The board of the 14-year-old .NET Developer Association in Redmond sent a message to its members last night proposing a six-month break in activities to figure out how to revitalize the group — citing a general lack of interest from members, sponsors and speakers, even from Microsoft.

The timing is notable. Coincidentally, Microsoft is preparing to release a new version of Windows that opens the platform up to web developers by making it possible to use HTML 5 and JavaScript to write new “Metro-style apps” for Windows PCs. The Windows 8 Consumer Preview, launching later this month, will feature a new Windows Store to distribute these new apps.

Traditional Microsoft .NET developers will also be able to use those tools and languages to write Metro-style apps, but Microsoft’s decision to open the door to HTML5 and JavaScript reflects a broader shift in the industry toward web development technologies, driven in part by the rise of mobile devices.

In its message to members, the board of the .NET Developer Association was careful to point out it’s not proposing to shut the group down permanently. We’ve reached out to both the board and Microsoft for comment. Here’s the full text of the message.

Dear Members—

As many of you have no doubt noticed, many of the .NET Developer Association meetings have been canceled recently. As the members of your board, we feel the pain of the cancellations keenly and we share with you the frustration at not having those meetings.

Quite frankly, we think it’s time to take a break.

We’ve been having serious difficulties lining up people to speak and unfortunately we’ve not found others within the local community to volunteer their time on the board to help. We feel that a general malaise within the community—both the local one here in Redmond as well as a wider community as a whole—lies partly to blame. We have debated moving to once-a-month meetings, but even at that pace we still cannot find people willing to take the time to stand before the membership and present material that is interesting to our membership, even from within Microsoft itself. We have asked the membership to give us feedback on the topics they would find interesting, to little response. We have tried contacting sponsors within the local community, but aside from Microsoft’s donation of their meeting room facilities, we have had little success in enticing recruiters or vendors beyond the usual “pile of swag” for us to hand out at meetings.

We, your board, find ourselves running out of ideas, growing frustrated, and generally finding ourselves at a loss how to proceed. So, we have come to the somewhat radical suggestion of simply taking a break for a period of time, six months, while we look for ways to revitalize the group. It is our hope that the time away will help the community as a whole as well.

Please note that we are not suggesting that the group be permanently disbanded, nor that this is the only solution. If others within the group wish to see the group continue to meet on a monthly basis, we are not opposed to others accepting positions on the board and taking over leadership responsibilities.

Should you have questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me (president@dotnetda.org) or any of the other board members.

We will hold one more meeting this Monday, February 13th, to discuss this, and assuming there are no volunteers to take on leadership roles we will announce our return details at that time.

Previously: Lessons from Om Nom: How ‘Cut the Rope’ shows the future of Windows and the web

Comments

  • Anonymous

    I think the community, in general, is doing great. Yes there are issues sometimes with getting sponsors, speakers and even having people show us to meetings but I do not think that means that there is malaise in the community.  We have over 400 user groups in North America and over 1600 worldwide.  The International .NET Association provides support to user groups throughout the world in addition to what Microsoft’s User Group Support Services does.

    I will personally reach out the the President of Redmond’s .NET Developer Association, since they are a part of the International .NET Association to see what kind of support we can offer.

    Joseph Guadagno
    President of International .NET Association (INETA) North America (http://ineta.org)
    President of the Southeast Valley .NET User Group (http://www.sevdnug.org)

  • http://blog.calbucci.com/ Marcelo Calbucci

    Not that this is a replacement or substitute for the NETDA, but the Dot Net Startup group (
    http://www.dotnetstartup.com/ ) just got started last week with about 50 people showing up to the first event and 100+ exptected for the next one. NETDA was focused on developers more broadly, while the Dot Net Startup is about the overlap of .NET development and entrepreneurship.

    • http://twitter.com/RedRussak ‘Red’ Russak

      I was going to send this over to you. Seems like great timing for you! I have a feeling that they should find a way to work with you in SLU.

  • http://twitter.com/iC clive boulton

    Sad commentary on .NET for web dev. Not even on campus dev’s up for evangelizing.

  • Ted Neward

    Speaking as a board member of the above-named group, I can say (with some concern) that we received no request for comment before this story ran. I can’t say that Todd didn’t try to reach out to us; I can only say that none of us on the board received any kind of email or other connection.

    We (the board) are very open to any and all comment, and suggest that anyone in the Eastside Seattle area with an interest in .NET and an interest in seeing this group continue meeting should come to the meeting and give us your ideas.

    It’s also a little disconcerting that the bulk of the story above is an advertisement for Windows 8, rather than the headline of the story. I get the connection–with the upcoming release of Windows 8, it would seem that there’s so much to talk about–but it seems like extraneous information irrelevant to the headline itself. Normally a piece like this would be accompanied by interviews of other individuals within the community expressing their agree/disagree on the subject, and so on.

    Again, I encourage anyone with something to say on this subject to come to the meeting and say it there.

    • http://twitter.com/RedRussak ‘Red’ Russak

      Dear Ted,

      Why the ‘east-side’ specifically? I’m beginning to feel a little neglected over on the west-side. As far as entrepreneurial activity goes, I think it’s time you begin to explore west-side events and potentially a logo rebrand ;-) .NET branding as we know is about to change. My 2 cents: Don’t stop the group now. Instead, team up with current .net ambassadors and provide resources where you can. There’s no denying that what MS has coming next will not only attract more dev’s, but make .NET sexy again. The question is: Where will you find the critical mass of people who would attend your events? East-Side? West-Side? 

      Oh, and I’m happy to help where I can…but only if you change your groups logo ;-) #justkidding?

      • http://twitter.com/RedRussak ‘Red’ Russak

        PS: Just went to your website. Last updated in May? You should ditch the site and use meetup.com or eventbrite. If you’re going to be the face of .NET, get a makeover ;-) Happy to refer over devsigners and lend a hand where I can. As per attending on Monday, a tad short notice though incidentally will be in Redmond all morning.

      • Ted Neward

        Red–

        Eastside, mostly because Microsoft campus is Eastside, and because that’s where the group had been meeting when we took over as the board, and hey, let’s be honest, because if it met Westside, I wouldn’t have gone because I live Eastside and find it a pain to cross the bridges, just as you do. :-)

        Unfortunately, “team up with current .NET ambassadors” doesn’t help much; the board consists of several INETA speakers, conference speakers and MVPs, and we’re still having a hard time lining up speakers. When we can’t find Microsoft PMs who want (or are able) to come and talk to the group on its own campus, for example, things are in a bad place.

  • Guest

    “Developers, developers, developers”

    Steve Ballmer

  • Anonymous

    A single platform development solution, encumbered by patents, heavily restricted and costly development tools, heavily restricted runtime use, totally proprietary, requires an expensive OS, and is under the control of a single corporation…
    Well just paint me into the corner! I can not possibly imagine why interest is fading so quickly.

  • Joseph Guadagno

    I would have to agree with you that there are issues sometimes with getting sponsors, speakers and even
    having people show us to meetings but I do not think that means that
    there is malaise in the community.  INETA has over 400 user groups in
    North America and over 1600 worldwide.  The International .NET
    Association provides support to user groups throughout the world in
    addition to what Microsoft’s User Group Support Services does.

    In
    fact, INETA is currently celebrating 10 years of community this month.
    We sent out over 150 user kits and are having celebrations all over
    North America. Take a look at the birthday page at http://ineta.org/birthday.

    If you need help getting sponsors, check out the sponsors page at: http://ineta.org/offers/leaderdefault.aspx

    If you need help getting speakers, check out the INETA community speakers program at: http://ineta.org/speakers

    If you have any other questions or needs, shoot me an email and I will try to help as much as possible.

    Joe Guadagno
    President INETA North America
    Microsoft MVP: Visual C#:

    Follow me on Twitter: @jguadagno

    • Ted Neward

      Alas, Joe, INETA’s inability to cover T&E for INETA speakers means we are restricted to only those INETA speakers who are in the local area, and quite honestly, you and I know well that our board knows most of them. And we still have a hard time getting people to come out to speak, and more than one of them has said it’s because they simply don’t think there’s much “new stuff” to talk about. Even after the WIndows8 preview.

      But more importantly, we’re having a hard time getting participation from the community as a whole here in Redmond. If you have contrary evidence, then I’d love to hear it and how to tap into that group.You and I can talk about this more during the MVP Summit when you’re out here for it.

Job Listings on GeekWork

Find more jobs on GeekWork. Employers, post a job here.