Robert McLaws: Windows Edition

Blogging about Windows since before Vista became a bad word

February 2005 - Posts

  • When The Marketing Team Goes Off The Deep End

    Microsoft's marketing team is completely off their rocker if this rumor has any shred of accuracy. Note to BillG, SteveB, and JimA - if this is the best you guys can do, it's time to fire your entire Windows Marketing division. The only way you could make it ANY worse is by calling it iWindows.
  • VSLive Day 1 - Soma's Keynote

    Soma spent most of his keynote highlighting the momentum of .NET Framework development over the past three years. He highlighted a number of partners, including the Zurich Airport, Baylor Health Care Systems, and 3M.

    He was also quick to point out developer adoption. The numbers speak volumes on Microsoft's success in the field. When .NET was announced at VSLive! on February 14, 2002, there were 300 listings for .NET developers on As of this morning, there are over 10,000 listings for jobs on the site. Some other interesting statistics:

    120 Million framework downloads
    2.5 million copies of VS.NET
    VSIP - 225 partners, 450 products
    Community - 5M

    To build on that momentum, Soma announced that a company called MicroFocus will be bringing development to support legacy platforms on the .NET Framework. I'm sure there will be more details on that soon. He then mentioned the Connected Systems Business Kit - It contains presentations, samples, and training on SOA and interoperability, and the already announced but formally recognized Enterprise Library -, which is the next generation of Application Blocks.

    Soma then spent a good deal of his presentation on the power of the Smart Client. Microsoft is really pushing the Smart Client line lately, putting a lot more focus on building Windows applications that can handle mobility requirements while having a rich UI. It is interesting to see Microsoft's focus shift over the past several years. Web development has had a huge emphasis for building applications that you could access anywhere, and now it seems they are backing away from that tance. Avalon got so little coverage, (less than 1 minute) that it's hard to see what the strategy is post-Whidbey.

    Soma then took a minute to announce the Tablet PC Game SDK, built by our friends over at 3 Leaf Development. The first game built on it, Arcs of Fire ( comes with the source code. Also, Agilix has built drag-and-drop WinForms controls for taking notes in ink. Microsoft and Agilix are making a version of that control available for free to Visual Studio customers. I haven't been through the press kit yet, but I'll check it out and talk about it more later.

    In a demo, they showed an ASP.NET application that displayed data in a DataGrid server control. They then showed the same application accessed by a machine with the .NET Framework 2.0. ASP.NET detected the newer version, and instead of the ASP.NET DataGrid, it hosted the WinForms DataGrid control. As in any Microsoft demo, they didn't say a lot about how that works, but I'll be finding out more about that later. At any rate, it was a very good demo, and fortunately for him, error free.

    The final piece of the keynote was a demo of Visual Studio Team System. The Microsoft employee doing the demo kinda sounded like a radio announcer though. Soma made a point to emphasize the fact that VSTS has the same testing and analysis tools that Microsoft uses to its own code. That might scare some of the AntiMicrosofties, but you can bet Microsoft will be working to improve those tools, now that they are public.

    Express, Standard, Pro, Team System
    Novices & Students, web developers, small teams, enterprise

    To close out, "I really want to think about you as an extension of our product development organization." "The steps we took last year are just the beginning." "Every build we make, I want to share with you." That's an interesting promise to make. Microsoft has been delivering builds to close partners for some time. They only recently expanded that to include CTPs to everyone. While people like Joe Wilcox would be upset that there are so many "beta" builds, Soma wants to have even more. I hope Joe is here. I bet he passed out when he heard that.

    My Summary:
    All and all, nothing really big was announced. I was lead to believe otherwise, so I'm holding out hope for later. the next Avalon CTP was almost an afterthought, and should have had a lot more attention. That would have detracted from the "Smart Client" party-line that has been so prevalent today. Either way, I wish Microsoft talked about Windows as much as it talks about developer stuff. I'll ask John about that when I talk to him in a few minutes.

  • VSLive Announcement: Avalon

    Soma announced it almost as a footnote, but the next CTP of Avalon will be released in the next six weeks. That means you can expect the next drop on or before March 16th.
  • Interview #3: Don Box on Indigo

    My third and final VSLive! Victim is the venerable Don Box. Once I'm over being in the presence of greatness, we'll be talking about the big Indigo announcement they'll be making on Tuesday. (Sidebar: I've talked to Waggoner Edstrom, and, while they won't tell me what they're announcing yet, they tell me that the dates eWeek announced were just speculation, and as of today no dates have been confirmed to them. That may just be PR-speak... we'll see on Tuesday.)

    As before, use the comments to submit your questions on Indigo, and I'll pick the top 5 to ask him. What's your most pessing question about Indigo? Let me know and I'll try to get it answered.

  • Interview #2 - Brian Goldfarb on Web Strategies

    My second VSLive! Victim is Brian Goldfarb. I have no idea what his actual title is, but his responsibility is to make sure the community surrounding Microsoft's web tools is thriving. We're going to be talking about Whidbey, Orcas, and IIS7, so submit me your questions and I'll pick the top 5 to add to my list.
  • Interview #1 - John Montgomery on the Developer Roadmap

    My first VSLive! Victim is John Montgomery, Director of Product Management for Microsoft's Developer Division. I have 30 minutes to grill him on things that are going on in the Tools and Servers Division, so I'd like to see what you guys want to know. Please submit your questions as comments on this post, and I'll select the top 5 to add to my list of questions.
  • Submit Your Longhorn-Related RSS Feeds

    I'm going to be spending the next several weeks coding the next version of the site. We're going to be doing a really big expansion, to bring you even more Longhorn-related content. So, if you write Longhorn-related blog entries, please make sure you're categorizing your posts, and leave me a comment with your Longhorn-specific RSS feeds. It would be even better if you broke your categories out into topics such as XAML and Indigo, as I have done at this blog. Thanks for your help!

    UPDATE: The feeds need to contain only Longhorn information. No personal posts or off-topic discussions. For most blog engines, that means giving me separate category feeds for each Longhorn category.

  • VSLive San Francisco-Related Plans

    I'm wrapping up my preparations to leave for San Francisco this Sunday. I'm told there are going to be a couple of big announcements, and I've spent most of the week working with Microsoft's PR firm, Waggoner Edstrom, to line up a couple interviews while I'm there. I'll be posting a lot of coverage on the site, so you should see a flurry of activity over the next several days. In my next few posts, I'm going to tell you who I'm interviewing, and ask you to submit me some questions. I'll pick 5 of the best questions to ask these individuals during my interview. Please use the newly-reenabled comment form to submit your questions.

    And if you're going to be in San Francisco next week, use the comment form at right to e-mail me and let me know when you're gonna be there. Or you can catch me at my server control talk on Tuesday evening at 5:45pm.

    See you in SanFran!

  • Comments Re-Enabled, For Now

    Well, I've been trying to test a new CAPTCHA solution, but it hasn't been working as well as I'd like. I'm trying a new solution that I'm hoping will stop some of the casual spammers. I'm declining to name what it is, but if it works, I'll post it over at Instead of  making everyone else suffer, I've decided to re-enable commenting. Chances are good that you'll still get comment spam (I've had it on for 15 seconds and I've already been spammed), but I'll just do a better job staying on top of removing them, at least until we move to CommunityServer 1.0, which just entered release candidate phase.

    Please don't abuse the commenting. I'd really like to keep the feature for you guys. Thanks.