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Conversation with Soma: VS2005 SP1 on Vista, Visual Studio Evolution, How to Become a VP

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We recently sat down to chat with Microsoft's Developer Division leader and Vice President, S. Somasegar (Everybody calls him Soma). We wanted to find out a few things about Visual Studio and life at Microsoft from a long time veteran and successful officer of the company who leads our developer tools division (Visual Studio, Programming Languages, Expression, ASP.NET, ATLAS, etc.....):

1) How, exactly, do you become a Vice President at Microsoft?
2) What's the deal with VS SP1 not working well on Vista?
3) How will VS evolve in Orcas?
4) What's our commitment to C++ developers going forward?
5) What keeps super successful Microsoft leaders at the company: Why not go on permanent vacation?

Tune in.

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  • thewizsterthewizster Life is Good Here in Big D...

    Soma is an interesting guy. I have watched other videos with him and they have been interesting. I liked hearing about his career path and how he got to where he is today. I like when an interview talks about that...

  • SecretSoftwareSecret​Software Code to live, but Live to code.
    Nice interview. Very Cool Indeed. Its really nice to see soma back in C9, and to update us about what is going on.

    Keep it up.
  • Soma,

    You mentioned the reason for Visual Studio 2005 compatibility issues was lack of admin privileges. I run as a normal user all the time in XP and I run Visual Studio 2003 and 2005. If I need to modify the system in some way, like install a service, I have to do it at the command line anyway. I just use runas in those cases.

    Are there any issues running Visual Studio 2005 in Vista as a standard user which do not exist in XP?

    Also, what kind of issues does Visual Studio 2003 have with Vista?

    About native C++ support, do you plan on putting WPF support into MFC? If not, is this exposed through COM or standard C calls?

    Thanks,
    Gary
  • odujoshodujosh Need Microsoft SUX now!
    Partially answer your question. One example of security problem I ran into:
    When Opening a WCF exposed service host using a basic binding it exceptions saying I do not have access rights to open a sevice on specified port. The same code works fine on a XP box. To run it I had to right click in Windows exployer and do 'run as admin'. Which means I can't do the 'Start new instance' from the solution exployer.

    I think this is an example of what he was eluding to when he said security is the issue. In my mind though its partially inconvient its a good problem to have.

    As far as unmanaged calls into WCF and the like I do not have that answer. I would assume in MCF yes, as you could just include System.ServiceModel.dll in your project.
  • Steve Teixeirastevetei Parallel Computing Platform

    "About native C++ support, do you plan on putting WPF support into MFC? If not, is this exposed through COM or standard C calls?"

    Gary,

    For the Visual Studio Orcas release, we are not planning to build new MFC plumbing to connect MFC and WPF.  However, WPF is built with HWND-interop in mind, so adding WPF pizzaz to your MFC UI isn't too difficult to do.  As an example, check out this demo build a while back by Nick Kramer: http://blogs.msdn.com/nickkramer/archive/2006/06/08/622695.aspx

    Thanks!

    Steve Teixeira
    Group Program Manager, VC++

  • arrgghhh, thewizster took the words right out of my mouth! (or, rather, the typed words out of my keyboard!)
     
    This interview with Soma is great and I've also watched other videos with him which I liked.  We're all on our own career journeys in some form or another, and I always enjoy hearing people's stories about how they got from "there to here." 

  • Charles, thanks a lot for again keeping us C++ developers in mind and talking about it in your interviews.

    With all the buzz around C# and managed code I really feel left out!
  • Sven GrootSven Groot Don't worry... I'm a doctor.
    I think the warning message about compatibility issues with limited users on VS2005 SP1 on Vista is really really really bad.

    If anyone has to run as limited users, it's developers. It's the only way people will every write apps that work for limited users.

    Besides, in my experience pretty much everything I do in VS works anyway as a regular user. I've been running VS as a limited user since VS6 and never had any problem. Sure I may need to use runas to register a COM component but so what? The biggest drawback was the need to reconfigure ASP.NET to run as yourself (instead of the ASPNET user) so you can debug it (only admins can debug a process run by another user), but with VS2005's development web server that's no longer an issue.

    It would be far, far better if you could give this warning whenever you actually try to do something that won't work, instead of at the beginning. This way you're just going to scare people into running VS2005 with elevated privileges all the time which is not desirable at all!

    Or at least change the wording of the warning to suggest it's still preferable to run with limited rights until you encounter something that doesn't work.
  • Is the list of VS 2005 SP1 issues on Vista a work in progress, or is there a link we can visit to see it in its current state?  Is there a working list of issues for people participating in the SP1 beta?

    Great interview!

  • Most of issues with running VS 2005 on Vista as standard user (for example, COM registration fails) exist when VS 2005 is run as normal user on XP.

    We will be publishing the list of known compat issues when VS 2005 is run on Vista (along with workarounds where available) to MSDN in next few days. We are working on publishing a similar list for VS 2003 within the next few weeks.

    Thanks,
    Vetri.

  • Sven,

    Thanks for the feedback. We are changing the warning message in VS 2005 SP1 RTM. It will "recommend" users to run with administrator privileges, inform that some scenarios will need admin privileges and will also contain a link to information on which scenarios/features need admin privileges.

    -Vetri.

