With the launch of Visual Studio 2010 and Silverlight 4 at the DevConnections show in Las Vegas last week, I am pleased to announce that Dotfuscator CE version 5 is now generally available. With an all-new user interface, more intelligent obfuscation, and application analytics instrumentation, this promises to be the biggest change we’ve made to Dotfuscator CE in its history. I am particularly excited because soon, with the application analytics included in Dotfuscator CE, millions of developers world-wide will have the opportunity to see real usage data coming in from their applications. Even better, they will be able to do so completely cost-free.
I was invited to act as part of PreEmptive’s delegation to the launch event and humbled to speak with so many passionate developers, architects, DBAs, and yes – even managers. What I did not initially expect was the overwhelmingly positive response from nearly everyone we talked with. Most people had never heard of application analytics. But, with a brief introduction everyone quickly understood the idea and many offered up scenarios where they would want to use it for their applications (completely unsolicited, I might add). It was thrilling to receive such a positive response to something I - and the other fantastic developers here at PreEmptive - have worked very hard over the past few years to create.
I very much encourage the great folks I met in Las Vegas last week, along with millions of passionate developers across the globe, to open up Dotfuscator CE and try out the free analytics we’ve included. Today, most web developers wouldn’t think of publishing a web site without including web analytics. I hope that having these analytics included with Visual Studio 2010 will lead to application developers thinking the same way about their applications. Of course, using the two together in a Silverlight or ASP.NET application to get a complete view of the visitor’s experience is a natural fit. But application analytics extends far beyond that. Now, all .NET developers are able to get live information that can help steer development focus, even in areas that were previously completely opaque – from cloud apps running on Windows Azure to mobile phone applications on Windows Phone 7 and even to applications running on Linux and Mac with Mono.
In fact, I look forward to seeing how application analytics will be used to support open source development throughout the .NET ecosystem. Because open source developers essentially donate their spare time, being able to focus their efforts in places that have the most user impact is crucial. An open source development model also allows far greater flexibility for developers to immediately shift their focus to match what their users are actually doing with the software they produce, without the constraints of rigid development and deployment practices. Because of these factors, I specifically encourage maintainers of open source projects to try the free application analytics provided in Dotfuscator CE. Together with the bug reports and feature requests you already have, you will be able to truly make the most of the precious time that your contributors give.
Some might say that it’s counterintuitive for a company known for source code obfuscation to support open source development, but at PreEmptive our guiding principle is simply “help software succeed”. With application analytics, we have the opportunity to extend our dedication to this principle beyond proprietary software. In the past few months, we’ve released numerous projects on CodePlex including some awesome editor extensions that integrate application analytics right into the Visual Studio 2010 IDE, an endpoint starter kit so you can write your own backend to receive and process Runtime Intelligence messages, a data visualizer sample to demonstrate how to consume analytics data using our RESTful analytics API, and an API helper library to make using our API even easier. And our new partnership with CodePlex, which will provide free application analytics for hosted projects surfaced right within each project’s page, provides us yet another great opportunity to help software succeed.