I have been blasted by some of my own team members for writing the most boring blogs.  So much so, that one person commented that even changing the font colors will add a little more life to my blogs.  With this in mind, I gingerly step forward into making my notes here a little more lively (sans color). 

So, our commitments to TechEd 2005, India and Europe are complete.  All the people who participated are back, and we are now heads down, finishing up VS 2005.  Yes, we are on the home stretch.  It has been a long, hard road, but everything indicates that the light at the end of the tunnel is not from a speeding train bearing down on us.  The attendees beat the heat and humidity to flock to the various sessions across 5 cities in TechEd India.  We did have our fair share of bad luck - the power gave out at the Chennai session, almost towards the end, and there were some machine setup gaffes in our own backyard at Hyderabad.  But this did not deter the attendees - by the way, hats off to the attendees of the VSTS Hands-On lab at Hyderabad.  Despite the issues with not having the hardware configured for them to try out the labs, they were VERY patient.  The positive thing though, was that they were very enthused about the power and versatility that VS Team System offers to them.  Give the beta a whirl, and let me know what you think.

Both VJ# and the Java Language Conversion Assistant are pretty much done, save for the occasional corner case bug that is reported.  The team is putting its final touches on the products.  As you may have read on MSDN, in VS 2005, VJ# includes enhancements to the library, the language, the IDE, and significantly, there is a lot of enhanced content, to say the least.  The library includes a beefed up collections package to offer functionality equivalent to the JDK 1.2 level and support for inner exceptions.  The J# browser controls and the supplemental UI library have been integrated into the product.  J# applications can now be run in partial trust mode.   We have introduced an Object Test Bench that is intended to simplify debugging and testing of classes and methods within the Visual Studio project.   In the language itself, we have introduced support for authoring value types, for passing method parameters by reference, for authoring custom attributes, for authoring type safe enumerations and the capability to consume .NET generic types. And finally in Whidbey the J# compiler will automatically do seamless CLS compliance checking.  The Java Language Conversion Assistant in VS 2005 has been enhanced to support conversion of J2EE 1.3 and JDK 1.3 libraries as well as EJB, JAAS, JCE, JMS, JNDI, and RMI to C# and .NET.  There is deeper support for migrating Swing applications. 

And while all of this is going on, I have developed a new interest.  Solving Su DoKu puzzles.  Actually, I can better characterize myself and call out that this has become a craze for me.  Su DoKu has become a phenomenon in India, what with almost every newspaper publishing a puzzle every day.  I try to solve the puzzles in the Times of UK, as well.  They have some good ones, there.  I believe that the minimum number of populated entries for a 9*9 puzzle, to be able to solve it is 19.  Is this true? 

Back to work.  As part of our deliverables for Visual Studio Team System, we have created converters to move from existing source code control and work item tracking systems like Visual Source Safe and ClearQuest, to the VSTS source code and work item tracking systems.  The converter team is working furiously on improving the performance of the converters.  They have set themselves aggressive goals and going after them whole hog.  And there is Team Build!  This team started late, very late actually, and it is very heartening to see the progress.   

My team is also picking up responsibilities for complete ownership of VSD (stands for Visual Studio for Devices, not Visual SuDoku), post-VS 2005.  Towards this, a bunch of people are looking at and getting a sense of the vast space that this set of technologies spans. 

The planning work for the next version of VS is just starting.  There is a buzz of excitement around this.  We are talking to customers, trying to gather key requirements, and understanding their painpoints.  This is one of the most exciting phases of product development.  Most of this work is done by our Program Managers (more about Program Managers later).  They are currently looking ahead while also keeping a watchful eye on the VS 2005 train.  OK, I gotta get back to work.