  • Vetri wrote:
    Sven,

    Thanks for the feedback. We are changing the warning message in VS 2005 SP1 RTM. It will "recommend" users to run with administrator privileges, inform that some scenarios will need admin privileges and will also contain a link to information on which scenarios/features need admin privileges.

    -Vetri.



    Your team should look into using a broker process like IE does. Warning messages are lame.
  • We will publish the list of VS 2005 issues on Vista to MSDN in the next few days. We will update the list regularly using feedback from people on SP1 Beta and rest of the developer community.

    Thanks,
    Vetri.
  • Steve,

    Thanks, but I am looking for a way to do this in unmanaged C++. I would love to throw the CLR switch in my MFC apps, but the performance hit is too dramatic. Even the UI performance. Building the code is also much slower.

    Gary

    stevetei wrote:
    

    "About native C++ support, do you plan on putting WPF support into MFC? If not, is this exposed through COM or standard C calls?"

    Gary,

    For the Visual Studio Orcas release, we are not planning to build new MFC plumbing to connect MFC and WPF.  However, WPF is built with HWND-interop in mind, so adding WPF pizzaz to your MFC UI isn't too difficult to do.  As an example, check out this demo build a while back by Nick Kramer: http://blogs.msdn.com/nickkramer/archive/2006/06/08/622695.aspx

    Thanks!

    Steve Teixeira
    Group Program Manager, VC++

  • CharlesCharles Welcome Change
    I do want to point out that Soma was not briefed with the questions we asked him. For high level executives at Microsoft, this can be a rare occurrence (Craig Mundie was also not prepared for our questions. And, Bill and Steve also didn't know what was coming in the BillG retirement announcement).

    This speaks to the respect C9 has achieved among MS executives. It also proves that casual, unrehearsed, even unexpected conversation can be just as powerful as carefully crafted presentation. The 9 Team and others really should be proud of this. Who would of thought that a renegade team of misfits would be able to have such an impact on the company. Lenn, check out your baby now, brother!

    We hope to talk to Soma again, especially as Orcas becomes more baked. And we have very little idea what we'll ask him. Smiley We'll carve the questions out of the conversation which is what we always do. Of course, the tools we use to do the carving are partly made of what we learn from you by reading your ideas/concerns/experience.

    Keep on posting,
    C
  • The Channel 9 team has come a long way since the first days.  Charles did a great job of enabling me to have a casual, yet candid conversation. 

    I did have a lot of fun doing this.  Thanks Channel 9 team and keep up the great work!

    -somasegar
  • Steve Teixeirastevetei Parallel Computing Platform

    Hi Gary,

    Re: MFC and WPF...

    "Thanks, but I am looking for a way to do this in unmanaged C++. I would love to throw the CLR switch in my MFC apps, but the performance hit is too dramatic. Even the UI performance. Building the code is also much slower."

    WPF itself is managed code, so you're going to be in managed-land no matter what.  You might try only throwing the /clr switch on those .cpp modules that require access to managed types.  Throwing /clr on an entire project that was originally designed to be native code (e.g., an MFC project) will definitely cause a bad hair day.  VC++ also allows you to delay load the CLR by placing your managed code in a separate DLL for which you would LoadLibrary() on demand.

    I might also mention that we're working hard to improve the runtime as well as the build performance of mixed native/managed apps.  You should see the fruits of some of this labor in the Orcas release.

    All the best,

    Steve Teixeira
    Group Program Manager, VC++
    http://blogs.msdn.com/texblog

  • SecretSoftwareSecret​Software Code to live, but Live to code.

    Are there plans to include in the .NET Framework, classes and support for Audio and Video? Like capturing and recording audio from your microphone and be able to stream that, or capturing live feed from your camera? Is there a  plan for this to happen with in the .NET Framework? It would make it easier for developers to include video into their app, or allow live support using  a mic.

     

    In general is there a way to make it easier to work with hardware in the machine through the .NET Framework?

  • Thanks. I'm trying your suggestion (Apply /clr to a single cpp file), but I am having some problems. /clr is not compatible with several compiler switches I am using. I turned them off for the cpp file, and now I am receiving compiler errors stating the source file is not consistent with the pre-compiled header. Do I need to turn off RTC and the other compiler switches I have on project-wide just so I can use /clr in a single source file? Is there a better way to do this?

    stevetei wrote:
    

    Hi Gary,

    Re: MFC and WPF...

    "Thanks, but I am looking for a way to do this in unmanaged C++. I would love to throw the CLR switch in my MFC apps, but the performance hit is too dramatic. Even the UI performance. Building the code is also much slower."

    WPF itself is managed code, so you're going to be in managed-land no matter what.  You might try only throwing the /clr switch on those .cpp modules that require access to managed types.  Throwing /clr on an entire project that was originally designed to be native code (e.g., an MFC project) will definitely cause a bad hair day.  VC++ also allows you to delay load the CLR by placing your managed code in a separate DLL for which you would LoadLibrary() on demand.

    I might also mention that we're working hard to improve the runtime as well as the build performance of mixed native/managed apps.  You should see the fruits of some of this labor in the Orcas release.

    All the best,

    Steve Teixeira
    Group Program Manager, VC++
    http://blogs.msdn.com/texblog

  • Soma, You are simply great! Till the time we have great visionaries like you, microsoft is always going to give its best.. each time, every time.

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