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What Developers Can Expect from Microsoft

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In order to stay competitive with Oracle and IBM in the development tools arena, Microsoft has plans to invest and continue investing in several key areas for the future of development.  Microsoft plans to stay on top of the many choices developers will have in the future for streamlining production and accelerating deployment.  Dr. S. Somasegar, a senior VP of the Microsoft Developer Division, recently blogged about the key programming styles and technologies that Microsoft will be focusing on in the days ahead.

The Web Platform

Somasegar realizes that the web is increasingly becoming an open platform for the development of widely deployable applications.  The browser is more than just a web rendering program.  It has become a rich application runtime environment that allows you to easily access millions of programs.  Somasegar mentions Silverlight as a way for developers to build immersive applications and "break free" from HTML:  "JavaScript libraries allow web developers to get more done with JavaScript than ever before while reaching a wide audience, and immersive internet applications, such as those written for Silverlight, allow developers to break free of the limitations of HTML and take advantage of a range of resources and features while guaranteeing compatibility across platforms."  Supporters of HTML5 would probably have a few disagreements with those statements.

Cloud Computing
Cloud Computing was another topic Somasegar covered.  He says the cloud is a great equalizer for small companies that want to compete against larger organizations without a lot of hardware management overhead.  Services such as Windows Live Office and Xbox Live are already running on the Azure cloud.  Somasegar says that Microsoft is focused on making tools that will allow developers to build software that deploys and performs well in virtualized environments like the cloud.  Microsoft is also focused on building and enhancing cloud tools for distributed development teams (e.g. distributed code reviews, remote paired programming, developer/tester collaboration, and resource sharing).

Parallel Computing
Somasegar says that the rate of CPU enhancement has fulfilled Moore's Law: "the prediction that CPU performance would double every eighteen months, is now fulfilled by adding more processor cores rather than by increased performance of a single core, bringing the power of multi-core processing to low-end machines."  Despite the wide adoption of multi-core processors, Somasegar says that only, "a small handful of programmers have the skills to write code that performs well in multi-core and many-core environments.  In the future, parallel libraries, debugging, profiling, and diagnostic tools will enable more developers to take advantage of parallel computing resources." One comment mentioned that Somasegar's interpretation of Moore's Law is incorrect.  Microsoft's Concurrency Runtime is one effort that the company is currently working on related to parallel programming.

Device Proliferation
With the massive consumer market for mobile devices, Somasegar says that Microsoft will put a great deal of effort into evolving user interface software to harness speech, camera, and touch-pad technologies.  He mentions that Windows 7, Silverlight, WPF, and MFC have all embraced these paradigms and says that Microsoft will continue to innovate in this domain: "I expect user interface paradigms to continue to evolve and become more intuitive and powerful."

Somasegar indicates that Microsoft is making plans to become a bigger player in the Agile space.  Visual Studio 2010, which arrives in April, will support agile processes such as iteration planning and unit testing.  Microsoft also plans to expand its support for different agile methodologies.  


Gregory Strockbine replied on Thu, 2010/02/25 - 12:20pm

Is this an ad? With the amount of profits MS made last quarter they don't need free advertising. After having worked on the Sun platform for over 20 years using emacs to develop an application that runs on vxworks I recently took a job using the winXP platform to develop an application that runs on vxworks. Three IDEs were provided for us: Eclipse, Netbeans and Visual Studio. I decided to learn both Visual Studio and Netbeans. I was surprised to discover that I much prefer Netbeans over Visual Studio. I'm stunned. Over the years I have heard nothing but praises for Visual Studio, now, I can't stand using it. We are using VS 2008. I keep thinking we bought the "home" version and not the "pro" or "ultimate" version and that is why VS is so bad. By the way, a mixed development environment of cygwin and winXP blows. It is a hack. Its buggy and clunky. The Sun platform feels like it is for grownups and the winXP platform is for hobbyists. Everywhere in winXP I keep bumping into little things that remind me that this is the OS my mother-in-law uses to send her internet jokes and "surf" the web. Did you ever find that you can't rename a file because the resource is busy and so you close every open application and that doesn't do it. Then you have to log out and if you are lucky, that will work, else you have to reboot. A friend told me that is just a quirk and all OS' have them. That's not a quirk, that is stupid.

Dean Del Ponte replied on Thu, 2010/02/25 - 1:02pm

I'd have to agree with gstrock. I've used Visual Studio, Eclipse, NetBeans, IntelliJ, etc., etc. I find Visual Studio to be the worst of all IDEs I've used. I find those who praise VS most often have not worked with an IDE outside of the Microsoft ecosystem.

Joshua Sanderson replied on Thu, 2010/02/25 - 1:37pm

I also agree with gstrock. I've just recently entered an engagement where I have to use VS2008 after having not used VS seriously for at least four years or so.  I'm constantly reminded of things I've been taking for granted in Eclipse/Intellij/NetBeans.  Having the 3rd party ReSharper component installed helps. Without it, there would be no comparison.  I think what suprises/bugs me the most though, is that many operations in VS seem to block the main UI thread.  There is no indication that it's doing just freezes.  It'll be interesting to see if the rewrite of the UI in VS2010 is better.

Mark Haniford replied on Thu, 2010/02/25 - 1:44pm in response to: Dean Del Ponte

I've worked with all of those IDEs. Visual Studio with the resharper plugin is on par, if doesn't exceed them all just for the mere fact that you get to program in C# 3.0 and not Java.

Eclipse has all sorts of plugin hell and usability issues. Netbeans is better, but you don't get the breadth of plugins.

Mark Haniford replied on Thu, 2010/02/25 - 1:46pm in response to: Gregory Strockbine

Is this an ad? With the amount of profits MS made last quarter they don't need free advertising.
Maybe you missed it, but this is .NET Zone and not Javalobby or "Random OS fanboy lobby"

Philippe Lhoste replied on Mon, 2010/03/08 - 11:10am

Maybe you missed it, but this is .NET Zone and not Javalobby or "Random OS fanboy lobby"

 I missed that too, maybe because I received the article in my RSS reader as:

What Developers Can Expect from Microsoft
| Share |(no tags)25/02/2010 17:39|mitchp|Web Builder Zone - Web design, css, html, usability & a touch of Ajax

 BTW, that kind of cross-zones feeds can get annoying, being subscribed to several feeds (CSS, PHP, Java zones) I receive lot of duplicates (particularly the Daily Doses).

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