posted on Wednesday, March 7, 2007 12:15 AM by Obi

Top 10 most influential People in the .Net space

Below, please see a list that of top 10 lists most influential people around (i.e. top 10 greatest IT people, etc). This list was compiled by DNR based on the experiences and impressions of fellow colleagues in .NET development. Thus, perhaps it would be more appropriate to rename it "Top 10 Really Influential People in the .NET World for everyday .NET users".  The criteria are as follows: It was mostly rated on the amount of public exposure individuals got and their impact on the .NET community (whether it is awareness raising, teachings or production of tools). So while you may think that purely technical evangelists would flood this list, it was not the case.

1. Anders Hejlsberg - Creator of C# Language

He is what James Gosling is for Java and  Bjarne Stroustrup's for C++. You can read about the C # design process. And now, most recently, Anders gets this nod for his contribution on LINQ (formerly C Omega), something not seen in other strongly typed languages. You will also be able to see Anders in the public eye through Channel 9 videos.

2. Scott Guthrie - One of the creators of ASP.NET and the General Manager, .NET

Pretty obvious choice eh? What is cool is the progressive career path he has taken at Microsoft. This is a guy who rose through the ranks. You have him to thank for not having to do any more new development in classic ASP. And he is another individual that pops up on Channel 9.

3. Charles Petzold - .NET books/publications

Talk about hardcore, this guy even has a windows tattoo. Quality writer who even made a book available for free for veterans entering the .NET world from C/C++. ( He deserves to be on this list for his windows tattoo, his early entry into authoring .NET books (focusing on the windows forms side of things as opposed to ASP.NET) and quality of his work. Does Visual Studio Rot the Mind?

4. Miguel de Icaza - Creator of Mono (Open Source .NET for Unix/Linux)

He deserves to be on the list for for bringing .NET to the Penguin community. While it is questionable whether he should be behind Charles on this list, to the best of my knowledge, he is lacking that Windows tattoo. An interview of his can be read here.

5. Richard Campbell and Carl Franklin - DNR show, DNRtv, blogs and producing HanselMinutes podcast

Yes, they came as a pair. Part of the criteria was based on the impact individuals had on the .NET community through drawing excitement out of the masses. The evangelism and excitement these two draw out of .NET community is impressive. In fact, even if you are not a .NET Developer, you may feel re-energized about your job in the technical field after listening to these guys.  For helping shape the dot net culture today, they certainly deserve to be on the list. I was fortunate enough to attended a talk by Richard Campbell before. Like their show, they make .NET rock.

6. Paul Wilson - WilsonDotNet with WilsonORMapper and other tools

While it is free to use, the source comes at a price of $50, which is really a bargain. He is a technical blogger. He's authored books (ASP.NET Developer's Cookbook) on .NET and contributed to MSDN Libary articles. He came out with Master pages before ASP.NET 2.0 introduced this.He's also got a couple open source projects that he hosts.

7. Dino Esposito - All the Microsoft Press books written and contributions on MSDN

A lot of people coming into the ASP.NET and .NET development world become familiar with this guy's work. Just look at the number of Microsoft Press books he's published and his work on MSDN magazine.

8. Nikhil Kothari - Architect on ASP.NET team

For his informative and really cool blog entries. Although he could probably earn this spot for being an architect on the ASP.NET team. He has had roles on the server controls framework, Ajax Framework and even come up with his own tools: ScriptSharp, Web Development Helper. He was also one of the individuals who helped to bring ASP.NET Web Matrix to fruition (free IDE for web developers). This all happened before the Express Edition of MS tools these days. Apparently, he was also involved with the development of IIS7.

9. Tom Hollander - Patterns & Practices Product Manager

His work on Enterprise Library, etc has led to the continual guidance and aid of .NET Developers. Enterprise Library was certainlly being used at the last workplace. And I was fortunate enough to attend the Microsoft Design for Operations for Developers Workshop. Check out the new "Validation Application Block" from a blog entry of his.

10. Lutz Roeder - Creator of Reflector

One of the most talked about tools when ppl enter the .net community. Although he is involved with Microsoft Expression, he deserves to be on this list simply for coming out with free tools that are the talk of the .NET community

Honorable Mentions:

Mark Anders - Co-creator of ASP.NETand PUM of .NET Framework.

The guys who created CodeProject - Until now with codeplex, this is still a great source (pun intended) for .NET resources.

John Lam - work on RubyCLR and will be joining Microsoft in Jan 2007.

Sean Walker - DotNetNuke, an open source CMS written in VB.NET. Many technical sites (i.e. Vancouver Code Camp - now renamed Vancouver Tech Fest) were set up on this. DNN has also spawned a plethora of book publications for DNN extensions, etc.

Jim Hugunin - Creator of IronPython (which is now moved to CodePlex)

Brad Abrams - Co-author of "Framework Design Guidelines" and frequent technical blogger at

Scott Watermasysk - Creator of .Text and currently works at Telligent Systems, makers of Community Server, which has become an instrumental social networking (blogs, photo galleries, rss feeds, tagging) platform for people to set up. Professional sites from Microsoft (such as and many personal blogs use this.

Rob Conery - Creator of Subsonic

Eric J. Smith – Creator of CodeSmith

Rockford Lhotka - Creator of CSLA.NET

Andrew Lin - Group Program Manager IIS

James Newkirk - Creator of NUnit (yes, there is Team System Unit Testing tool, but this was the free precursor). Also, he was part of the Patterns and Practices team and is now involved with the CodePlex effort.

Soma Somasegar - Corporate Vice President, Developer Division Microsoft, and regular blogger.

(edit: realized that Patrick Dussud started blogging...he should be an honorable mention as one of the founders of the CLR. Always interesting to read about the roots here and here).


Obi Oberoi