December 2009

Volume 24 Number 12

Editor’s Note - Shaping a New Era in MSDN Magazine

December 2009

Diego DagumI’m Diego Dagum, the new editorial director for MSDN Magazine. Because I’m new to the magazine, I’ll tell you a bit about myself before getting into the details of this month’s issue.

Developing software has always been a passion for me, since my teenage years when a new range of so-called home computers replaced the first wave of console games (these last mainly dominated by Atari). Home computers were also console games, but started coming with programming capabilities. There would typically be some BASIC dialect built-in, plus the possibility of getting alternative languages via cartridges like LOGO or Assembler.

That led to university training in computer science, with the goal of becoming a professional developer. Once graduated, I worked as a developer for different types of industries (from manufacturers to communications, from startups to large corporations and so on), having to learn not just the ways of the various platforms being used, but the tricks of the trade for each business. That helped me better match up the capabilities of technology with the need of businesses to “do more with less.”

When you’re able to analyze technologies not for what they are but for how much they help leverage business, you become an architect. That’s what I’ve been doing as editor of The Architecture Journal (a sister magazine) for a year and a half now; I’ll keep doing that job as well.

Back on the MSDN Magazine side, I’m working with our new editor in chief, Keith Ward, to make some changes to the magazine. A key goal of that is to better align our content with your needs as a developer. To that end, I’ve written a blog entry discussing that new focus at http://blogs.msdn.com/msdnmagazine/archive/2009/10/07/9904758.aspx.

To summarize here, there are five core areas we want to stress going forward:

  1. Architectural background for enterprise development
  2. More infrastructure awareness for a better understanding on what the platform already offers for security, health, scalability and so on
  3. Best practices to adopt, followed by worst practices to avoid
  4. Team consciousness, because the developer is just one in a series of stakeholders who play a role in the development process
  5. A stronger focus on the platforms and tools developers currently use, and less emphasis on the next new thing

We are also tweaking our content, which will have an effect on features and our column lineup. These changes will be incorporated incrementally, and we’ll be actively seeking your input, to help us shape the magazine to best serve your needs as active developers.

Regarding this issue, I want to highlight certain articles we are featuring:

  • Nikhil Sachdeva explains how Pex, a tool developed by Microsoft Research, can help you keep your legacy code from rotting by automatically producing small test suites with high code and assertion coverage.
  • Brian A. Randell and Marcel de Vries show us how to extend Visual Studio Team Explorer feature to add more level of interactions with Team Foundation Server.
  • Ayende Rahien explores best practices for desktop applications that use NHibernate for object/relational mapping.
  • Finally, David Laribee gives a particular look on the economics of software development, focusing on a way to turn down a high-costly maintenance codebase in favor of a more productive one.

I hope you enjoy this issue. Keith and I, together with our production team, will keep working on ways to improve MSDN Magazine. Tell us 
how we can make it even better by sending your comments to mmeditor@microsoft.com.