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Chris is the Co-founder, Administrator, Architect, Chief Editor and Shameless Hack who wrote and runs The Code Project – a community site for software developers with 4.5 million members. He's been programming since 1988 while pretending to be, in various guises, an astrophysicist, mathematician, physicist, hydrologist, geomorphologist, defence intelligence researcher and then, when all that got a bit rough on the nerves, a web developer. He is a Microsoft Visual C++ MVP both globally and for Canada locally.Chris was born and bred in Australia but splits his time between Toronto and Melbourne, depending on the weather. 1. What does being an MVP mean to you?
To me it is recognition of the work we do at The Code Project in helping software developers at all levels of experience and from all walks of life. With millions of developers coming to our site every month it’s incredibly rewarding on its own to be able to help so many.
2. If you could ask Steve Ballmer one question about Microsoft, what would it be?
I’d have to be brutally honest and ask him if he still cares about his customers as much as he used to. He’s been at the pointy end of the company for a long time and I wonder if he still has the fire in him.
3. What do you think the best software ever written was?
4. If you were the manager of Visual Studio, what would you change?
First and foremost performance and resource use. It’s an incredible piece of work but I find it can be slow and it can be a memory hog. Fix things like refactoring, bugs in the designer, improve efficiencies in builds and purchase outright the best source code control system out there and integrate it tightly. I think we’ve all had enough of VSS! Finally, fix help. I pine for the days of Visual Studio 4.
Oh, and I would ditch the dozens of versions. There would be two versions only: express (free) and Pro (affordable). The current version system is a mess.
5. What are the best features/improvements of Visual Studio?
Visual Studio 2008 is still in beta so I won’t comment on that, but for 2005 the improvements in stability were welcome but can still be improved. Support for generics in terms of code generation and intellisense is excellent. I’m looking forward to integrated Web Projects in and AJAX support in 2008 but the improvements to Web development in 2005 have continued strongly from what Visual Studio .NET introduced. 6. What was the last book you read?
The Trouble With Physics – a discussion on the development of String Theory and how sociology in the physics community is potentially stifling innovation in developments to unify quantum mechanics and relativity. Once a physics geek, always a physics geek.
7. What music CD do you recommend?
Depends to whom I’m recommending. My Mum – Dianna Krall. My programming friends – anything from trash metal, bad Oz rock to chill out Thievery Corporation. My current weakness is cheesy French top 40.
8. What makes you a great MVP?
I’ve made most of the mistakes any beginner can make when learning so I understand not everyone just “gets it”.
9. What is in your computer bag?
Retractable Ethernet cable (and matching retractable crossover), Sony Vaio ultralight, 1Gb memory key, French dictionary, notebook, iPod, cycling magazine and, possibly, a blackberry.
10. What is the best thing that has happened since you have become an MVP?
I’ve seen my website, codeproject.com, become more successful than I ever could have hoped.
11. What is your motto?
Never give up.
12. Who is your hero?
Cheesy as it sounds, My Dad. He taught me that it’s OK to make mistakes, that you can achieve anything you put your mind to, and that just sitting down and talking to people can do amazing things.
13. What does success mean to you?
Being happy, being satisfied that I did my best and achieved what I set out to do. Coming out of it all in one piece. I’d have to be honest and also say that success for me would have to include leaving my mark on the World.
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August 23, 2007: MVP Insider - Q&A with Ken Cox (Visual Developer - ASP/ASP.NET) September 6, 2007: