The middle day of PDC was indeed the busiest of all for me. The VC++ team held five fairly in-depth meetings with some of our larger customers. I was pleased to see that most of the folks I've met with have at least tinkered with VC 2005 -- they like what they've seen so far, and their opinions are based on "fresh" product information. I'm definitely seeing three primary patterns of VC++ usage emerge from large ISVs:
- Those that intend to use VC++ almost exclusively for the forseeable future. To over-generalize a bit, these include multi-platform companies and those that have sophisticated graphics libraries in C++ (e.g., fancy DirectX GUI or a rich proprietary framework).
- Those that want to keep their business logic in C++ but have the ability to slap on GUIs written in any language. Windows developers have of course been doing this forever, often with VB as the GUI language. These days, the biggest theme was folks seriously considering WPF for their next generation GUI and tying it to their existing native C++ code with C++/CLI. I was honestly even a little surprised to hear from more than one ISV that they are willing to bite off the XP SP2 and higher OS requirement for WPF because they saw so much value in it.
- Those that are "legacy-izing" their C++ and moving to another language, typically C#. Often these folks plan to keep their performance-sensitive and otherwise gnarly bits in C++ but are looking to C#'s somewhat simpler development model for most future development. Believe it or not, we on the VC++ team are totally cool with this. Realistically, C++ isn't going to play everywhere, so we want to optimize the product for those scenarios where customers do depend on it.
I'm also interested in hearing from medium and smaller sized ISVs. How do you plan to use VC++ going forward? What development scenarios do you think we need to support?
Oh, and the event at Universal Studios last night was pretty cool. Can't beat having the run of the place with a bunch of other geeks with free food and drinks! I got to spend a little time with my old friends from Falafel Software and we rode a couple of rides. Is it just me, or are amusement park rides WAY shorter then they used to be? For example, the Mummy was a decent roller coaster, but it seemed to be over after like 4 minutes. Maybe I'm just getting old.