I didn’t blog for more than a year, and many interesting things happened during that time!
Here’s a summary of everything that’s been going on:
TouchDevelop is getting one million users in the UK.
The TouchDevelop project keeps going strong in Microsoft Research: There is now an official TouchDevelop blog to which you can subscribe to get the latest updates. As recently announced, the TouchDevelop web app is now open source on GitHub! A big new feature in the editor is collaborative coding – a whole new experience of pair programming. The biggest news is that the BBC is going to give out one million mini-computers to children, and TouchDevelop is a designated programming language for those devices.
Congratulations to everyone in the TouchDevelop team! Michal Moskal, Peli de Halleux, Sebastian Burckhardt, Tom Ball, Judith Bishop, Jonathan Protzenko, and everyone else who has been helping along the way.
Pex technology is shipping in Visual Studio 2015
The Pex project, providing an automated unit test generation framework for .NET, is seeing some great updates as well:
You might have earlier played around with Pex on the web at pex4fun.com, a website we put online a while ago to showcase our tool. Almost a year ago, thanks for Judith Bishop at Microsoft Research Connections, we launched a new website: codehunt.com. Built on a limited Pex-as-a-service in the cloud, it’s a first-class coding game – you have to write code to win!
The by far most exciting news around Pex is an announcement from S.. Somasegar: “We’ve also added the Smart Unit Tests feature to Visual Studio 2015. Based on the Pex technology developed by Microsoft Research, Smart Unit Tests analyses code and automatically generates unit tests to describe its behavior.” This is awesome! Pex technology will ship in Visual Studio 2015, taking the former research project to a whole new level. Many thanks to Pratap Lakshman for driving this effort.
A new build system in the making…
In Satya Nadella’s recent letter, “Bold Ambitions & Our Core”, he made a call for action to “modernize our engineering processes” and “reduce the amount of time and energy it takes to get things done”. To help this new effort, I moved to the Tools for Software Engineers (TSE) team in DevDiv. TSE is driving several projects to improve engineer productivity. Many potential productivity gains start with the build systems. I am now leading an effort to modernize the build tools that are at the core of the build systems. We recently open-sourced the source code of the currently shipping implementation of MSBuild on GitHub, and we are developing a cross-platform port in the public. Going forward, we are working on the next version of MSBuild. The challenge is to accommodate existing MSBuild users, while at the same time dramatically increase build reliability and performance by caching and distributing tool invocations.
You should hear more about MSBuild vNext soon.