All good things…

As difficult as it is to say, I wanted to let my loyal readers know that after a decade spent working on Visual Basic, I’ve made the decision to change jobs at Microsoft.

It’s somewhat hard for even me to imagine just how long I’ve worked on Visual Basic. I joined the Developer Division (VB’s home) over 11.5 years ago to work on OLE Automation. A year and a half after that, I moved over to the VB team proper to work on the compiler’s code generator just as we started the move to what would become .NET. In some ways it seems like just yesterday, but in many other ways it feels like several lifetimes ago. In the intervening decade, I’ve worked on 4.1 versions of Visual Basic (including our forthcoming version), during which time an amazing amount of stuff has happened to the VB language, the VB community, Visual Studio, and development tools in general. The development world looks very different than it did when I started, and that’s generally been a wonderful thing.

But as the current release started to wind down from a design perspective, I started asking myself whether it was time for a change. And, after thinking about it quite a bit and talking to quite a few people, I decided that it was. As much fun as it has been to work on Visual Basic, I felt the need to be doing something different than what I’ve been doing. And so I made the decision that it was time to move on. Sort of.

You see, although the fact that I’m leaving is a big deal in some ways, it’s not as big a deal as you might expect. Even as I physically move to another team, in many ways I’m not really going anywhere. I’ll be carrying with me a title of “Visual Basic Language Designer Emeritus,” meaning that I will continue to participate in the VB language design process and will continue to work to ensure the VB language specification is kept complete and up to date (although I will no longer have primary authorship responsibilities). I’m also still planning to give the VB talk at the PDC in October and talking about all the exciting things we’ve done for the upcoming release plus some ideas about where things will be going in the more distant future.

As to my next challenge, well, there isn’t a whole lot I can say about that… yet. I’ve got some personal ideas rattling around in my head that I’m going to get some time to spend working on, but my day job is going to be working with guys like Douglas Purdy, Don Box and Chris Anderson on the Oslo product. In particular, I’m going to be helping out with the subject of this talk. Expect to hear more from me about it once we’ve gotten to the PDC.

Even though I’ll be spending a good bit of my time on Oslo, though, I’ll still going to be an active member of the VB community. I’ll still be talking about VB on this blog, opining on the language and it’s future, and, I’m sure, continuing to answer lots of questions. I’ll be continuing to use VB and am really excited where the product is going in this release and the next one (but more about that at the PDC!). Over time, I do expect my place in the VB community will fade somewhat as the new blood on the VB team really starts to come into its own, but for the time being things will continue to go along much as they have been. And, of course, VB will always have a special place in my heart.

This isn’t really goodbye but I did want to take the opportunity to thank all of the people out there who have used VB, who’ve read my blog, and who’ve written me or talked to me about VB. The VB community has been one of the major reasons that I have enjoyed working on VB so much (and for so long!), and every one of you have played a major role in that. There have certainly been controversies, disagreements, and blow ups, but I really think that VB has one of the finest user communities that I’ve ever participated in, and that I will be lucky if I work on products in the future that attract such a passionate, intelligent, and caring group of people. I can’t say how much I appreciate all the great times that everyone has given me over the years!

So, the blog will continue, I’ll still be talking about VB, and soon I’ll have some additional interesting and exciting things from my new job to talk about too. The next ten years should be just as fun as the previous ten have been!