A new Opportunity for me…

As many of you know after you ship a major release there is inevitably a re-org as the teams get in alignment to deliver on the next set of opportunities…  One of the outcomes of our post-Whidbey shuffle here at Microsoft was to create a product unit that brings together our client and web frameworks and a very close connection to the WPF team with application services (such as user profiles) to deliver an awesome developer programming model experience.  Specifically the team owns Windows Forms, ASP.NET, Atlas and a few other exciting incubations in this space.  I have been asked to be Group Program Manager of this new team.  


Having been a founding member of the CLR team, it is hard for me to think about leaving that team. The CLR is an absolutely amazing team playing a critical role at Microsoft and in the industry.  This team has the extremely rare mix of being technically demanding, strategically important and staffed with smart and engaging people.  Every day I have been on the CLR team I have been challenged to solve big problems, to innovate and to push harder to make a bigger impact on the company and the industry.  I am extremely grateful to have “grown up” on the CLR team.  (BTW – they are hiring)


Since the early days of this blog I have talked about issues I directly deal with as part of my job.  Issues around API design, inner workings of the CLR and pulling WinFX together.  While I am sure I will still touch on those issues (they didn’t give me a lobotomy after all) I’ll try to focus more on my new team and the new challenges we face.  I hope I will not lose too many subscribers as I talk about our new innovations in the UI Frameworks and Services space.


I am sure many of you are using WinForms, WPF, ASP.NET\Atlas today – I need to get engaged with that community.  Where do you suggest I hang out?  What blog should I read?  What are the biggest issues I should be aware of?  I am spending a bunch of time ramping on this stuff, so I would appreciate all the help I can get.


Also, I am taking my first role as a manger of managers, I’d love any advice, comments, books suggestions, horror stories you’d like to share with me.   




PS –I am lucky enough to enough to have some great folks on my team.. you may know a few of them:





Comments (16)

  1. geoff.appleby says:

    What blog should you read? Well, mine of course.

    Although, you probably shouldn’t bother if you want something on topic.

    I think basically it comes down to _everyone_. What’s left if we aren’t doing winforms or web?

  2. Brad,

    So, who’s going to step in as the Lead PM at CLR? Or is this what you refered as "BTW – They are hiring"?

  3. AC says:

    So, you’re going to stop doing all this great work to join the ranks of our bloated middle-management?

    That sucks!

  4. yljia says:


    Cong. on your new opportunity, and hope I can still read your wonderful posts like before.

    As to WinForms, it is not as exciting as C# or ASP.NET – it is not so innovative (lazy .NET porting of VB/Delphi controls), too hard to write professional applications (although seems has some improvement in 2.0) and does not have a clear future (aren’t you replacing it with WPF or something?).

  5. BradA says:

    Thanks Geoff – I will check it out… I do like the idea that this new job allows me to touch _everyone_…

    Norman – The CLR has some great folks but I believe they are looking to hire someone…

    AC – Oh yea.. middle management baby.. I wounder if I will be able to spell C# in another couple of months…

    Yljia – Thanks for the honest feedback… I’ll be addressing topics just like that here in the future, so stay tuned and keep me honest!

  6. Sean Chase says:


    Congratulations. If you are looking for good blogs for ASP.NET/WPF I’m sure you know about Scott Guthrie’s blog, check out Fritz Onion (or PluralSight all together), Ian Griffiths, Chris Sells, Charles Petzold, scottonwriting.net, and haacked.com. If you are looking for a mediocre blog having a lot to do with ASP.NET, you always subscribe to mine. 🙂

    Biggest issues? You’re a great API guru, maybe look into architecture for ASP.NET apps. That always leads to VERY interesting reading. We have debates about DataSet versus typed-DataSet, versus Custom Collections, how to create DALs, using code generators or O/R mappers. There’s a whole bunch of stuff that people haven’t mastered yet such as using ObjectDataSource with GridView with either custom collections or typed datasets to do CRUD operations, or things like custom paging using the objectDataSource with the GridView. There could always be more demos on how to using the new provider models with either the SqlServerProvider or if you have an already customized database that you need to write an adapter for. How about using ajax *today*? Browser issues is another good topic, and that would include things like using CSS layout instead of the old "html table layout" techniques. Or how about working around how slow refactoring is in Visual Studio when you have a Web project (sorry, had to throw that in there.) I’m sure there is more. If you ever want to chat about it, drop me a line on my blog site. I do mostly ASP.NET development for a living. If not, I’ll look forward to hearing about your new endeavors.



