Note that this is a very incomplete history so far. If you have important things to add that I’ve not yet put in here, corrections, or clarifications, please email me at historyofaltdotnet AT jaxidian DOT org and I’ll be sure to get it fixed and give you credit. If you can, please provide links to back up what you are adding or correcting. You may also comment to this to suggest changes as well.
After working to form up Indianapolis’s IndyALT.NET group, I’ve realized that the vast majority of the .NET community don’t know what ALT.NET is. I made a blog post entitled What is ALT.NET? but there is still a lot of ignorance about how ALT.NET originally began. Then I thought about it and realized that even I didn’t know how it began! I remember reading David Laribee’s blog post that coined the term but that was really about all I knew about the beginnings of it. So I decided that we desparately needed to document how this movement began, and that is what I am attempting to do with this. I will later republish this as a standard blog posting but this is the temporary home of this for now.
So here goes…
On March 15, 2007, Jeffrey Palermo posted, Linq to Entities: Microsoft’s first go at O/R Mapping (they need our feedback now!) – level 300. It highlights some of quite a big debate involving a group of Microsoft MVPs who were heavy users of nHibernate at the time and also believed in proper application architecture. This debate had been going on for a while about the direction Microsoft was moving with the Entity Framework system (ADO.NET 3) and Jeffrey was just highlighting a bit of it in this post to help gather support.
Beginning on March 14, 2007, Sam Gentile, Jeremy Miller, Scott Bellware (no blog atm, let me know if there is a better link for Scott), Jeffery Palermo, Raymond Lewallen, Jean Paul Boodhoo and James Kovacs, at Scott Bellware’s instigation and insistence1, confronted Microsoft about Entity Framework while at the MVP Summit. This group was coined the “nHibernate Mafia” by Richard Campbell2. They felt strongly that Entity Framework should not intrude upon DDD-based architectures. The biggest problem was that Entity Framework did not support Persistance Ignorance.
From March 14 to April 24, 2007, Roger Jennings has summed up and documented a lot of this debate from both sides both as it was going on at the Microsoft MVP Summit and afterwards, much better than I could.
On April 10, 2007, David Laribee responded to a post by Scott Bellware and in the process proposed the name “ALT.NET” for this movement of writing better software and considering alternative ways to do so other than just going by the mainstream, groupthink methods.
[Insert history of new clubs and major events that have transpired since the coining of the term.]
From October 5-7, 2007, there was an ALT.NET Open Spaces meeting in Austin.
On November 14, 2007, the Philly ALT.NET met publicly for the first time.
From April 18-20, 2008, there was an ALT.NET Open Spaces meeting in Seattle.
1 I do not have a reference for this. This was information provided directly by Scott Bellware: “i would like a history of alt.net to capture that the meeting between the ef guys and us happened at my instigation and insistence”
2 I do not have a reference for this. This was information provided directly by Scott Bellware: “it was richard campbell who coined the term. he didn’t mean it maliciously. we were all in an entity framework preview session.”