Sweet, the post about the IE job has been up for two hours, and already the blogsphere is making it clear why it will be a great challenge to tackle.
Do we need a strong evangelist, or what?
We were pretty quiet about IE for a while. A long while. We're starting the process of making up for that long, dark teatime of the soul. The IE team is blogging. There's a developer center, and a community home. But still, we have a lot of work to do to win back the respect of the community. How's that for a challenging job!
I'm not on the IE team, but I spent the first 4 years of my career at Microsoft doing development work on projects that delivered their user interface via IE. Here's what I remember as the "principle" of IE, to use David's words: Empower developers, and make it possible for devs to build great user experiences.
I have no idea if that's what the marketing guys would say is the soul of IE, or even the dev team -- I'm sure there are loads of IE team members who worked on the end-user browsing features who'd say user experience is the soul of IE. But, as a dev, I loved that IE was focused on helping me. Is it too bold to assert that a significant amount of the programmability we find in web browsers today was driven from IE's soul as a developer platform? Here's what I remember fondly from the time in the late 90's when I was working with IE:
Of course this is all sort of ancient history by now. The challenge for the IEvangelist will be to reconnect with what the soul of the IE team is these days, and make that visible, accessible and understandable to the rest of the world. James asks a great question -- what promise is there that the IE team actually has a set of principles and will stick to them for years to come? If you interview for the job, I will make sure you get to talk to senior folks in IE land. You can ask them that question yourself, and decide for yourself how much credibility they have. And you can challenge them -- as evangelist, you are a voice for the community inside MS, your job is to understand what the community needs to succeed, and convincing the product team to make it happen.
If this is the kind of challenge that gets you excited, you know where to go ;)
[updated: minor edit, and added a new category tag]