I just started catching up on a cool series on Channel 9: The Visual Studio Documentary
The documentary kicks off by taking you back to the days of MS-DOS and Alan Cooper who originally sold Visual Basic to Bill Gates back in 1988. It has a lot of BASIC and Windows history and it’s pretty fun to watch. (How the heck did Huckaby get in that video?) It’s also cool to see the beginnings of how Microsoft fostered the developer community, realizing that it was super-important to create a developer ecosystem and support system. I’m sure glad they did :-). Dee Dee has some funny stories about some of the earliest “geek fests”.
Last time I was up in Redmond I bumped into Rico Mariani, Visual Studio Architect, and he mentioned to me that he had started a series of blog posts on his history building Visual Studio as a follow-up to the documentary that takes a different perspective based on his history working on C/C++. I finally read through all of his posts recounting his memories building developer products at Microsoft. If you’ve ever chatted with Rico, you know what an amazingly personable, excited and approachable person he is and it really shows in his writing. He keeps you laughing and interested the whole time, I highly recommend reading them. Thanks, Rico!
I came from a different background (dbase), and not a Microsoft product until 1990 (they bought FoxPro). Always a data-based programmer I didn’t have much experience with C++ back then, and only a tiny bit of Visual Basic. (Why would I, VFP had LINQ and OOP in 1995 ;-))
I learned a lot about the colorful history of how Visual Studio came to be so if you have some time to spare check it out. And don’t forget to download the latest piece of history — Visual Studio 2010 Beta 2.