Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Scenes From A Developer's Conference (a.k.a. Russell Brand Hates My Work)

Last week Microsoft Fargo hosted a developer's conference for our partners and other 3rd party outfits that develop products for use with Microsoft Dynamics GP, which is what I work on. It's a chance for these developers to pick the brains of Microsoft's R&D team, find out about what to expect from new releases, and lodge complaints.

It was generally a good experience. My involvement was to be available at a round table for a couple of the projects I work(ed) on and answer questions. I only got one I couldn't answer, and that involved pricing structures. I don't pretend to know how our prices are derived. All I know is that every time someone clicks the OK button on certain windows, I get .00008 cents. I plan to retire in the year 2851.

One visitor got my attention though. He introduced himself by saying, "the migration tool sucks!" Guess who worked on that[*]. Oh yeah.

This person lived in New Jersey by way of England. He looked exactly like Russell Brand, if Russell Brand was a hilarious software engineer instead of an unfunny stand-up comic. He apparently came to the New World due to the lax gun laws of New Jersey (hey, compared to the U.K., everybody's gun laws are lax). I know this because he digressed into stories of how many guns he owned, which types of guns he owned, and how he used those guns to greet people at his front door. He was great.

Anyway, the explanation for his exclamation (the one about my product sucking) was a known issue for us. Basically, some customers like to customize products with pieces they build themselves, and there is simply no way for our little utility to be able to parse the code in these things and make them work in a new platform. Russell Brand's customer had done this sort of thing extensively and the only help he got from us was of the 'too bad, so sad' variety.

Perfectly understandable anger on their part. Luckily for me though, the TSA finds time to forbid guns on planes in between searching old ladies for bottles of water and tubes of Gold Bond larger than three ounces.

[*]Long story short, I (with another developer) built a utility that would upgrade our customers to a later version of our software even though said software had changed platforms. Not too shabby, if I do say so myself.

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