The title pretty much describes this post.  I had fully intended to work on a Smart Device application for VB last week, and post the walkthrough here.  VB is a great language for coding against devices, and there are a lot of cool things you can use a device for, so I was looking forward to a fun post on that this morning.  However, I ended up needing to dig into some administrative work last week, and so I must apologize for not getting to the coding.  I’m hoping that this current rush will wind down later this week, and I can refocus on a little app building.

The root cause of my personal administrative churn last week is simply that we’ve got a lot of exciting things going on right now!  We are now into the phase of the product that I like best; the phase that’s the most fun for me.  Some people like the design phase, others like the coding phase, but I personally dig the part where the features come together and we can see the scenarios start to work end-to-end.  I’m always amazed at how a bunch of separate features planned by different teams can play so well together by the first beta, but this particular beta has been specifically pleasing in that regard. 

Take a feature like Linq, for example.  The Linq features involve the C# team (both on the underlying DLinq DLLs and the C#-specific compiler & IDE Linq work), the VB team (both on the Compiler & IDE work as well as the designer work), and the XML team; the debugger teams are clearly impacted as well, as are any teams which produce products that support our languages such as the VS Tools for Office team and the Visual Web Designer team (among others).  The features have to install correctly, which involves the our setup team, and of course everything needs to work within the constraints of the .NET framework, the Core IDE, and SQL.  I’ve joked with some of our customers that Linq is “the feature that ate our lives,” and in a sense, it’s true:  it’s a lot of teams that have to keep their eyes on the prize for so many months to one degree or the other.  Despite this, the feature set feels very solid to me these days; a lot of great work has gone into the codebase, and the new engineering techniques & processes we’ve been using have been making a huge, positive, and noticeable impact . Getting all of the bits and pieces together for Beta 1 went so smoothly that it was almost eerie, thanks to the diligence of the teams involved. 

The features themselves are of course fun to play with.  VB is one of the larger teams in the division and thus my job of development manager is more “manager” than “development”--  I rarely get my hands into the actual coding these days, beyond architectural discussions and the odd bug fix or two.  I compensate by filling in the gaps in my schedule with trying out all of the new features.  Having gotten used to the stability and usefulness of those new features in my office, I find myself automatically searching for these features when programming for fun at home, thus experiencing that momentary let-down when I realize I don’t have them available to me at home yet!   Ah, it’s hard to be patient…

So, no fun tricks with VB2005 from me this week – I’ll try again next week.  But, in the interim, you should know that things are looking *really* good here for Orcas!  I hope you enjoy trying out Beta1...

--Matt--*