Microsoft Sheds Light on Open Source Developments

Microsoft's Jay Schmelzer described the current state of the developer group's open source efforts in Redmond at a Live! 360 Conference keynote.

Microsoft has fully embraced open source technologies, as evidenced by its work with Docker and Red Hat and partnerships with longtime rivals like Salesforce and Oracle. It's an embrace that carries over to how the company has been developing its own tools and services.

Jay Schmelzer, Microsoft's director of program management for the Visual Studio Team, described the company's major shift in thinking around .NET during his keynote talk at Live! 360 in Orlando last week.

"[There is a] changing perception of what .NET is all about," Schmelzer said. Most developers, he said, think of two things when they think of .NET -- Windows and Visual Studio.

"It's a great platform for building apps for Windows within Visual Studio, but you're being asked to develop for all platforms and OSes," he said. "The short way we say this is that .NET is no longer just about Windows. It's for any developer building any app targeting any device or OS."

Schmelzer argued that Microsoft's modern practices are becoming completely open and transparent, pointing out that openness isn't just about open source but also about being open in how Microsoft is working.

He illustrated the developer benefit with a video of a customer trying to extend what they're doing with Visual Studio and Team Foundation Server. Schmelzer dove into the details of investments Microsoft is making in the evolving Microsoft Visual Studio and .NET development platforms. "My favorite line from that video is, 'I get to write one piece of code and it runs everywhere. That makes me happy.' It makes me happy too," he said.

During a panel discussion at TechMentor, moderator and Redmond magazine contributor Jason Helmick urged the Windows-focused IT professional attendees to be more open to understanding business needs, developer needs and cross-platform needs.
"Developers and IT need to communicate and work together," Helmick said. "You have to be the one listening. You're not a Windows or a Linux guy. You're an IT guy. You can't isolate yourself in a technology. You can't understand one thing. You have to understand a system."

Four attendee panelists corroborated those sentiments, sharing tales of communication and compromise. One panelist shared his story of starting the process of moving his company to Office 365. After Helmick inquired as to his success, he simply stated, "We're getting there."

The point is truly arriving at an understanding and appreciation for technology's place in the business. "That's the next step beyond getting those services in place," said Helmick's co-moderator, Greg Shields, another longtime Redmond contributor. "When the technology actually starts to work. The hard part isn't installing it. It's using it."

In the SQL Server Live! keynote, Microsoft Developer Evangelist David Crook sounded the openness theme in a few ways. He began by reassuring the crowd that their feedback does indeed make a difference.

"How Microsoft thinks about its data platform and how we plan has a lot to do with the community," Crook said. "The data platform is driven by feedback data. The most important feature of the platform is you guys."

He also pointed out all the myriad data sources Microsoft is now including. "The data platform is continuously growing," Crook said, "with more ties into things like Hadoop, DocumentDB and MongoDB. We're including those sources in [the] data

Next year, the Live! 360 event returns to Loews Royal Pacific Resort in Orlando, Fla., from Dec. 5-9. For more information on the event, visit

About the Author

Lafe Low has been a technology editor and writer for more than 25 years. Most recently, he was the editor in chief of TechNet magazine. He has also held various editorial positions with Redmond magazine, CIO magazine and InfoWorld. He also launched his own magazine entitled Explore New England, and has published four editions of his guidebook The Best in Tent Camping: New England.

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