It’s interesting how sheltered one can become working in a small team that owns one part of an incredibly large system. You tend to see everything you are doing as the most important thing for your customers and everything else is some nice fluff that might help them out (maybe). Boy was I wrong with that view. For those who don’t know, I work on the C# Compiler/Editor team. My basic responsibility is the language service. This is the part of the C# editor that tries to understand what you’ve written so far and then provide you with help as type, like tooltips and completion lists.
A few things I’ve noticed. While people are interested in the editor and some of new neat stuff we are doing in that space they are much much much much much much more interested in (in order of interest):
a) Team System 2005. Project coordination, source control, bug tracking, unit testing perf analysis, reporting
That’s a off the top of my judgement based on the people that came to our booth today.
We were able to excite many of them with the new C# language features like Generics, and the new editor features like refactorings and the code definition window.
However, for the most part, people were mostly looking for ways to drive down the cost of the total software development cycle, not just the coding side of it.
It was a sobering view to see how my egotisitical view of my work compared against to the actual needs to customers, and it will definitely change how I view the entire integrated package we will be shipping and how much value it actually provides.
On a side note, I think Team System looks absolutely amazing. I hope i’ll get time to really stress it out and to try to see how much time/energy it can save me.