I’ve been certified

It’s been a good week, for several reasons. One of them is that I passed a Microsoft exam: Developing web apps in .Net 4. That means I am now (drum roll) a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist. I’ve been building websites for 14 years, give or take, so it’s about time I had some kind of qualification in it.

This is, to put it bluntly, an unexpected turn of events. For much of my career I’ve treated the Microsoft-based things I do in my day job as “just” work, and my real passion has been the Open Source web development I’ve done in my own time. When those two worlds collide, which they do occassionally, it always feels a bit strange. The most obvious example of my day job and personal work coming together is my Performer JavaScript library, which I use on every project I can.

So why the dismissal of Microsoft web technologies for so long? I guess it’s because, for much of the lifetime of ASP.NET, they just haven’t been very good. ASP.NET fundamentally ignored the way the web was designed to work for a long time (I’m talking ViewState and WebForms) but I have to admit it also introduced many fantastic features as well. Templated controls and MasterPages are just brilliant. For this and more of the good stuff refer to my articles on Nettuts.

But now, well, things have changed. ASP.NET MVC is a cracking bit of kit, and Microsoft’s embrace of Open Source – particularly jQuery – has changed many opinions about the Redmond behemoth. Plus the fact that finally we’re beginning to see versions of Internet Explorer that don’t suck. Although much of the industry press is still about open technologies, like WordPress, JavaScript and RoR, it no longer feels faintly embarrasing to me to be a Microsoft developer. Yes, thing’s have certainly changed.

So here’s to the future. A future where all companies, technologies and platforms can work towards making the web more open, accessible and useful in people’s lives.