft invests $240 million in Facebook but NOTHING in us

Is anyone else as angry about this as I am?
Apr 2, 2009 at 9:04 PM
Yes, i think its a shame that ms does not put the resources to create a supported toolki
Apr 3, 2009 at 2:14 PM
Edited Apr 3, 2009 at 7:52 PM
Yes! I've couldn't believe how poorly supported this stuff is when I got in. Why not some tutorials on asp.net? Just some simple explanations on how to use this stuff, outside of the ubiquitous "friends display" example.

I was able to get in as far as I needed to with the Facebook.net tool kit, but before I figured that out, I was looking for ways to integrate my other Social Networking apps, which are written in C#, with php, or convert them all over, just so I could support Facebook!!

I should say that this tookkit is actually pretty impressive, but its worthless if its not well documented and well supported.
Apr 3, 2009 at 5:30 PM
And Facebook updates their API *constantly*. How can we depend on toolkit that doesn't keep up? It's not a hobby for me. I'm not playing around with this code for fun. I'm trying to build a business around asp.net and this toolkit. I just can't depend on it.

Microsoft is the only outside investor with $240 million dollars and now even Flash has better support than asp.net?
Apr 4, 2009 at 3:34 PM
It is a shame, and a worry.   Are we wasting our time developing on asp.net?   I've no confidence that the toolkit would be update if API changes breaks it.
Apr 4, 2009 at 9:10 PM
Edited Apr 4, 2009 at 9:12 PM
I've recently found myself wondering that more and more. Why do I fight so hard to stay with .net when so many more webtools are created for php? It seems Microsoft mainly cares about enterprise level developers and is ignoring people who develop websites for ourselves and small business customers. Asp.net coding uses windows servers.

If I were just starting out I honestly don't think I'd be an asp.net coder. I'd probably use php. Wordpress, vBulletin, Facebook Library and many other major web based tools and applications are written in PHP. What do we get from Microsoft? This garbage which is half built and now abandoned.
Developer
Apr 6, 2009 at 2:49 PM
I totally agree with all of you. I'm also currently developing two Facebook apps which I was paid for, not for hobby. But the lack of documentation, samples and example codes drive me crazy. Even Facebook's own wiki pages are not enough, thanks that there is an Official Facebook Developer Forum.

You are all right, but, this is the way Microsoft does these kind of things. They mainly don't develop themselves, instead make their partners do it.

I am these days thinking of switching totally to MacOSX and Mac platform and developing on Python, Objective-C and  PHP, yes PHP. Not because of its free, but because of there are soo many open source projects built on PHP and they are really beautiful. Both codewise and designwise. On the other hand, when I look at the open source ASP.NET projects, they simply suck on usability and understandibility.

I'm almost 32 and yes, I'm still thinking of switching.


Apr 7, 2009 at 10:51 AM
Gregbalajewicz and Plaid,

You both are involved in this project as Coordinator and Developer. Give us the inside scoop, why is this project failing so miserably? What do you need that you're not getting from Microsoft to keep this project updated regularly? Who can we contact and wake up at Microsoft regarding this project? If we don't get their attention we're all doomed to convert to php.

This is so sad. I'm 30 and have been working with VB since I was 15. PHP is such a weaker language but more projects will have to be php based now since it has more support, especially my Facebook ones. I'll probably stick with windows but I can't count on this toolkit to run a business and I can't offer service with what asp.net has to offer.
Apr 7, 2009 at 12:23 PM
Edited Apr 7, 2009 at 12:24 PM
Michael, this is an open source project. I am not really involved much and do not have any inside info.

as far as I know, MS kickstarted this effort and then let it alone. Clarity Consulting has been doing some work but they are not getting paid.

they are hoping it will be a community driven project. A terrible idea IMO since I doubt very much it would be; the toolkit is just a tool, its not a end; there is no glory, there is no 'fun' on working on it therefore it will fail as a community maintained project. And Facebook, being a infanty in dipers, changes things too often to keep up.

I do not understand how MS can pump so much $$ into FB, yet be unwilling to maintain this... too bad.

Clarity made a big mistake with 2.0 and I, along with many other people, never accepted 2.0 and are using 1.7 still. i am using my modified version of it. Frankly, I cannot understand how a mistake like that could have been made.... they claim it was not MS forces decision, but I find it hard to believe as I can't believe they decided to use an alpha version of a library on their own
Apr 7, 2009 at 7:04 PM
Probably should back up a little on trashing MS. Facebook is a very small fraction of our work loads. A high profile one right now, but, how long did it take Adobe to pick up 3D in Flash? There are a million things to focus on and FB is just one of maaaaany. Taking into account the incredible tools provided for free by MS, it may be a little short sighted for us to slam them on this. STILL, when I'm trying to show that MS is a good product, yet it doesn't seem to work well with FB, while other vendors are clamoring to showcase php solutions...its a great way to loose market share.
Apr 7, 2009 at 7:12 PM

This is not about trashing anyone.

This is simply voicing our frustrations that MS should want to hear as it effects what kind of platform will dominate FB.

MS is under no obligation to create a toolkit, but most of us are puzzled how it can put X million into FB yet be unwilling to pay for the development of this toolkit, which, even if done by clarity, is a matter of hundreds of thousands not millions.

And please, jvpelton, don't bring up the ‘good will’ of MS to create this toolkit for us since it has nothing to do with good will, it is just business; they deserve NO praise. They do deserve some scolding that they first created a toolkit and then don’t maintain it.

Apr 30, 2009 at 8:07 AM
Here we go: http://team.silverlight.net/announcements/microsoft-previews-great-wpf-and-silverlight-apps-with-facebook-openstreams-api/

"The bottom line: if you are building an application for the web, desktop, or mobile, and want to make it social and integrate it with Facebook, we will provide the tools and resources you need to create visually stunning, cutting edge applications faster than ever before. Stay tuned for more details as we release them."
Apr 30, 2009 at 8:25 AM
"You might already know that Microsoft and Facebook have been working together since 2007 via the Facebook Developer Toolkit – a first of its kind open source solution to help developers integrate into and build applications for Facebook users. Now developers have even more reason to be excited."

Notice in the article the link to the Developer Toolkit doesn't even work.

It says they've been working with Facebook since 2007. It should say 2007-2008 because this toolkit is D-E-A-D.

I hope they don't force us to use silverlight for the new features. I just want a simple API for .Net. Less fancy features and more base features that actually work. MS is the master of releasing thousands of features - that half work.

jypelton - The article Billtuer linked to is proof you're dead wrong about needing to integrate with Facebook. Lets hope they stick with it this time. MS thought FB was important enough to invest 250million. I think FB is more than one of maaaaany things they need to focus on. I think it's one of the top things.
Apr 30, 2009 at 8:33 AM
Ha! On http://www.microsoft.com/express/samples/facebook/default.aspx they're still linking to version 1.2

"Do you have a Facebook account and want to do more with it? Start creating cool, fun Windows and Web applications with the Facebook Developer Kit. The toolkit offers a huge amount of easy-to-use set of drag 'n drop controls. Easy to run samples and easy to follow QuickStart documentation to help you get started. "
May 1, 2009 at 7:38 PM
Wow, reading this is seriously depressing.  Yes, I agree with almost everything that's been said.  I feel like MS has hung us out to dry here.  We're given this laughable toolset, and quite frankly, it makes me feel kinda foolish.

Like many of you, I'm not some kid hacking away in my basement.  I work for a real company that's developing a real application framework for Facebook.  Our goal is to automate most of the tasks that are associated with Facebook app development.  We've had a lot of success with our framework, but I really hate having to rely on the Facebook Developer Toolkit.  It's poorly supported, rarely updated, and is clearly half-assed.  The fact that we need to rely on LINQ2XSD, which MS has clearly stated will never make it out of alpha, is a joke.  A bad joke.  The whole thing is poorly designed, and all the LINQ stuff just makes the code harder to understand without giving us any conceivable benefit.  And don't get me started with the 1.7 -> 2.0 transition.  My god.  Another transition like that, and I don't think we'll be sticking with the FDT much longer.

On occasion, we've thrown around the idea of just writing our own functions to hit Facebook's API, and just kicking the FDT to the curb.  We've been trying to avoid that fate, but I'll tell you, as time goes on, this looks more and more attractive.  It probably wouldn't even be that difficult, since we don't really rely on the library for much outside of basic auth and as a wrapper for API calls.

I'd love to hear more about your experiences with this broken, crappy toolset.  Feel free to post them here or email me through the site.
May 1, 2009 at 8:24 PM
Edited May 1, 2009 at 8:39 PM
I've had better luck with facebook.net. the examples are more robust - e.g. more than displaying a friends list
May 2, 2009 at 4:21 AM
This post helped me finally get everything working.

http://facebooktoolkit.codeplex.com/Thread/View.aspx?ThreadId=53322

Doesn't change the fact that MS dropped this project, but at least we know the tool can work with some modifications.
May 2, 2009 at 9:32 PM
Edited May 2, 2009 at 9:33 PM
Bottom line. If you were a 16 or 18 and just learning to program, which would you choose? If didn't program yourself and needed a website built, which would you choose?

