&*%$ you and all of your @#*!% opinions! There, now that I’ve established my credibility, let’s get started.

I installed Ubuntu recently on a virtual machine. It was insanely easy. Pointed VMWare at the .iso then went back to entertaining myself reading comments on the local news site (http://tribune242.com; I like it because it reads like an offshoot of The Hillbaley Ho Down and Extravaganza).

Tips for people starting on Ubuntu coming from Windows

I jest. Just want to screw with the people who are skimming the headings. Last thing I want to do is claim any sort of proficiency with Linux.

It did get me thinking on the last year and a half with BookedIN though. Since starting this venture, I’ve learned (to varying degrees): Java, GWT, AppEngine, Ruby/Rails, Mercurial, Git, Eclipse, and now, Linux. I had experience in none of them at the start.

The benefits of looking outside your world

Ha, ha, I’m kidding again. We all know it’s a profoundly moving and religious experience to expand your horizons, even if all you get out of it is a vaguely pretentious blog post.

I’m actually going to discuss the opposite view: the benefits of sticking with what you know. I still do some .NET work on the side. It’s not a particularly complicated project, which is why I like it. And after a long day debugging issues with GWT hosted mode and figuring out the proper Cucumber syntax to use for a UI test and trying to massage our AppEngine data in all its NoSQL-ness, it’s comforting to open up Visual Studio and SQL Server Management Studio and whip out code almost without thinking. I know how to wire up the IoC container and once Fluent NHibernate has been wined and dined with all its conventions, it puts out like a two-dollar wh---<ahem>…yes, well, let’s just say Fluent NHibernate is a well-used piece of software at the hillbilly’s shack, let me tell you…

I’m dancing a little jig on a fine line here in my wording because it’s fun I don’t want to imply that I regret moving away from .NET for our project. It’s kind of like moving to a new country. Yes, the weather may be better but gas is also over five dollars a gallon and the power goes out once a week. In short, you substitute one set of problems for another.

I get the question “would you write your next application in .NET?” fairly regularly. My honest answer is “I have no idea.” I wouldn’t shy away from it, that’s for sure. If it was for a company whose staff consists almost entirely of C# developers, then yes, probably. If it was some little thing to help organize the schedule for my daughter’s soccer team, I probably would too. Because I could do it quickly.

(I could also use the opportunity to learn a new language. But I get enough of those opportunities running the development process of our company. These days, unpaid side projects are ones I’d like to get off my plate quickly.)

I guess my ultimate point is that going with what you know has its place. Not necessarily for long-term career satisfaction, mind you, but there is a certain satisfaction to being able to fly through a codebase without having to look up syntax for some new library. As long as you aren’t using it as an excuse to remain stagnant…

Kyle the Tap Dancer