Developer Feels the Microsoft Love, Then Not So Much

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After a few days of headlines from TechEd and elsewhere painting Microsoft as a basically benevolent benefactor of developers working on its various platforms, an update on a drawn-out battle between one forlorn developer and Redmond reps on one of my favorite sites, The Register, sort of burst the bubble.


At the most recent TechEd, the agenda was shifted from the traditional "big announcement that supports Microsoft's vision plus teasers for the next big thing" to a more practical set of sessions focusing on what developers can actually do with Vista and other existing products, like Visual Studio. Sounds like a good idea, right?


But be careful, very careful, about which version you use to create your wonderful new add-on, dear developers.


British developer Jamie Cansdale's story goes something like this, according to The Register. His add-on for Visual Studio was one that "allowed unit test suites to be run directly from within the Microsoft IDE." He called it TestDriven.NET and gave it away free. Microsoft loved it. Loved it so much that a couple of years ago, it gave Cansdale an MVP -- Most Valuable Professional -- award. MVPs are "amazing" and "help people solve problems and discover new capabilities."


But the happiness and pride Cansdale must have felt with his award must have quickly dissipated when a Microsoft exec contacted him and accused him of writing an add-on that supported the limited Visual Studio Express version (a no-no in Microsoft's eyes) and, worse, using APIs that were only available to users of the professional versions (the ones that aren't free, that is).


Cansdale disputed those charges; he said he'd only used APIs that were freely available on MSDN.


Apparently, the showdown has reached the point where, after many nasty missives, Cansdale was given a deadline of 4 p.m. yesterday to take down TestDriven.NET.


As of this afternoon, it's still there.


If you want it, get it while the getting's good. And be careful out there.