Well, here I am with my first blog entry. First, a little bit about myself…..I’ve been working at Microsoft for almost 5 years. The first 4 and a half years were spent on the Visual Studio and .NET Framework setup team. During that time, I’ve gained a lot of random knowledge about Windows Installer, OCM-based setups that form the basis of OS installation, hACkME setup, etc, etc. I also gained an understanding of how the setup developer thinks, including how to work around limitations in existing installers and how to get bits on a machine by any means necessary. Above all though, I develped an understanding and empathy for the pain that Microsoft customers face as they try to implement setup and deployment solutions for our products in their corporate, education, individual, and redistributable environments.
While on the setup team, I helped ship Visual Studio 2002 and 2003 and the .NET Framework 1.0 and 1.1. My proudest accomplishment was my leadership role in porting the .NET Framework setup from MSI to INF for inclusion as part of Windows Server 2003.
Along with this knowledge, I’ve also accumulated a wide range of pet peeves and best/worst practices related to setup creation and functionality. If I’m able to use this forum to influence even one person to create a simpler setup that strives to get bits on the machine in as painless a means as possible and to consider it to be a success if the user doesn’t notice anything about the setup itself, then I’ll consider my blog efforts successful.
After I moved on from the developer tools setup team, I joined the Windows embedded team to work on Windows XP Embedded and Longhorn Embedded – specifically on embedded enabling features (AKA EEFs). Fortunately, I worked on the embedded components for the .NET Framework 1.0 and 1.1 when I worked on the setup team, so I didn’t join the embedded team completely blind. After 2 months on the embedded team, I attended the ESC West conference in San Francisco. It was absolutely enlightening to get a chance to meet real world customers and see how you’re using our tools to create products and solutions that are being deployed world-wide.
I don’t know what direction these blog entries are going to take, and I have my doubts that anyone would even care about reading what I have to say. I do know I’ll be back to give some random thoughts about embedded Windows, setup features and functionality, and deploying the .NET Framework (1.0 and 1.1) as part of managed application setup packages. In the meantime, here are some links that I regularly send out to Microsoft employees and our customers to help them with setup, deployment and embedded solution development:
- .NET Framework deployment guide – http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/library/en-us/dnnetdep/html/dotnetframedepguid1_1.asp?_r=1
- Visual Studo 2003 deployment using Active Directory – http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/library/en-us/dv_vstechart/html/vstchdeployingvsusingactivedirectory.asp (yes I helped author this one, but I swear I have zero ego and only put the link here as a public service)
- MSDN Windows XP Embedded resources page – http://msdn.microsoft.com/embedded/xp/
- Windows XP Embedded customer resources portal – http://www.xpefiles.com/start.html
Until next time……