My first professional software gig was in 1983, working for Hewlett-Packard on software for the HP 150 Touch Screen computer.  The software was called “Charting Gallery” and was developed in Pascal on an HP 3000 and cross-compiled for the HP 150.  I was an intern at the time and had so much fun working at HP that I did another internship in 1984 and finally signed on full time in 1985.  During my career at HP I got to meet both Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard.  Bill Hewlett was an engineer first, last and always. He was really cool.


I left California and HP in 1991, moved to Seattle and joined a start up called Axon Corporation.  In 1992 Axon changed its name to Shapeware and shipped Visio 1.0.  Thankfully, the Shapeware name didn’t last long.  At the time my title was “Senior Software Development Engineer”.  In reality I was the most junior developer in the company (which totaled 8 employees when I joined). It goes without saying that I really learned a ton from the rest of the Visio development team.  Working at Visio from start-up, through IPO and eventually acquisition by Microsoft was a wild ride that I will always treasure. 


I joined Microsoft in January of 2000 along with the rest of the Visio development team.  I stayed with the Visio group through one major service pack (newly branded Microsoft Visio 2000 SR-1) and one major new version (Microsoft Visio 2002), before moving over to the Developer Division to take the reigns of the Longhorn SDK Team in fall of 2002.


Why am I blogging?


I want to talk about SDK’s, especially the Longhorn SDK.   SDK’s are like air. If they are good, we don’t notice them all around us while we develop our apps.  If they are bad, then we then we can’t get our work done and they really stink up the place. 


We ship SDK’s integrated with Visual Studio and standalone for download.  Thousands of downloads of the .NET SDK happen every month.  Many of the folks who download, have told us they also use VS (which includes the .NET SDK already).  I’d like to better understand the usage of the stand-alone SDKs.


I hope to keep folks updated on the progress we’re making developing the LHSDK.  You’ll hear about our struggles and successes.  Check us out here:


I also want to talk about what it’s like to be an ISV.  I was a Microsoft ISV for more than 15 years.  It had its ups and downs.  Kinda like chasing a tiger by the tail…


What would you like to hear about?


Let me know if there are any other topics you’d like to hear about.  I’ll do my best to address as many as I can.