I’m not known as a person who particularly likes the .NET framework but I still have to use it. The .NET Framework is basically a massive library of general purpose functions, much like the Standard Library is to C or the Standard Template Library is to C++.
But what if it all would be discontinued?
It’s not an impossibility and rather likely considering Microsoft’s track-record. The millions of applications, libraries and websites created with .NET would be useless.
I’ve been fortunate enough to be part of a VB6 (CGI) to ASP.NET (VB) conversion team and, trust me when I say this, you don’t want to be part of such an effort. These conversions require truckloads of time and money, and if you work for a mid-sized to large corporation, this could easily lead into the millions of dollars.
Now imagine all of your code obsolete. Everything you’ve coded since .NET 1.0. What would you do? Let’s take FoxPro as an example. Microsoft bought FoxPro in 1992 and released a couple of versions under the “Visual”-family of products. The last version was released in 2007 and a statement of Microsoft suggests that this is the last version.
No migration tools to any other language are being provided.
Another product would be J#, which will be retired in 2015. Keep in mind that J# is a fairly recent product and was only released with Visual Studio.NET.
How far will .NET go before a turning point is reached? Consider that .NET was first released publicly in 2002 and will be a decade old in less than four years. Knowing Microsoft, the end is quite possibly much nearer than you think.