Monday, January 16, 2006

Old friends

Last Friday, I went back and had lunch with my old friends Adam and Umut, who basically own MSXML. It was great to be back (although the cafeterias still suck), and catch up. A lot has been going on with the XML team, and while I may have left, I still want the best for that team. They have a lot to do with the success of XML at Microsoft.

Not that I'm in any mood to run back. I left Microsoft for many reasons, and a little nostalgia is just that. It did remind me of one of Microsoft's greatest assets: it's people. There are some just amazing people there. 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.

If you haven't tried it, definitely try out the XML editor in VS 2005. I used it daily. The XSD integration is my favorite feature, hands down. Load a document and its schema, then go to any element in the document, position the cursor on the tag-name, and select 'Go To Definition' from the context menu. You can even use that to navigate around the schema, following links through type references, etc. I don't use it as much, but the XSLT debugger is another amazingly useful feature, for when you can't quite figure out why your XSLT output isn't quite what you were expecting. With so many tools outputting XML reports, I use XSLT all the time to reformat the reports for import into Excel, or to just pivot the results for easier casual analysis. The XSLT debugger can be a huge time-saver.

The Webdata-XML team is hiring, by the way: go to the Microsoft career site and search with the keyword 'Webdata'. Some of their version-next plans are gonna rock. This is a chance to be part of a team that is 'at the center of the Universe!' (as William used to say...).


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