A View from Elsewhere

John Montgomery's Weblog

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  • Blog Post: "VS 2008 SP1 Doesn't Patch VS Express"

    A customer noted yesterday that the patch for "big VS" (that is, Visual Studio 2008 Standard, Professional, and Visual Studio Team Suite) doesn't patch Visual Studio Express . We did this because of the patch size: in the past Express customers would download one of the Express products (probably...
  • Blog Post: VS 2008 Beta 2 Express Editions

    Available now along with the Coding4Fun Developer Kit . We've upgraded the Popfly team to using VSTS 2008 beta 2 as well. Technorati Tags: Visual Studio , Express
  • Blog Post: Welcome to Popfly

    Today (that'd be Friday) we're announcing Microsoft Popfly(tm) , which is the project my team has been working on. It's a simple, web-based tool that makes it easy to create mashups, web pages, and so on. We also have a Visual Studio 2005 package that enables you to connect VS to Popfly. This is a...
  • Blog Post: WPF Patches for VC# and VB Express Orcas Ready

    Updated Thanks for waiting: the patch that will enable VB Express and VC# Express April CTP to create WPF applications is available. VC# Express: http://download.microsoft.com/download/8/2/6/8267fa5a-e725-4bb8-850a-2f5fee4702db/OrcasVCSAprilCTPWPFPatch.EXE VB Express: http://download.microsoft...
  • Blog Post: Visual Studio Express Orcas Available

    The first Community Technology Preview of all four Visual Studio Express "Orcas" products are available for download now. You can go to Channel 9 to see Soma's video , or just go to http://msdn.microsoft.com/vstudio/express/future to download and install. I’m incredibly interested in your feedback on...
  • Blog Post: RTB Finished

    One of the meetings that our division inflicts regularly schedules is called "running the business" (formerly they were called "rhythm of the business" but I think someone noticed that we don't got rhythm). Our team had its RTB meeting today. It went well, with Adam Nathan delivering a stellar demo and...
  • Blog Post: US Imagine Cup: Not Just Algorithms

    One of the largest challenges facing CS students is the transition from being a CS student to writing production code in a work environment for a living. Historically programming challenges have focused more on CS-student-oriented work, but this year the Imagine Cup in the US is broadening out. Students...
  • Blog Post: Job Descriptions

    I’ve found that writing job descriptions is harder than I thought. In particular, it’s harder because I’m writing for so many audiences: for the internal developers and PMs who might be interested, the external folks, for other managers, and so on. Here’s one. What would make it better? Software...
  • Blog Post: NPT Team Charter

    After about four months of working through some hard problems, I’ve begun to center our team on a few core work areas. Based a lot on the feedback you gave me through this blog, I narrowed it to three work areas: We’re going to start by building on the momentum of the current Visual Studio Express...
  • Blog Post: Non-Pro Tools Team PUM

    We have a PUM. Paramesh Vaidyanathan who ran the India Developer Center for Developer Division – a team of something like 100 people – has decided he wants to come back to the US to run the Non-Professional Tools Team (NPT – our team). I’m incredibly excited. I’ve worked with Paramesh before as his...
  • Blog Post: What We’re Doing: Cool Tools

    While I’ve been running around creating PPTs and sending email, Adam has been working on a prototype development experience that’s designed to take someone with no knowledge of code through to creating simple Web sites with HTML and Javascript or VBscript, teaching them along the way about things like...
  • Blog Post: Adam Nathan Joins Non-Pro Tools Team

    We have our first developer. Adam Nathan has joined us. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because he’s the soul behind Pinvoke.net , a community site dedicated to getting good coverage of .NET’s Pinvoke functionality (which he largely wrote). I knew Adam was the right guy when, on the weekend between...
  • Blog Post: We Have a Name: NPT

    We still need a name for the team. Since none of the ideas we came up with previously seemed to pass the internal sniff test (go figure), I decided that I’d opt for naming it descriptively: the Non-Professional Tools Team, or NPT for short. We’re still working on tools for hobbyists and novices and...
  • Blog Post: After HTML and Javascript, C++

    Surprising factoid: after HTML and Javascript, C++ is the language most used by non-professional developers (including students, hobbyists, etc.). This based on some of our internal research over the past 4 years (statistically significant sample, but US-only). I would have expected VB or maybe a dynamic...
  • Blog Post: An Express Web Page Editor?

    Do we need a complement to Visual Web Developer Express (i.e. a free, simplified Web page editor) that is aimed at the HTML jockey? If so, what features should it have? The big question for me on this one is where a sitebuilder (the Web-based configuration utilities most hosters give you to select...
  • Blog Post: Multitargeting and Express

    When Visual Studio "Orcas" ships, we have a question we need to answer: which version(s) of the .NET Framework/WinFX should it target? Having a single tool that can target various runtimes has been something I've been a strong advocate of for years, but my experience with the Express products has softened...
  • Blog Post: Express "Orcas" Principles

    Building on my Principles for First-Use Tools , I'm thinking about Principles for Express. Express is a tougher job because its customer base spans so many people -- from professionals coding after hours to students to people who aren't developers using it to learn or to accomplish some task at work...
  • Blog Post: How Did You Learn to Program?

    How did you learn to program? Especially if you’re not a professional developer and never had been (I already have the data that says that something like 70% of professional developers got degrees in computer science or engineering). I’m wondering how you learned to program if you aren’t a pro. What...
  • Blog Post: Who's the Customer?

    Who is the target user for our non-professional tools? In order to make smarter decisions about what we build, we need to understand that the customer we’re building this product for doesn’t fit a single profile. Off the top of my head, I can think of five personas/stereotypes: “Jay,” the professional...
  • Blog Post: Principles for First-Use Tools

    Even as we’re working out the potential features for the next version of Visual Studio Express, we’re looking beyond that. Express has done an amazing job (5M downloads!) of getting development tools into the hands of many people. The feedback we’ve gotten has been amazing and satisfaction rates are...
  • Blog Post: Do Kids Still Program?

    A long thread on /. .
  • Blog Post: Software Enthusiast Scenario Fake Demo Script

    As a way to get my head around the whole scenario, I wrote up the entire scenario as a kind of very high-level demo script and tied each action back to an experience in a value proposition. How much of this gets into the product is a matter of costing, prioritization, and quality. If I can’t implement...
  • Blog Post: The Orcas Software Enthusiast Scenario Personas

    The scenario I’m working on is for the “software enthusiast” – think of this person as the person who isn’t a professional programmer but really enjoys coding for recreation. To make this scenario hold together, I needed to invent a couple of placeholder personas: Jay (after Jay Schmelzer on the VB team...
  • Blog Post: Scenario-Based Planning

    As you may or may not know, for Visual Studio "Orcas" planning we’re using a new process based on the concepts of scenarios, value propositions, experiences, and tasks. This system relies on the idea of a scenario – think of them as a very long, end-to-end keynote demo that we’d show to someone to show...
  • Blog Post: Visual Studio Express is Free

    Up until today, all of the Express products (VB Express, VC# Express, VC++ Express, VJ# Express, and VWD) were not free -- I believe they had a value of $49 associated with them. We were doing a promotional discount to "free" but the jury was out on how long the promotion would continue. Now we know...
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