Welcome to Pete Brown's 10rem.net

First time here? If you are a developer or are interested in Microsoft tools and technology, please consider subscribing to the latest posts.

You may also be interested in my blog archives, the articles section, or some of my lab projects such as the C64 emulator written in Silverlight.

(hide this)

My new role at Microsoft

Pete Brown - 22 May 2012

This past Monday (May 14th), I officially started a new role at Microsoft. I like to be as transparent as possible, so I thought I'd share with you all the details of this role as well as where I was before I moved to it.


XAML. Windows. Developers. 'nuf said.

A little (optional) history

I've been working for Microsoft for a bit over two and a half years now. In that time, I've learned that the old cliché about the only constant being change is more true for Microsoft than just about any other place I've seen. Mixing up teams, offices etc. from time to time helps make the orgs more efficient, and injects new ideas into groups.

When I was hired by Scott Hanselman in fall 2009, my primary focus was to create a lot of content for WindowsClient.net and Silverlight.net, as well as my blog. In addition to Scott, the team I joined included Tim Heuer, Rey Bango, Joe Stagner, Jesse Liberty and Jon Galloway. A few months later, Tim Heuer fulfilled a personal dream and moved to the one of the product teams. Ten months after I joined, Scott moved to the Web team, and Rey Bango moved to another org to focus on some initiatives that he had been leading. Some of this was due to the reorg that created the brand new organization (with all brand new leadership) my team was moved to.

The people I worked with and for in that org were awesome. I've enjoyed that role, and particularly enjoyed working closely with patterns & practices, MSDN, and more.

When Scott moved to the web team, I was given the lead of the Community Team which by then included me, Jesse Liberty, Jon Galloway, and Joe Stagner. We accomplished some really great things, but at the same time, found ourselves focusing on tasks and priorities which didn't quite fit the emerging mission, or in some cases the capabilities, of our new org. Joe and Jesse moved on for their own reasons, and are both now doing awesome stuff. Jon and I stayed in the org, but a team of two is hard to keep effective and impactful, despite excellent management support and an org full of passionate and interesting people.

Jon and I agreed that he should pursue his interests and move to the Azure/Web evangelism team, a move that really fit what he wanted to do, and does best. Jon is an awesome guy, and I really enjoyed having him work for me. We continue to work together of course; the only big change for us with his move is that I no longer need to approve his expense reports (yay!). I was certainly able to stay where I was, but once I was sure Jon was well-settled, and I no longer had any direct reports, I was free to pursue something I was truly excited about.


My interests and passions

I love working with XAML. Most of you have probably figured that out. It's not my only interest by far, but it is a strong one. My technical passions, in no particular order are:

  • Client application development, primarily on Windows (I don't own a Mac, and it's been around 12 years since I last ran a Linux box)
  • Open source hardware (and general maker / electronics / CNC / 3d Printing and more)
  • Open source software
  • User experience and (to my limited ability) graphics design

I especially enjoy writing and speaking about C# + XAML, although I'm starting to dabble in C++ + XAML (say that out loud) as well. I've always liked working with Silverlight and WPF, and the communities of people building awesome stuff using them. Lately, I've been working a lot more with Windows 8 as well. I'm really excited about what I see coming for Windows, and for Windows 8 devices like tablets/slates. In fact, some time ago, I committed to creating a Windows 8 XAML book with Manning (the first MEAP chapters will be out very soon - promise!).

I enjoy building applications and gadgets. I also love speaking to developers, and wanted to speak more at larger events. I like helping to represent the product teams at Microsoft, as I've done for Silverlight and WPF. I wanted to join an org where I can work with the technologies I love, the communities I know and respect, and one which would allow me to continue the personal policies of honesty, openness, transparency, clarity, and authenticity that were so important when working in Hanselman's (and later my) team.image

The new role

To that end, I've taken a very cool role working for Giorgio Sardo as a corporate Technical Evangelist on the Windows Platform Evangelism team, focusing on XAML. (This is the current incarnation of the team John Papa was on and that Brian Keller, Jaime Rodriguez, and Giorgio Sardo, among others, are currently on.) I will continue to be a remote employee, working out of my house near Annapolis, MD (between Baltimore, Washington and the Chesapeake Bay). I will also continue working with the Silverlight and WPF community, but will add to that a much larger focus on Windows 8 XAML going forward, and possibly some phone work too. Metro style apps have huge potential both short term and long term in all areas of client development from consumers to line of business. I want to be a part of their success, part of your success.

