Interesting to see the direction this thread headed...
A few comments regarding the "3rd-Party" part of the conversation:
1) I well understand Lec's concern about an apprarent need (to him) that is not being met by the stock VW packages. I've been there so many times that I've lost count.
2) Sam is quite right about the breadth of disciplines VW covers. VW leadership has to make daily decisions about where to apply resources and about which features (or, approaches to implenenting features) fit or don't fit defined conventions. Along w. that, it CAN be quite frsutrating to see another industry getting love when one's own is seemingly getting ignored. The evidence is that, using Spotlight as an example, users from that area aren't really "poorer stepchildren" when one considers all of the specific effort that has been applied, there, recently. The catch is that, within the microcosm of Spotlight, the decisions I just mentioned have to be taken...
3) Echoing Sam, this is where the beauty of having 3 different options for developing proprietary or 3rd-Party solutions lies:
· Very focused or customised commands and tools can be created.
· Potential needs can be explored in a way that could be difficult under the corporate umbrella.
· Likewise, other approaches/conventions can be explored in a way that could be challenging under the corporate umbrella.
· Intimate interraction with developers is more possible for more users.
· Many developers are creating solutions that they need in their own day-to-day "other" jobs - using approaches and conventions that "think" like they do...that fill sometimes difficult-to-articulate needs...approaches and needs that can be incredibly hard to understand if one is not really immersed in a given discipline.
· Faster turn-around on enhancements and fixes is often possible.
· Commands and tools are seldom tied to a specific VW package.
4) While this might sound self-serving for me to say, I'm with Sam in being quite surprised at the hesitation of a lot of users to take advantage of 3rd-Party commands and tools - some at little to no cost. Yes, there is risk involved. Is there any actual support? Will the command or tool be available in a month? Does the command or tool follow official conventions? I've found so much value in 3rd-Party offerings that those risks are more than acceptable. And, the more I invest in other developers, the more incentive they have to continue their work...