Shameless Plug

I work in Redmond on what used to be called the Visual Studio Platform (VSP) during the development of Visual Studio 2010. We are referred to as the platform, as we provide the common set of APIs and services inside Visual Studio that allow other developers to create great editors, designers, language experiences, etc. that provide developers an awesome RAD development environment.

As a result of working at the center of the Visual Studio universe, I am blessed to work with the finest, brightest, fun, and passionate software architects, designers, developers, testers, and program managers on the planet. Yes, really. J

And they have so many incredible ideas and such drive that they continue to give when common mortals would go home and just watch the Stanley Cup (go Vancouver!). When I first got to Microsoft, a great dev lead told me that "we only work half days here, what you do with the other 12 hours is your business."

But, these folks, they just seem to be an endless pool of energy. Even when we know that there is only so much that we can do in a given release, they stay late, fix one more bug, close one more issue. Do they go home then?

Nope. Instead they work on features and ideas that we did not have time to fully flush out and test. The things that we wanted to provide to our customers, but just could not fit into the schedule.

I wanted to cite a couple of instances of this type of work.

First, if you know about MSBuild, then you know what a cool build system we have. But, when a poll was taken quite some time back on the MSBuild Blog, users replied that they wanted an MSBuild debugger. Early in Visual Studio 2010, we realized that there was no way, with all of the features that we needed to push out the door, that we could also build and test the MSBuild debugger. But, Dan, one of the developers of MSBuild, took his off time and wrote a debugger for MSBuild, and integrated it into Visual Studio. Now, if you read our press release, you would never see this feature listed. In fact, the feature is kind of hidden. We had to do this because what we ship has to go through rigorous testing. And while the development work was done, the testing work simply could not be done. So, this feature silently shipped in the product in a "silent" state. If you want to use it, here are some articles from the author that will tell you all about it.

Second, there are so many features that are really just simple things that help you, our customers, with your day to day jobs. And, they make the Visual Studio experience that much better. Well, and this was a team effort, a bunch of the developers and testers throughout Visual Studio go together and built a bunch of power tools for Visual Studio 2010. They are called the Pro Power Tools, and are available from the Extension Manager (a new feature available in the Tools menu of Visual Studio 2010). Check them out.

Thanks for support Visual Studio!