Coding Horror

programming and human factors

GotDotNet: still sucking after all these years

Why is it that fully half of my interactions with GotDotNet are extremely unpleasant? I was telling someone about the Microsoft sponsored IronPython project today and I foolishly attempted to click through to the GotDotNet workspace for same:

I clicked on a GotDotNet workspace and all I got was this lousy error page

That's, like, totally awesome. Maybe I should visit the Workspaces Announcements pagee. The typo certainly inspires confidence!

With my apologies to the very nice Betsy Aoki who personally answers emails sent to the pictured email alias, GotDotNet is an embarrassing trainwreck of epic proportions. I've rarely had a positive experience using GotDotNet. I've rarely read anything positive about anyone else's experiences with GotDotNet.

How does GotDotNet suck? Let me count the ways:

  • It's unreliable.
  • It's slow.
  • It's ugly.
  • It's not particularly functional.
  • It hasn't noticeably improved in three years.

When you can't muster a user experience comparable to the thoroughly mediocre SourceForge, it's time to seriously reconsider your reason for existing at all.

I'm begging you, Microsoft: either have the guts to kill GotDotNet outright, or put your alpha development triage team on it ASAP. It'd be one thing if GotDotNet was a standalone site, but because of its marquee association with Microsoft and .NET, GotDotNet drags down the entire .NET ecosystem. And that's a damn shame.

I don't know if I'm lucky, stupid, or both, but a revamped ASP.NET 2.0 version of GotDotNet was unveiled today. It addresses my two primary concerns: it's noticeably faster, and the visual design is much improved. Kudos to the GotDotNet team. I'm still not sure exactly what purpose the site serves in the big scheme of things, but at least using it is no longer like randomly jabbing myself in the face with punji sticks.

Written by Jeff Atwood

Indoor enthusiast. Co-founder of Stack Overflow and Discourse. Disclaimer: I have no idea what I'm talking about. Find me here: