Since Paul Smith posted about EPiServer having implemented native support for page types declared as classes in the next version of the CMS I've gotten quite a few questions about it. Almost all of them can be distilled down to two:
- What do you think about it?
- Have they talked to you about it?
The short answer to the first question is that I'm both somewhat relieved and glad, but also scared. The answer to the second question is no.
I'm relieved as EPiServer shipping with a native implementation might mean that I won't have to spend more time and energy on Page Type Builder. While it's been a fun couple of years building and maintaining the project I've often felt I haven't been able to give it the attention that I would have liked to. For instance, Lee Crowe has contributed far more to it than me the last couple of months while I've been very focused on a new, extremely exciting project that will soon see the light of day (stay tuned!).
I'm also glad that EPiServer is doing this because there are certain things that Page Type Builder would never be able to do, or do as nicely, as a native implementation could. Clearly a good native implementation is better than a library that tries to change the workflow of an existing application.
But, I'm also quite scared. When EPiServer ships with functionality similar to PTB's it means that most developers will use it, even if it's not well thought out or limited compared to PTB. That's just how it is, especially in the world of Microsoft/.NET development. That's all good and well given that the native solution is good. But if it isn't, it means that the native solution kills a lot of the interest in the open source solution, making it harder for the open source solution to receive feedback and contributions.
Hopefully that won't be an issue. There are really great developers working at EPiServer. But, one thing worries me, and that is how this was announced. I had no idea this was going on and it seems few outside EPiServer did. While I don't think EPiServer would have much to gain from asking me about how to implement their solution, they probably could have gained from asking me about what problems developers in the community have asked for Page Type Builder to solve. In my opinion, feedback from real users (developers in this case) is essential to all software development and building solutions in isolation almost never works (unless you're Apple). Just think about the first version of Entity Framework.
Anyhow, I really hope that their implementation is good, for all our sakes. And if it is, no one is happier than me :)
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