If you're not paying for open source support, the biggest downside really is the licensing costs. Getting a virtual server with Windows Server 2012 / IIS / SQL Server is a lot more expensive than Linux / Apache / MySQL or other open-source based environments. Microsoft attempts to address this with BizSpark which gives you free software license for 3 years for startup companies.
Intellectual laziness test: Have you spent some time considering that maybe there is a good reason for that? Or are you just simplistically dismissing it out of hand as uninformed hatred?
Second: My understanding is that the licensing models of Microsoft become hideously expensive as you scale up. Why waste money?
Third: Ethics about proprietary software; I think it's considerably more ethical to use and advocate libre software.
edit: Fourth: Windows is harder to get @#$^ done in, IME. I've generally lived in the F/OSS ecosystem as much as I could for the last 5+ years; whenever I want to do something that I'd do in F/OSS in Windows, it seems like "everything is hard". The complexity required to do anything programmatic is significant compared to using Linux/OSX, even if you just measure in keystrokes/clicks. This is, I'm sure, partially due to my inexperience, but I'm reasonably sure that it's a combination of Big Enterprise Design Pattern thinking along with Cater To Non-Hacker thinking.
That seems a rather strange argument to make considering that the vast vast majority of web services are not Free Software. Do people really feel like they are making the world better by using Free Software to make all those Non-Free web services?
- I'm not giving money or support to proprietary vendors. I am, however, contributing by filing bugs and maybe hanging out on the mailing list for the open source system.
- I am contributing money and maybe code to the open source vendor, in addition to above.
- Even a comment about how your service is built on F/OSS system can significantly improve its standing in the world, if your service is well known.
Therefore, even though I have a proprietary licensed piece of software (due to lack of visible business model for xyz), I can provide significant help to the tools backing me up.
Sure, it's less obvious off of the job title than when you're hiring for $TRENDY_LANGUAGE, but it'll filter all the certified microsoft folks away, in favour of the crowd that looks further than what a single company prepared for them.
I'm not loyal to no one, especially Microsoft, and I feel they finally realize this. Yes, there is a reason their stack costs some scratch, but because I see them as a very strong business partner to have I don't mind taking a bite out of their dogfood whenever it's the right choice for my project.
But hey haters gonna hate, right? But you know what haters don't do? Make big-boy money.
For Microsoft, there would be a licensing cost not only for each instance of the OS but also the supporting systems ( SQL Server, VM Manager etc ).
I don't have much insight into those costs but at $WORK it is one of the drivers for moving as much portable code to Linux VMs as possible, even at the technical and organisational cost of a split development environment. The Big Apps remain .Net on MS, since that's how they were written, but everyone else is pushed to OSS.
I think the .Net framework and language one of MS's best products in decades. Heljsberg is brilliant. :)
> But hey haters gonna hate, right? But you know what haters don't do? Make big-boy money.
I couldn't come up with something that douchey if I spent all day trying.
If I were building a new system in .NET I'd base it off of open source tools that weren't available when the systems I currently work on were built. The most appealing of these seem to be built by stackexchange folks at the moment (ie servicestack, dapper). These tools were designed to be Mono-friendly and deploy to Linux so less licensing/vendor lockin worries.
In general I don't trust MS but I do like .NET and often turn to F# for personal projects.
Then you don't have personal experience in the area of Scalable web-based systems based on .Net. I speak from personal experience.
You don't need to go near EF, there are plenty of other ways to access data, the lightest of which is Plain Old SqlConnection. Don't knock it when you have a few simple, well-defined queries.
Though you should also look at other open-source lightweight frameworks such as Nancy or ServiceStack.
Also, it helps to use more loosely coupled components on merit not source language. It doesn't matter that ZeroMQ, RabbitMQ, memcacheD or StatsD aren't coded in .Net, it just matters that you can connect to them.
>Then you don't have personal experience in the area of Scalable web-based systems based on .Net. I speak from personal experience.
Why? I've played with it and it felt kind of heavy and over-engineered, though the high-level APIs are usually what gets pushed the most. I've never needed to spend a significant amount of time scaling anything built on ASP.NET MVC, hence the comment. If there's some exceptional properties that recent versions have developed I'd love to hear about them but in general I avoid it because of the perceived heaviness.