  7. Tobek says:

    For WinForms try:




    http://www.winforms.net 🙂

  8. Themes says:

    Brad, does it means your job will be closely related to Windows Live experiences, Web 2.0?

    I feel you became one of top 5 people of Web 2.0 in Microsoft. Is it true?

    I am sorry I doesn’t wrote #1 instead "top 5" 😉

  9. Keith Patrick says:

    The WinFX.Avalon newsgroup is a good place to check for comments/problems/suggestions.

    As far as things I’d like to see, I’m primarily interested in seeing the ASP.Net and WPF programming models converge more. Part of this means breaking ASP at the API, as it still deviates from the newer coding standards (Enabled vs. IsEnabled), but primarily, I hope to see some crossover between the two technologies. For instance, ASP.Net supports a really nice personalization framework based on skins and profiles that can be changed on the fly, whereas WPF’s skinning is a bit more static. ASP.Net’s skinning, on the other hand, is no where near as flexible as WPF’s, which has support for complete reimplementation of the visual tree as well as skin inheritance (BasedOn).

    Essentially, I’d like the WPF and ASP.Net dev experiences to be almost seamless (and that would even include XAML-2-ASP transform files that tries as best it can to map them control-for-control, even if it means the web dropdown is more crippled than the windows one) such that I could, with minimal coding, offer both a quick, clean web UI for users on a Mac/Linux/Firefox, but also offer a more full-featured, bells n whistles UI for those who want to work in the Vista world, but share as much plumbing between the two as possible.

  10. JoeW says:

    Congrats, sounds like a good re-org to house these teams under one roof.

    I would like to see the develop time experience for these platforms to align. The WPF experience will be lacking in the first release but I would like to see it match the level of WinForms and ASP in the future. At the same time the IDE – level Data Binding infrastructure is confusing at best. I’m talking about the interfaces that the IDE uses to navigate an object model so that developer-users can select their binding objects (IListSource, ICustomTypeDescriptor etc). It’s an API for design-time usability and it needs to be fixed.

    It’s going to be interesting to see how you guys market WPF to the average consumer. The experience is different and they will notice that an XBAP app is not a normal web page. If you want user level pressure for these Rich Clients then the average user needs to be able to reference the technologies.

  11. David Betz says:

    As far as I’m concerned there’s no one at MS is cooler than Brad Abrams. I’m a huge fan. The way you have assisted in unifying WinFX in the naming is phenomenal. Heck, I’ve gotten to the point of stop having my own opinion about things and just taking on your view!

    I’m glad to hear that you will be going to another team to help perfect it!

    WinForms have been a problem for a while and in C# 2.0 they still don’t feel ".NETish" but rather "VBish". No matter, WPF is rocking that world! WCF is even cooler in my mind, and then there’s the wonderful ideas of WinFS and LINQ. Great stuff, great stuff…

    But…I’m seeing a horrible lacking of the web. I’m not a big fan of the IE team as their views seem very anti-unification (thereby kinda fighting the spirit of WinFX). Perhaps if you get on the Atlas team you can help simplify the web! Web development, which is meant to be open, standardized and free is under serious, serious, SERIOUS attack from the "proprietaryness" of IE and if we can have an a PURE W3C abstraction layer of dynamics (a new branch of WinFX??) to provide flawless W3C output, then perhaps the Web won’t fall apart… if you get on that team then my dynamics blog will probably be be 70%+ about your work! Now, I love JavaScript as it’s my native language for 12 years, but …it SUCKS! Haha! Give me C#! I want nothing more than a unification of the web and WinFX. No, ASP.NET doesn’t count… the proprietary webparts kinda defeat the point of the web being open and free; they don’t feel "WinFXish".

    Having a beautiful framework with a beautiful implementation of WS-* standards and a flawless implementation of W3C/ECMA standards would make WinFX truly the ultimate and final solution to everything. WinFX really would be 42…

    I know as an absolute truth that where ever you go and whatever you do, you will make it awesome!

  12. I haven’t posted in a while. This is in part due to the many changes that always happen after a product…

  13. Eldar says:

    From Tuesday, March 14th, 2006: A friend of mine asked me recently if I had any good books on .NET internals…

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