MVP Insider – Q & A with Peter Ritchie


Peter has been working professionally in software development for over 18 years.  He's been writing computer software far longer; since his first computer, an Atari 800.

Starting in C, Peter progressed to C++ not too long after its adoption by the major compilers.  With a strong background in C++, Peter has been writing, designing, and architecting Windows-based software and solutions for over 15 years.

Peter got involved in the .NET movement, concentrating on C# and making an effort to try and transfer his knowledge to the community--resulting in becoming an Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) for C#.

Peter is an active contributor to the MSDN Forums and .NET newsgroups and also an active moderator of MSDN Forums.

Peter is president of Peter Ritchie Inc. Software Consulting Co, where he provides Windows-based software development services in Canada's national capital region.

1. What does being an MVP mean to you?

Being MVP means to me that I’ve been recognized as providing leadership and contribution to technical communities.

2. If you could ask Steve Ballmer one question about Microsoft, what would it be?

Other than existing products already slated for discontinuation, what current Microsoft product (or products) would you either discontinue or sell-off, and why?

3. What do you think the best software ever written was?

Software has such a short shelf life; it’s hard to pin-point a specific piece of software. One class of software stands-out for me: static code analyzers.  The first analyzer I ever used was PC-Lint; but more recently products like FxCop and NDepend provide software programmers and designers the ability to write better software.

4. If you were the manager of Visual Studio, what would you change?

I would move towards a more agile development methodology, with smaller but more frequent releases; keeping large changes at about two-years, but small changes and bug fixes periodically between the two year cycles.  I would involve the team with the community more between the two year cycles to ensure what is being produced is relevant and timely.

5. What are the best features/improvements of Visual Studio?

I believe in Visual Studio the best feature is its extensibility.  Without that extensibility we would not be able to have great tools like Refactor Pro and Resharper and our ability to write domain-specific languages would be much harder.  The best improvement to Visual Studio over the years was the addition of refactoring features.

6. What was the last book you read?

Applying Domain-Driven Design and Patterns by Jimmy Nilsson.

7. What music CD do you recommend?

It would depend on who I am recommending to.  My tastes are very eclectic.  CCR Chronicles still gets a fair amount of air-time for me, Sam Robert’s Chemical City, or The Best of John Lee Hooker 1965 – 1974.

8. What makes you a great MVP?

I believe I embrace challenges and have the experience and ability to provide guidance and answers to many in the technical communities.

9. What is in your computer bag?

Lots of stuff.  I currently have (other than my laptop): a Cat-5 gender-bender; Cat-5 retractable cable; Agile Principles, Patterns, and Practices in C#; Microsoft Wireless Laser Mouse 6000; lanyard, several USB thumb drives; cold medicine; phone charger; CF and SD cards; SDHC/USD adapter; DevTeach 2008 schedule; Microsoft Forums Client Projects Requirements and Specification; batteries; pens; and CodePlex stickers.

10. What is the best thing that has happened since you have become an MVP?

Getting more involved in offline technical communities.

11. What is your motto?

Ostendo non Ostento, which is also a Ritchie family motto and means to me “Show, don’t boast”.

12. Who is your hero?

My parents.

13. What does success mean to you?

Success to me means having the means to do something you like, doing it to best of your abilities, and making a difference.

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