Responding to post on OTB and BlueJ

Jun 14, 2005 • 3 minutes to read

[Please read my Disclaimer]

NOTE: I don’t own Object Test Bench, I just happened to blog about it as I thought it was a hidden feature in VS 2005 and only discovered it when playing around with Class Designer.

Recently, Michael Kölling, one of the creators of BlueJ, “an IDE for beginner Java developers”, wrote an article about how Microsoft has gone BlueJ. Michael’s article links to me since I blogged about Object Test Bench previously so I felt compelled to at least provide him a response especially after he wrote this:

Quote:_ Do I care? I don’t care that they copied BlueJ - good on them, and good luck to them. But I care about attribution. I work at a university, and I strongly believe in honest attribution of sources. Microsoft does not have a good track record on this. So I decided to post these screenshots here so that people can at least see and make up there own minds._

After reading the post, I followed up internally and here’s the response from the [academic] team:

Quote:_ We talked to hundreds of teachers when we built the new academic features in Visual Studio 2005 such as the Class Designer, the Object Test Bench, and the Express product line. Many teachers told us that they liked using Visual Studio with their students, but they felt that it was difficult to teach Object-Oriented Design principles using earlier versions of Visual Studio. One of the scenarios we chose to address was to make Visual Studio 2005 a better tool for teaching object-oriented and service-oriented programming. “Design-time debugging” as a feature was already a planned feature for Visual Studio 2005. Object Test Bench, which evolved as a visualization of this functionality, was influenced by feedback from teachers who were used to working with BlueJ. The Class Designer was also a planned feature of the new “Whitehorse” functionality. We did tweak both of these features based on teacher feedback, which borrows from several teaching concepts these teachers already enjoy with BlueJ. We have received very positive feedback on these features so far, and we welcome more feedback to enhance teaching scenarios even more with our next Visual Studio release, code named “Orcas.”_

My interpretation of the above statement is basically that our academic customers wanted this because of the success of this BlueJ feature.

Michael’s comments were pretty fair, the only thing I took issue with was his “invention”/“innovation” statement which I found misleading: Quote: _Already, the blogs are buzzing about this “Great New Microsoft Innovation”. (Did you notice, by the way, how Microsoft have managed to change the term in all the relevant discussions from “invention” to “innovation”? Very clever. Copying someone else’s idea is not an invention, but it is innovation. Microsoft: the innovation company…) _

Don’t get me wrong, I open my mouth on my blog quite a bit, but I never used the word invention or innovation once in my blog post. I described it as “a new Visual Studio 2005 feature”. I assumed that maybe it was one of the other bloggers talking about OTB. Nope, none of the ones that Michael linked to used those words either. Now that Michael has said we described this as an “invention/innovation”, other bloggers have now passed on this misinformation (1, 2). So it goes in the blogging world.

Balazs Fejes has Mono Mania!

Visual Studio 2005 Launch - Week of Nov 8