Visual Studio Turns 10
Being the father of a 10-year-old son, I know a thing or two about the frustrations,
joys and pride that come from a decade of parental toil. So I think I might
have some clue how Prashant Sridharan, senior product manager for Visual Studio
at Microsoft, felt on Tuesday, when he gave a keynote
speech about Visual Studio at the VSLive! conference
in San Francisco. I
spoke to him soon after that speech.
"I've been around all 10 years -- I started out as a peon," he recalled.
"Ten years ago the idea was let's build one unified environment for all
developers. Let's build one integrated environment that would enable you to
share services across your projects and your language types, et cetera."
What started with Visual Studio 97 as a decidedly kludgy solution (he describes
languages like J++ and Visual InterDev being "sort of glommed on")
has grown remarkably in 10 years. Today, Visual Studio is a well-integrated
and expansive tool that allows for powerful plug-ins, rich features and guidance,
and increasingly comprehensive language support, as witnessed through the emergence
of Visual Studio tools for Ruby, PHP and other dynamic languages.
Of course, a lot of effort lately has been expended in stretching Visual Studio
both out and up. Various Team System flavors of Visual Studio have helped rope
in critical project tracking and management activities. And recent extensions
to the brand -- like Visual Studio Tools for Office and Visual Studio Tools
for Applications -- are bringing the development interface to new classes of
What's next for Visual Studio? Obviously Orcas, which should finally pay off
on the foundational promise of .NET Framework 3.0 when the new IDE emerges late
this year or early next. Orcas remains months away, but like a parent who worries
about his 10-year-old's college prospects, I couldn't resist asking Sridharan
"I don't even presume to know of programmer productivity level -- Anders
Hejlsberg productivity level -- that is going to happen. But I can trace the
meta trends of the industry," Sridharan said. "Larger and larger software
teams, and larger and more complex products will come out. More geographically
dispersed development teams. More complex projects. I look at the size and scope
and complexity of teams, and it is going to create a lot of problems in the
software development process."
Did you use Visual Studio during its early years? We'd love to hear how Microsoft's
IDE has evolved in the past decade. E-mail me with your takes at email@example.com.
Posted by Michael Desmond on 03/28/2007 at 1:15 PM