There's a lot of interesting stuff related to our team that has come out recently.  First, there is a new Technology Preview download available of Visual Basic 9, including the XLinq, XML literals, and late bound XML support.

Also, the XML 2005 conference proceedings are now online.  Our contributions include:

Erik Meijer et al.'s Overview of Visual Basic 9.0

Visual Basic 9.0 introduces several new language features to enhance Visual Basic's unique facility for static typing where possible, and dynamic typing where necessary. These new features are: Implicitly typed local variables, Query comprehensions, Object initializers, Anonymous types, Full integration with the Linq framework, Deep XML support, Relaxed delegates, Nullable types, Dynamic interfaces, and Dynamic identifiers

Erik Meijer and Brian Beckman's XML Programming Refactored: Return of the Monoids (slides)

Database and language researchers for the likes of Haskell , Scala , Python , Comega , long ago discovered that generic operations on collections are all instances of the concept of monoids or monads [Monads]. We propose in this paper that general-purpose languages should extend their query capabilities based on the theory and established practice of monads, allowing programmers to query any form of data, using a broad notion of collection. This proposal is in opposition to the common practice of inserting specialized sub-languages and APIs for querying XML one way, databases another way, and objects a third way. The LINQ project at Microsoft leads by example, providing basic monadic operations on collections of arbitrary origin, on top of which C# and Visual Basic programming languages have implemented generic query comprehension syntaxes on top of LINQ.

Ralf Lammel's Analysis of XML Schema Usage

XML schemas are measured through systematic algorithms, on the basis of the intrinsic feature model of the XSD language. Analyses for feature counts, idiosyncrasy counts, size metrics, complexity metrics, and XML schema styles are executed on a large corpus of real-world XML schemas.

Mike Champion's Integrating Messaging and Databases to Implement Service Architectures (slides)

The recent addition of powerful XML features to modern DBMS environments allows the ready use of schema languages to define message format expectations, XQuery to locate messages of interest, XSLT to translate them, and so on. When XML messaging is integrated with XML database engines, users get simplicity: one programming model, one product to install and manage, and a minimal set of operations to apply to generic XML data. They also get enterprise class features such as high scalability, reliable transaction processing, and high-end security. By keeping things simple and using standard XML and database metaphors wherever possible, the difficulties inherent using asynchronous queues and pipelines for inter-application communication are minimized.

Finally, I can't resist pointing to our former colleague Derek Denney-Brown's report of his lunch with old friends on our team.

I really loved working with that team, and it was full of people who I would be proud to call a friend, many of whom are also some of the best programmers (or PMs/Testers/etc...) I have ever worked with. If you want to work where the people really care about what they work on, and are kick-arse smart, Microsoft is still an absolutely great place to work. Hmm... did I mention that the XML team there is hiring? Looking to contribute to what is possibly the single most used XML stack in the world? Or how about the XML editor in the next release of Visual Studio. ...go to the Microsoft career site and search with the keyword 'Webdata'.

Mike Champion