Among the many things I'm going to try to accomplish are to help find ways, for those who want to, to make it easier for today's XAML developers to prepare for and migrate apps to WinRT XAML if appropriate for their application. No forcing. You use the technology that best meets your business and application goals and requirements. I'll continue to do this in a wide-reaching way through events, articles, toolkits, samples, books, twitter, blogs and much more, and also add to that working much more closely with people in the field, folks in the community, and with some individual customers.

During my interviews, I made it very clear that I am a horrible sales person. Gladly, that's not this role. Some community folks I speak with consider evangelism synonymous with sales, but like so many roles at Microsoft, the role is really what you make of it as an individual. The team I'm part of is full of high-integrity individuals who all believe in the same things I do. During the day of interviews, the ideas I proposed, ideas that I believe many of you will find match with or support your own goals, were received with enthusiasm and excitement.

I'm really happy to continue with XAML, and to continue working with the community, now with more Metro. My first task? Helping to build a cool and relevant keynote demo. EXACTLY the type of thing I've wanted to do for a long time :)

In addition to that, last week I had VSLive NYC where I had three sessions covering Silverlight, WPF, and Windows 8, a Saturday code camp session in Philly on Windows 8 XAML, and coming up in June, a Tech Ed session on WPF 4.5. Oh, and in August I'll be speaking at thatConference on Windows 8 for Silverlight and WPF devs, and also on open source hardware, and again at VSLive on WPF and Windows 8 XAML. You can see that I have quite a mix there, with good representation from all the client members of the XAML family.

And, of course, I will continue with my NETMF and gadget work. That's always been as much a personal passion as anything. I often find a way to work it in with my primary focus, and will be doing that here for sure.


FAQ (or at least the Qs I think will be F)

Forgive me if any of these are pretentious. I've jut made a best guess as to the questions you may have.

Q: Are you abandoning Silverlight / WPF?

A: Nope. Those technologies are just as important now as ever. Silverlight 5 was an exciting and huge release. WPF 4.5 is an equally interesting release. I will focus more on XAML in general and Windows 8 in particular, but I'm keeping my fingers in all the pots. My Silverlight 5 book should be back from the printers any day now, so you can enjoy all 1000 printed pages (and 200-300 downloadable pages) as well. I also have Silverlight and WPF sessions at upcoming conferences, and as long as folks keep showing up to learn, and I have something new to teach, I'll keep teaching.

Q: Are you going to focus exclusively on Windows 8 XAML

A: Not exclusively, but I will certainly focus more time and energy in that area. It's new. It's exciting, and I think it's going to be a big deal for every developer. See my list of events above for the current mix of sessions I'm doing, for example.

Q: What about your NETMF/Gadgeteer Stuff?

A: I'll still work on that, as I really enjoy it. It was always a hobby and will continue to be one. Also, I'm always looking for ways to sneak it into other technology demos. :)

Q: What happened to your Silverlight 5 book?

A: I wrote WAY too much, so it took forever to edit and print. It's out any day now. The delay is completely my fault.

Q: What is your next book?

A: Windows 8 XAML, of course. I've had this one in progress for quite some time, but the burden of editing 1300 pages of my SL5 book caused a bit of a delay :). Expect to see the MEAP soon, hopefully in time for our June Windows release. The next book will be, by Manning's insistence, much shorter but equally as useful :)

Q: Are you moving to Redmond?

A: Nope. I am very proud to be the first remote worker in this team at Microsoft. Working remotely sometimes limits the things you can do at Microsoft, but I'm really glad this org not only looked past that, but embraced it as a strength. Besides, working on the east coast lets me be a nightowl at home, but still appear to be a morning person to those in Redmond ;)

Q: Why Windows 8 XAML as a primary focus?

A: I'm a super ADD person, just ask my wife. (Squirrel!!) I need new and exciting things to keep me going. They also need to be new things that I'm genuinely excited about, and which I think will be a benefit to the community of developers. Metro and WinRT + XAML + .NET 4.5 definitely fits that criteria. I'm even excited about the HTML/JS side of Windows 8 Metro, but I have close to zero skills there currently.

