American Idol meets the App Blocks

So, a lot of blogging has been spinning up regarding the application blocks and the community involvement.  Ron Jacobs, a fellow patterns & practices man, master webcaster, and all-around good guy, blogged recently about community involvement in the maintainance of the blocks which set off a firestorm (OK, maybe not firestorm--smokestorm?) of discussion regarding community aspect of the blocks.  I've had a chance to talk/listen to several people in the last few weeks from different stakeholder viewpoints on this issue and I'm starting to get the message: 


  • gotdotnet is fine, but there's no commitment to fix and there isn't even real activity on those sites. I don't even bother going there any more.
  • I've got a cool piece of code that'd make a great app block and I'd like to see MS run with it and support it.  But I don't know what to do with it.
  • I've got a cool feature addition that I posted, but you still haven't done anything with it.
  • I'll post bug fixes, but why should I bother if you aren't going to incorporate them.
  • I want to go into production with your code, but with no commitment to bug fixes or future versions, am I riding up a creek without a paddle.


These thoughts were cetainly apparent at the Sunday night PDC BoF held by Jackie Goldstein that Jim Newkirk and I attended.  To those who attended, yes we were listening.  So, I want to throw some more thoughts out there and see what people think.  I don't know what's possible and what isn't possible, but w/o gauging what people think, we can't go forward with anything.  So select from one or more of the following:


  • We create repository for the world to submit application block candidates for all to see and comment on.  Based on community feedback, identifiable business need, etc., we may choose to take some of them under our wing and build on them.  If not, at least the community has a larger set of blocks to choose from.  I like to think of this as my 'American Idol' approach.  Maybe I could be Simon or at least the dude that says “dawg“ all the time.  Anyway, we could have you guys provide lots of candidates hoping to be Ruben or Clay of app blocks (I've never seen the show and yet I know the names--how sad is that?).  Just no movie deals, OK? 
  • We come up with a standard “sustained engineering“ commitment that promises a revision at the 6 month point (arbitrary time--could be more or less) where we provide bug fixes and, perhaps, feature enhancements as dictated by the community.  This will force us to listen to you and incorporate all feedback that makes sense. 


I also want us to be more open in what we are doing.  I see us sharing our roadmap of ideas more clearly (another use of the repository--we could submit our stuff just like you) and really have you, the .NET customer, drive the projects we take on.  That includes seeding our engineering efforts and/or validating our own ideas.    Also, if you submitted an idea that we decided to take, how might you want to be involved when we go into development (or would you even want to be invovled).  These are just some random ideas I have been milling about and I can't guarantee we'll do any/all of them, but I really want to hear from you guys on this.  Leaving Blogspot means not only do I have RSS, but I finally have comments.  Please post them here and feel free to e-mail me as well (alias is sandykh AT  I may not have an instant response thanks to my mountainous Inbox, but I promise I'll get back to you.

{Offspring - Splinter playing in the background}