This past month we’ve been posting interviews with the team from our Italian Visual Basic MVP Alessandro Del Sole. This time we have Doug Rothaus, a writer on the documentation side. Doug has blogged up an XML cookbook here on the team blog with a bunch of “recipes” on how to use different features of XML Literals and LINQ to XML in Visual Basic.
Here’s the interview with Doug:
1. Nice to meet you Doug! Let’s begin by asking a simple question: where are you from?
I live in Woodinville, in Washington State. It’s about 6 miles (10 kilometers) from the main Microsoft campus in Redmond. I grew up in Washington, so it’s nice to work so close to home.
2. We all know that you’re a Visual Basic Team member, but could we know something more about your role inside the Team?
My official title is “Programmer/Writer”. I write reference, samples, and so on that you read in the product documentation. I feel very strongly about getting useful documentation out to the community and customers. If we don’t document it, how are you going to use it?
3. What’s your favorite Visual Basic feature regarding the language and/or the IDE?
Being a “data guy” from way back, I love LINQ. To be more specific, though, I love the XML Literals and XML Axis properties that come with VB and LINQ to XML. Most of the source data that I work with is stored in XML and XML literals make my life much easier.
4. How long have you been working for Microsoft and what was your occupation before joining the VB Team?
I have worked for Microsoft for almost eleven years. I started in Developer Support answering questions and troubleshooting problems over the phone, by e-mail, and in chat sessions for customers working with ASP, ADO, and Visual Interdev. For the last seven years I have been writing documentation and samples for ADO.NET, ASP.NET/Visual Web Developer, and for the last (almost) two years, Visual Basic and Visual Studio.
Before Microsoft, I worked as an application developer, security analyst, and instructor for a large aerospace company in the Northwest US that you may have heard of.
5. Why do you think VB is such a great language?
I love that VB serves all developers well from the novice to the expert. I think one reason for this is the way VB is descriptive in much of the language. For example, “NotInheritable” is more descriptive than “sealed”.
6. Have you ever been to Italy?
I did take a trip to Italy (and other European countries) when I was seventeen years old. I visited Florence, Venice, Pisa, Rome, Naples, Pompeii, and Sorrento. I loved Sorrento. Someday I plan on visiting there again. Of course, everywhere I went in Italy the food was delicious. (My friends tell me I describe every place I’ve been to in terms of food)
7. Would you like to tell us something about your life outside the office (how do you like to spend your free time, what do you like to do when/if you go out in the evening or when you’re at home and so on)?
Most of my time is spent with my wife and three children. I also play/sing quite a bit of music in my free time. I have a small home studio and a collection of instruments (2 electric basses, four guitars, one mandolin, one keyboard/workstation, congas/percussion). My other hobby is motorcycles. I ride them and race them at the track. I’m a MotoGP and World Superbike fan as well. Have they heard of Valentino Rossi in Italy?
8. Who is your favorite musician?
I have to pick one? Out of a very long list, I will submit Mark King (of Level 42). Awesome bass player—and he flawlessly sings lines counter to what he’s playing.
9. What’s your favorite food?
Pizza. It contains all of the four necessary food groups!
Thank you very much for taking time to answer these questions and telling us more about you!