Microsoft vs. BlueJ

1 minute read

I was first introduced to BlueJ when I started lecturing on OOP using Java at Keele (IIT) for their MSc program. Teaching first time programmers about objects and creating instances using the BlueJ IDE was a 'wow' moment.

A couple of years later I'm sitting at the regional MVP Summit in Singapore and watching a presentation by one of the Microsoft Program Managers (under NDA) about the new 'Object Test Bench' feature. The moment I saw it, I turned around to Prasanna and commented about its similarity to BlueJ. Other people too notice this and later even Microsoft admits that the idea was from BlueJ.

“*My* interpretation of the above statement is basically that our academic customers wanted this because of the success of this BlueJ feature.” (D Fernandez)

Fast forward to last weekend, Michael, one of the authors of BlueJ is alerted that Microsoft has patented BlueJ, Dan Fernandez (a Microsoft Product Manager) then works inside Microsoft to remove the patent. With a final update from Michael.

As a part-time educator who teaches both Java and .NET technologies what's funnier is that Microsoft copied the feature based on feedback from teachers and hilariously doesn't include it in the free versions of Visual Studio (Express Editions) which is chiefly intended for students and hobbyists.

Instead it is a high-end feature which is available only on the paid versions. I guess Architects can use that feature to teach new SE's about objects and instances (grin).

Hopefully D Fernandez who is the Lead Product Manager for Visual Studio Express will "fix" it in the next version.