Do as I say, not as I do: That's the message I took away from Microsoft's latest confessional session at its Professional Developers Conference (PDC). Apparently, several of Microsoft's best and brightest -- the people who help chart the course for the company's tools division -- admitted to eschewing modern visual programming techniques in favor of the "old school" text editor and command-line approach.
This would hardly be news if it weren't for the fact that it flies in the face of everything that Microsoft has said and done in the developer tools space over the past two decades. At PDC after PDC, company executives have touted the wonders of their latest visual goodies. To now learn that company's own gurus don't use these same glitzy, paint-by-numbers toolkits is tantamount to hearing how wonderful Obamacare will be and then finding out that the people passing the relevant legislation are exempt from the program. (I wonder if their "Cadillac" health plans will be taxed?)
Of course, nobody at this panel thought to question why these Microsoft hotshots avoid visual tools like the plague. That's because everyone already knows the answer: performance. Simply put, lazy programming models -- like the ones at the heart of Microsoft's visual tools -- produce bloated, inefficient code.