Hello - this is Soumitra


This is Soumitra.  Thanks to Irwin for setting this up for the entire team.  This will be the main forum where we will communicate with our customers, MVP's, community influencers and anybody who cares about XML.  But let me first introduce myself because unlike Michael Champion, Dare Obasanjo, Mark Fussell and Michael Rys, I do need an introduction.

I am currently the Product Unit Manager of the Webdata - XML Team.  This is a new role for me at Microsoft.  I started with the team as an Architect in 2003.  I have been involved with XML since 1997.  In 1998, I co-founded a company to develop XML Data Management System called Xfinity for the financial services industry.  We developed a data management platform, a visual toolset named Xfinity Designer and transformation product called Xfinity Author that seamelessly generated XML from Word and Excel.  This was before Microsoft introduced InfoPath and Save As XML feature in the Office System,  In 2003 Omri Gazitt and Michael Rys convinced me to come join Microsoft so here I am.  Unfortunately for me, Omri left to start the AWS team by the time I started at Microsoft.

The most amazing thing for me at Microsoft is the quality and the talent of the people I work with and the sheer scope of our work.  I am still coming to terms with it.  The roadmap exercise that we launched is bringing all this into focus.  It is clear to me that the work the Webdata - XML team did for the last 6 to 7 years played a huge role in making XML the success it is today.  I know that some people think that the open source had a bigger role to play.  I do not want to start an argument on this as I have friends in that community who still thnik that I crossed over to the dark side.  But more impotantly, the work we do in the next 5-7 years will bring the benefits of this technology to  mainstream developers - of this I am certain.  So to be part of this team, is a huge honor and a responsibility.

Right now we are focussed on shipping V 2.0 of .NET Frameworks, SQL Server 2005 and VS 2005.  This will be the first time we will ship into VS and SQL Server Management Studio.  I am really excited about the work the tools team has done.  I would be really interested in your feedback.  With System.Xml in .NET, we expect to establish new standards for performance and ease of use in the managed framework.  Mark, Dare, Arpan and Joshua drove that work.  With XML datatype, XQuery, FOR XML Path and SQLXML, we will establish SQL Server as the best platform for XML data management.  Michael Rys, Shankar Pal, Irwin Dolobowsky and Adam Wiener had a lot to do with this. 

But a lot of work remains to be done.  Inspite of its success, XML still remains the realm of us geeks.  Our goal for the next releases will be to make it accessible to mainstream developers who find XSLT, XmlDocument etc. hard to use.  I believe this team is up to the challenge.  We will be sharing some of our ideas with you and asking for feedback.  You have not been shy before, and we do expect you to let us know (raise hell if you think we are being deaf) when you think we are plain wrong.  I look forward to a healthy and animated discussion here as new and existing members of our team, start joining this forum.

First and last, we cannot accomplish anything without great people.  I can see from your posts how much respect there is for Dare, Mark, Omri, William and others who have been part of this team.  All of them have moved on to bigger and better challenges but thankfully are still at Microsoft.  Most of them have moved up the stack and keeping an eye on us as customers.  One of my most important job today is to bring equally talented people into the team.  We have had some successes - Mike take a bow.  I hope with your help and the reach of this forum, we will be able to attract some exciting talent.  I am looking to all of you for help.  In the meantime, you will hear from some of our new members in the coming weeks.  While MikeC's reputation is hard to match (who can forget the first BillG presentation on XML), I can honestly say that we have been quite fortunate with our recent recruiting efforts.  When added on to the great team we already have, I think we will have plenty of intellectual horsepower to drive us forward.  You will also hear from team members like Arpan and Helena who have been with the team for a while.  Arpan is right across my door.  If we don't hear from him soon, I will be at his door everyday.

Look forward to an animated and lively debate.  Have a Happy Holiday season and see you all back in the New Year.