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
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
- Open source hardware (and general maker / electronics / CNC /
3d Printing and more)
- Open source software
- User experience and (to my limited ability) graphics
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.
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
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
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
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?
(Robot minifig photo source.)