Microsoft Encourages Bad Software Quality

This post is not about bad documentation and samples. Much simpler. It’s about the Visual Studio license model.

You can’t tell me Microsoft really earns any real money with development tools. We’ve heard that before. Microsoft is all about Windows, Office and SQL Server. The rest is ecosystem.

Professional for hobbyists

But to come to the point. The Visual Studio License Model makes Software Quality Hard. The problem is, that the most common Professional Edition has major restrictions. It is not worth being called “Professional” version.

A Professional Software Engineer should be able to:

  • To analyze the code he writes
  • To run test coverage and find code impacted by tests
  • To do UI testing
  • To do web testing
  • To do performance testing
  • To explore the architecture of the project he is working on

Agree? Then why is all of this not available in an edition called “Professional”? And if you get the Professional without MSDN Subscription, it is even worse.

The Price Problem

Then just go buy the “Premium” or “Ultimate”, right?

Hm. Who decides this again? The developer? In most cases, sadly enough, the manager. But we also know managers have hard times buying tools. Especially in big enterprises.

Well you don’t buy VS on Amazon – so the prices vary a lot. On this online list two years of VS Professional cost around €1000, the Premium is available for about €7000 and the Ultimate costs €16000.

Now what happens if you try to order an Ultimate? Your manager will ask if Ultimate is a 16x productivity gain, right?

Managers (at least too many of them) are interested in quality as long as they get it for free. Quality Software is already expensive enough. Why do you make it so hard, my dear Tools Devision?

Good Medicine is bad for Doctors

Oh, I forgot: Bad quality software means somebody has to fix it for money. Slow software means more hardware and hence more sold licenses.

I have more to say. But I think I said enough.


4 thoughts on “Microsoft Encourages Bad Software Quality

  1. Wow, all those non .net developers must be writing absolute junk with TextMate and Vim then.

    But really, do serious developers even use all the extras that MS have tacked on to the versions of VS above Professional?

    Third party tools tend to do a better job, for those cases where a “tool” is actually the answer, which is less often in my opinion than what your post suggests.

    The price of Professional is pretty reasonable, students can even get it for free from dreamspark.

    The types of organizations that require all tools to be 100% microsoft, and “integrated”, can probably afford, or deserve to pay through the nose for the more bloated versions, and probably have more fundamental issues with quality that can’t be solved with tools anyway.

    I guess it is partially a matter of taste, my unix past leads me to prefer small, best-of-breed tools rather than all in one “solutions”, and I get all the integration I need via the command line.

    Honestly professional is all anyone needs, and using it rather than a more expensive edition should never be a direct legitimate cause of reduced quality.

    • I know a fool with a tool remains a fool. I also know there are tons of other tools for the job. but that is not what it is about.

      It is about Microsofts statement on what a professional needs. with their price policy and naming they discourage testing an analysis.

  2. I think a licensed and premium software is must if you want quality software. And big companies can cope up with the price tag but for low level or small companied its some bit tough.
    If you buy a software, It is guaranteed that you would have quality work. Obvious.. thats why we use softwares and expenditure for a software depends upon the budget of the company and the risk a company can take.

    [Edited: Removed link building to a commercial unrelated site]

    • Hi Anonymous,

      at least it is unprofessional to mix link-building to unrelated things in a comment like this. I published your comment without the link.

      The thing is, if a developer gets professional in the first place he will probably never upgrade because it is “good enough”…

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