PHP - With all it's open source code and support. With major software already prebuilt.
- OR -
Asp.Net - Powerful but limited extended software. Much of your code will have to be hand built.

Great example right here. If you code in PHP you have an officially supported facebook framework. If you code in asp.net you get this outdated garbage from a company that invests 250mil in Facebook while ignoring it's very own developer base.

Even FLASH has it's full framework supported by the Adobe. Flash gets an offically supported framework from adobe and we get this second hand garbage?
May 2, 2009 at 10:36 PM
Silverlight Demo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BbWHmzlqS90

"We are gonna be releasing an SDK very soon".
May 3, 2009 at 1:50 AM
That demo looks good. It would be nice if they continued to support this toolkit while they were working on the new one. But that would be multitasking and from what we all saw with Vista, Microsoft has been having trouble with that. I hope they include just as many demos with .net as they do with silverlight.

When they finally release it that will help us all out and should answer this facebook issue. Next I hope the come up with a .net version of wordpress.
May 3, 2009 at 3:09 PM
Edited May 3, 2009 at 4:41 PM
As for the general discussion - is there php related site comparable to asp.net? The handholding beats the hell out of adobe's training stuff. I don't think I've ever learned anything from an adobe generated article, documentation, or training video - all trial and error or publicly created stuff.  I don't know what's out there for php as far as central repository of tutorials, etc. Point is, if I'm a newbie and I see asp.net the website, that's a damn good incentive to start with .net. Again this specific issue, the FDT, is very bad, but...
May 3, 2009 at 6:49 PM
Edited May 3, 2009 at 6:50 PM
asp.net is a great site to learn how to use the the language and ask questions. The forums have a good community behind it and it's a good place to ask questions.

Having said that, for php you can easily use Google to find good how-to resources and learn from different examples on the web. I would trade asp.net for google search to have an asp.net version of wordpress any day.

Asp.net IS powerful. I love that it's compiled and step through debugging is a dream but what good is all that if you're stuck having to develop so much extra code? It's like having a 500hp engine sitting on the ground. Sure that engine can make a car go really fast once you build the car around it but you have to build the car around it.

With PHP there are already prebuilt cars just laying around for anyone to use. They aren't as fast but they are already built, popular, have custom options and everyone knows how to use them. You can spend your time on more important things.


Developer
May 4, 2009 at 8:37 AM
Guys you're doing great.

I'm sure our voice will reach its target. I recommend you to post this page's url to your Twitter/Facebook/FriendFeed profiles (so did I).
May 4, 2009 at 9:05 AM
I posted it on Hacker News http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=545951
Coordinator
May 21, 2009 at 5:14 PM

Hey Michael,

Thanks for your feedback, you are right to call out that we need to do better in supporting .NET developers on Facebook. We are working on not only updating the toolkit and adding support for the Streams API, but some sample applications and improved documentation on using the Facebook toolkit, coming soon. In short, we are working on it and we are going to make sure that this is something we continue to support going forward.

Thanks,

Dan Fernandez
Director, Evangelism
Microsoft Corporation
dan.fernandez@nospam.microsoft.com

May 21, 2009 at 7:06 PM

Dan,

Thanks for replying to this thread. It gives some level of comfort that a direct Microsoft employee is actually following up on user complaints. But this follow up is little more than another vaporware statement that Microsoft is famous for. Sure, I'm a little jaded about delivery promises but it's based on past experience with MS. You guys create and sell project management software, surely you can come up with a better time line for us than "Coming soon." We're trying to build businesses and projections based on information you give us. How can we be expected to do that if all we're fed is "coming soon?"

We're all competing with PHP programmers which already have these, and many more, features at their fingertips. "Coming soon" just isn't good enough.

 

Developer
May 26, 2009 at 11:48 AM

@Dan, it's a great pleasure hearing directly from You. As Michael said, is it possible for you to give us a time-span? Four weeks later I'm gonna talk on a Microsoft event about Facebook Developer Toolkit and wanna mention about You and Microsoft's ongoing development process, that we are "not" alone.

Thank you in advance,

Ozkan

May 27, 2009 at 12:01 AM

Plaid,

There is an extended discussion with Dan here http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=620996 on features Microsoft is working on. Please bring these issues up at your event and ask people to join in. The more people discuss the more attention this issue will receive. We can't expect Microsoft to give us the software we want if we don't speak up and let them know.

That goes for everyone else reading these threads - Please join in on the discussion. We see from Dan's reply that Microsoft employees are here to help so lets make sure they know what we need.