After wrapping up MarkedUp, I took some time off to consider my future. Travel. See old friends. Catch up on rest.
During the entire time I was gone I received a steady stream of questions and inquiries about two open source projects I helped found:
- Akka.NET, the .NET port of Typesafe’s wildly successful Akka distributed actor framework and
- Helios – a .NET port of Java’s popular Netty socket programming library; Helios powers the network communication used by Akka.Remote and Akka.Cluster within Akka.NET. All of these developers reached out to me – asking how to get X part of Helios working in their LOB app; “am I doing this Akka.Remote thing right?;” and many other permutations of the sort.
This got me thinking… How big is the population of .NET developers out there who want to learn how to build distributed apps? Turns out – there are tens of thousands of them. But they need help – the tools and the training and the knowledge just aren’t there for .NET developers.
Not long ago I ranted, vociferously, about the deplorable state of .NET open source. But in the course of actually taking a seat on the other side of the table – owning projects that other .NET developers are trying to use in their other applications, I realized how hard it really is to build a reliable and well-maintained open source project.
- And on that note, I am pleased to announce that I am co-founding Petabridge – a company dedicated to making distributed computing easy and accessible for .NET developers. My partner in crime is my longtime friend and fellow software developer, Andrew Skotzko. You can read Andrew’s Petabridge announcement here.
We’re making it our goal to build a business around .NET open source projects like Helios and Akka.NET, initially by offering training, support, and consulting services for developers who want to use them. We will be contributing work back to these two projects under the appropriate OSS licenses (both of them use Apache 2.0.)
We believe that these two projects have a larger role to play in the .NET ecosystem and will act as the foundation for more ambitious, distributed programming projects in the .NET ecosystem that haven’t even been invented yet. We have several designs in mind ourselves.
I see a bright future ahead for .NET and its OSS ecosystem, but it needs companies like Petabridge and Particular to support the bigger projects. Writing open source code is one thing, but educating developers who want to use it is another – especially with something as mind-bending as the Actor model.
First Order of Business: Akka.NET Training
The first thing Petabridge will be offering is soup-to-nuts Akka.NET training – learn everything from how the Actor model works to building your first substantial Akka.NET application.
We’ll be offering free online Akka.NET tutorials and webinars – so go to our website and sign up to receive updates about upcoming Akka.NET training.
Onto a new adventure!