Windows Forms for .NET 3.5? What are We Thinking?

Yes, the question was asked, I answered it, but I thought others might want to know just what we were thinking when we created an exam for Windows Forms on .NET 3.5.

I mean, wasn’t WPF supposed to be the replacement technology for developing Windows applications in 3.0 and onward of the .NET Framework?  Well, wasn’t it?  In my humble opinion, no. 

Let’s face it, at this time in the corporate world, not every PC is capable of running Vista and not every PC is capable of running WPF apps.  Silverlight yes, WPF no.  Also, how many of you develop apps for servers and not the client?  Are these all service based applications with no UI?  Not likely.  Do server apps need to have WPF content?  Not on my servers they don’t.

So, Windows Forms technologies still exist and applications are still being written using that technology.  For those of you who are already certified, would you upgrade to Windows Forms 3.5?  Maybe not.  Some will, some won’t.  But, what about the new developer or new to certification developer who seeks to prove their development skills with a certification?  They want to be certified on the latest version.  Wouldn’t you?  Of course you would.

So, imagine being that person and looking on the Microsoft certification web site and finding out that Windows Forms certification is only offered for version 2.0 of the .NET Framework.  How would you feel?  Left out?  Upset?  Turned away? 

Now perhaps, you can understand my rationale and thought process.

Will this be the same for .NET 4.0 and the next version of Visual Studio?  I don’t have those answers yet but I can tell you that the landscape will change somewhat.  Even internally to Microsoft, I don’t have all the feature sets and directions for down yet.  There is a lot to consider and that is part of our planning process.  Getting to know the product features, what’s new and how it will impact the industry.

We will be working hand-in-hand with the folks in Visual Studio and the .NET Framework to hammer out the details and lay down a plan based on target audiences and product features.  As always, we intend our certifications to be real world relevant in the coverage so we will be coming back to you, the developer community for help in the exam designs and development.

By the way, does anyone know of any good code samples for creating a sandbox to host Visual Studio in?  I’m also working, in my own mind at this time, on the next generation of developer certifications using performance based testing.  More on this in tomorrow’s posting.

As always, comments and questions are welcome.