Appweak…


One of the things that the C# team does occaisionally is hold an appweek, where we take a week out of our schedules and devote it solely to using our product to build apps. For the last week or so, there’s been a QA appweek that the PMs have been participating in, and we’re organized into 8 or so teams.


The reason I called it “appweak” is that I’ve only been able to spend, at best, 50% of my time devoted to appweek, which means my contribution has been fairly modest. Our team has been using the profiling apis to do some program visualization (function stack, exception behavior, memory behavior, etc.). Other teams have their own projects, with at least one team doing a game (a Berzerk clone, IIRC).


Why do I mention this? Well, to explain a bit how we test our products, and to tell you that I think you’re going to be pretty happy with Whidbey – it has some nice advances that make writing code a fair bit easier.


[Update] Jack asked how we decide what kinds of apps we write, and whether we target specific feature areas.


The apps are nearly always chosen by the teams. Sometimes we give them guidance on what kind of app they write, but my experience is that it’s better to just let the teams guide themselves. Our goal is to use the product the way we expect our customer to use it, which for us meant using source code control, the new build system, and training ourselves to use refactoring

Comments (9)

  1. Now that’s a good idea, I’m convinced that my current project would have been better off if the devs had been forced to build a product on top of our services.

  2. Jack Mayhoff [MSFT] says:

    How many of those apps end up useful and on http://toolbox ?

    Do you have it free for all anything goes or do you have goals for this appweek like application themes?

  3. Jack Mayhoff [MSFT] says:

    Applicaiton themes like "User Controls" or "Refactoring" or "interop" etc.

  4. aBlogByGus says:

    Twas fun. Today marked the end of the AppWeek I mentioned a few weeks ago. It would be fair to say I’m tired and need some serious rest. It pretty much went like most of the other AppWeeks I’ve participated in. It was a great time by all, a learning experience, a chance to really test drive the product we’ve been working on, and lots and lots of long hours. Several days went from 9am-4am for me this time around and there were a few of the guys who ended up pulling 2-3 all-nighters in the week. But in the end it’s all worth it. We found plenty of issues that we might not have found through our regular testing and a lot of us realized just how good Whidbey is going to be. It’s great to be able to use the new compiler features in a real project. The IDE is a huge step forward with all the new Intellisense support and refactoring features. I never realized how useful features like refactoring would be in my coding, but I’m definitely hooked now. I was on the team that developed the Berzerk clone that Eric mentioned in his AppWeek entry. Berzerk, for those who have never heard of it, was an Atari 2600 game and coin-op game back around 1982. Our clone added a few things to the original, the most notable being multi-player network support and a level editor. But we also didn’t get to do several of the original’s features such as Evil Otto. But if we spend a few more hours on it we’d be able to add the remaining features. Chances of that happening now are a bit slim as Appweek is great and all but it sure has a way of causing a bunch of work to pile up for the post-Appweek hangover. One of the coolest apps developed this time around by another team was ‘OfficeQuest’. It’s primary use is to give you exact directions and the shortest route from one office on the Microsoft campus to another. Using an A* implementation they pulled off a sweet app that gives you step by step instructions. If you’ve ever found yourself (lost) in building 8, you’d know this app could save you a ton of time. Other apps included a couple more games (e.g. a Wormz clone and a 3D BattleBots simulation), a .NET profiler type of application, an internet chat system (that accepted copy/paste of files, text from Word documents, and code straight out of the VS editor that maintained formatting and color), and an ASP .NET website that was a shared calendar of sorts for Seattle events. Off to sleep now….

  5. Ivana Vackoff [MSFT] says:

    Jesus Gus, havnt you ever heard of puncuation, paragraphs and so on. Surely you dont expect us to read that in its current form. Now go back to your desk and write it out again 100 times properly.

  6. Mark Levison says:

    Suggestion for an AppWeek project:

    Having had a lot of trouble developing and deploying Smart Client (aka no touch deployment), it would be great if more MS people tried building them.

  7. .. says:

    It would be fun to watch them try to make a setup package within VS.NET and also have prerequisites of other setup packages 😀

    Now that I think would be comedy gold.