PS I'm not suggesting that doing traditional ASP or ASP.NET dev is where it's at for scalability, my experience comes from working on frameworks that largely bypassed all of that.
(edited for clarity)
Compared to what? Webforms? definitely not, MVC is generally faster at serving pages, and pushes the coder towards less coupled, more testable code.
Though with MVC the key concepts are right there in your face - you need to deal with routes, controllers and views before you get anything showing up in the browser, but the alignment with the way the web actually works is much better than with webforms.
The complexity shows up later with webforms, Once you work with webforms a lot the impedance mismatch and the leaky abstraction extinguish the notion that Webforms is lightweight or right-engineered. viewstate. Did you ever try to memorise the page event lifecycle http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms178472%28VS.100%29... , yeesh! And that complexity is nothing more than an artefact of the framework, all with runtime overhead.
Not so with MVC, once you get comfortable with the concepts, it keeps on giving. It plays well with http, a stateless protcol. And that's where scaling comes in, by playing well with http.
Compared to a lightweight REST API framework like ServiceStack or Nancy, MVC is somewhat heavier. But if you're using those well for REST data microservices then I'm not going to criticise your choices, keep right on at it.
I agree that webforms is bad. I worked on the framework side of things before ASP.NET MVC was an option and needing to roll our own was where most of my experience scaling .NET systems has come from. In spite of that, .NET was a good choice for other reasons and was fun to build and scale.
Assuming you want to dev on Windows (because of said tool support), you'll still pay licenses for Windows on the dev boxes and for Visual Studio, but not when hosting (or scaling, for that matter).
I am having some problems with Spring.net transactions for NHibernate, but everything else is working great.
Would you? Wouldn't Visual Studio Express be enough for a lot of cases?
Of course, you can run an NUnit runner separately, or as a custom build step, but, well, that sucks.
I use NUnit/xUnit, and sometimes mspec, and testing from the command line or the N/xUnit GUI is not an issue for me.
FYI, there are even attempts at getting continuous testing working via console, as soon as you save a file in VS the tests are kicked off in the console. I tried it and it "worked", but so far I haven't integrated it into my workflow yet.
(i.e. can't run unit-tests inside your IDE for example)
It's up for debate whether the bad reputation is deserved by Microsoft in 2013 or not, but fairness is not what's important here...
For my part I once used C# in the past for a couple of projects and I have very fond memories of it. It's a well balanced language with very solid tooling, and the Mono stack seems nice as well. In a way, I'd be happy to use it again on a new project... but at the same time I must admit that being rid of the stigma of using MS tech is a pleasant feeling. And it's indeed expensive, although it has never been my job to worry about that.
In a way, for me, MS tools are like that old out-of-fashion shirt that you I still like to wear from time to time even though you know people will think it looks weird.
To my wife, if she reads this: Sorry, I'm not getting rid of the shirt.
Sure, I'd wish the tech community was less prone to those useless battles, Well, unless it's about bashing Java-the-language, of course :p
If you have not hired anyone yet, then consider this; It is probably easier to find developers with skills in Java, Scala, PHP, Python, or Ruby that know how to scale websites than developers with .NET skills. It is probably easier to find DBA's with MySQL and its derivatives, or PostgreSQL that know how to scale websites than DBA's with MSSQL skills. I could go on, but you get the point.
I'm not saying at all that .NET or the Microsoft ecosystem is bad, just that you use what your team knows. And if you don't have a team yet, they will probably know more about a non-Microsoft solution.
We tried Mono. It was a headache to convert (2010, 2011).
Linux - $0.24 per hour
Windows - $0.36 per hour
Windows + SQL Web edition - $0.50 per hour
So unless you are building the next YouTube I would not consider the cost a factor - use what makes you and your team most productive.
On the other hand what do you mean by scale? There is no way you can go internet scale with a "vanilla" framework.
My advice? Use what you like, get the right people, don't be slave of a canned architecture or technology. You'll figure it out as you go.