Q: Why the corporate/platform evangelism team?

A: This is the team that builds the customer connections, creates the keynote demos, generally has earliest and best access to cool stuff, and has a bunch of very cool people I respect. It also helps that they wanted me to join :)

Q: Will you continue to help run the Silverlight and WPF/Client App Dev MVP programs

A: Yes, in the same capacity as today.

Q: Metro all the things?

YES :)


(Robot minifig photo source.)

posted by Pete Brown on Tuesday, May 22, 2012
filed under:            

13 comments for “My new role at Microsoft”

  1. Joesays:
    Great news, congrats.

    Maybe you could answer Long's question as a starter :-)
  2. Chris Marisicsays:
    Great to see a post like this from someone who's title is actually "corporate Technical Evangelist on the Windows Platform Evangelism team"

    I've been trying to tell people for months that Silverlight is not dead, Microsoft is not abandoning .NET, the sky IS NOT FALLING.
  3. Petesays:

    My title is actually "Sr. Technical Evangelist", but yeah :)

    Nothing ever really dies. Use what works for you and meets your applications goals. I personally believe that, for many, the long term future will be with either HTML/JS or XAML/C#/VB/C++/DirectX metro apps, which is why I'm getting into that in particular. I love that we even expanded XAML so it's part of the OS, and can also be used in C++, and combined with DirectX.


    Thanks. Awesome. See you there!


    We don't have any info on the servicing model yet. It's a common question (and one I have myself). The people in Windows are smart, though, so I would expect to see a good solution come out of there.

  4. Davesays:
    I believe Windows 8 is Great, but I'm an application developer in an enterprise.
    our company use silverlight and wpf.
    Recently, after the news that windows 8 metro didn't support silverlight, Our Big Team was shocked,
    We think metro xaml must be good, but we cannot use it in enterprise, right?
    When will metro can be used in enterprise programming?
  5. Petesays:

    We're still working on guidance and support in that area. However, it certainly can be used in the enterprise. In fact, that are enterprise features built in like authentication, and the ability (within enterprises) to side-load applications. It's really going to depend upon when your company adopts Windows 8. For many, I suspect it will be for field tablet apps first, but my crystal ball is foggy :)

    Enterprise is definitely in mind:

    "Domain joined PCs and tablets running Windows 8 Enterprise will automatically be enabled to side-load internal, Windows 8 Metro style apps."

    Whether or not Metro is appropriate for your applications really depends upon the application, workflow, feature set etc.

    Windows 8 Metro XAML looks a *lot* like Silverlight. The browser in Metro doesn't support any plug-ins at all, which is probably what you heard about. On the desktop side on x86/64, you can continue to use Silverlight/WPF etc. as you do today.


    Thanks :)

  6. Thomas De Wulfsays:
    If the intention (also) was the ability to port Silverlight apps to Windows 8 then why is the data entry validation INotifyDataErrorInfo interface missing? I think client validation is very important for an enterprise app! So sad to not see it included in current WinRT dev...

    But congratulations on the new job! :)

    Kind regards,
  7. Thomassays:
    Hi Pete,

    congrats on the job change. I think XAML is great for building Metro-Apps. I´ve also played around with the HTML5-stuff, but hey, no Silverlight-/WPF-developer will choose the HTML-way. ;-)

    I´m going to write also another book in German about Windows 8 Metro-Apps with XAML and C#.

  8. MEKsays:
    Gongrats with you new job Pete you were good at your old one so they are lucky to have you.

    Will someone be taking over some of your old tasks?
    I am asking because I can see that the WPF feature suggestion site that you started 2 years ago is no more ( http://dotnet.uservoice.com/forums/40583-wpf-feature-suggestions )?
    Is this because you do not have time for this kind of work anymore or because there was no use for that site anymore?

    If there is someone else you think us WPF/Silverlight developers should pay attention to (e.g. blog, twitter) please provide links (only if some specific person will be replacing you, a full blog list is not needed :-) ).
  9. Petesays:

    I'm still working with those product teams and products. Uservoice is typically only used early in the planning process for a release. We'll evaluate using uservoice again when we do planning. Right now, everyone is heads down on making sure our upcoming big releases are out and solid.

Comment on this Post

Remember me