However realistically most startup founders are going to build a startup using the programming language they know or one that is particularly suited to the platform (i.e Objective-C for iOS), and few startup founders come from .Net backgrounds and even fewer choose to stick with that language.
No, Hotmail runs on Windows.
Before it was ported to Windows in 2000-2001, it ran on FreeBSD. Not Linux.
It was amusing to watch their first effort to convert the front end fail, then when they got it right, for a while people were watching as more and more of the front end machines were switched over.
I'm not a hater, C# is one of my favorite languages. I started using it literally the moment it was released at the PDC in 2000. Did that for years, but moved on when I migrated to mobile platforms. They didn't have the footprint in that space that they do now, which is still pretty dismal.
If you are determined to use .Net, look into the bizspark program. MS will do it's best to get you on their platform and give you a ton of tools and licenses for a relatively small price. They cater to ISVs and love to help them. That community also has a bunch of great programmers to reach out to if you need help. e.g. Scott Hanselman, Jeff Atwood, Scott Mitchell, Scott Guthrie .. I could go on and on. Those are just off the top of my head.
That is pathological. We do scripted deployments over ssh where the script uploads files, logs in, unzips files, configures iis, etc. We do this on a daily basis.
Regardless of any difference in technical merit, start-ups using the MS platform are rare, while start-ups using any of the FOSS options are common. It will be hard to find people who are both experienced in the MS toolchain and desire to work in a high risk venture, let alone people with prior start-up experience.
If you do go the MS route, your best bet will be to find bright folks that are good at what they do but bored or undervalued at a more stable business. They're likely to be young and inexperienced, since age brings commitments that bias people towards professional stability.
To make it scalable you can use different types of storage where it makes sense, use CDN's, etc, all the best pratices for making it scalable.
The best argument against building in .NET would be: How easy will it be to find good developers who code in .NET?
I sometimes feel stuck in .NET. I like C#, and I use OSS alternatives and generally accomplish whatever I need to. I see projects similar to what I build by myself bungled by consulting firms that employ teams of "enterprise" developers to build .NET solutions for a company that my employer partners with. I interact with and/or follow as many of the dev's in the OSS .NET community as I can online, but I have never met another one in person. Because of that I feel like I'm alone. I don't consider myself a great developer, but I'm the best overall developer compared to all the .NET dev's I've worked with in the past decade. .NET isn't bad, but the talent pool there seems to be really poor. I don't know if the same is true in the non-.NET world. It could simply be that great developers are all working for the big & cool companies and startups. Maybe impostor syndrome keeps me from feeling like I'm good enough to jump ship over to those companies.
I think the stigma of .NET has some merit in some areas but is very exaggerated, and while it is prevalent in the dev community, it bleeds over into the business side as well. It actually even gets worse there because business users are even more prone to misinformation. Someone looking to acquire your company will say "Oh, but it's built in .NET. I heard that .NET is: slow/ is really bad / only makes websites with ugly fonts / costs 100x as much / etc." Some of the things they think are pretty ridiculous. Attribute that to the game of telephone that passes the exaggerated hatred for .NET from the technical community as information to the business side, becoming even more distorted on the biz side.
Some of the things biz guys think are rational too. For example they might be concerned about integrating your .NET stack with their ruby/java/python stack. That would be an unattractive proposal to many. Companies looking to acquire might also nix a potential deal because their CTO will be uninformed about .NET. They will automatically think the code was bad, that you're using viewstate and web controls and Sharepoint, and all the other horrible things that people hate about the .NET world. They might be worried about the licensing cost of SQL server. I see no reason to use SQL Server unless you are locked into it by an existing system.
If i were building a company right now:
- I would go ahead and build in C#.
- I feel like I could find good enough C# dev's if i needed to (rather pay senior dev salaries for 3 good-great C# dev's than 5-6 guys who are 1/3 as good but cost 80% as much).
- I would avoid SQL Server, and just design things to be able to use non-MS techs for the critical pieces like the databases/key-value stores, etc.
- I would follow the best practices for perf/scaling
- I'd use a framework like ServiceStack or NancyFX.