My name is Damien Watkins and I am one of the newest members of the Visual C++ team, having been here for just one month. To understand how I fit into the team here, I’m a program manager reporting to Steve Teixeira and will be involved in coordinating activities between our group and the academic community. I am not new to Microsoft however, for the past three years I worked at Microsoft Research Cambridge (you can still see me in the latest MSRC team picture if you look hard enough.) Prior to working for Microsoft I was involved with Project 7, where a number of us “academic types” worked with the Common Language Runtime. It was here I was fortunate enough to meet people like Brad Abrams, John Gough, Jim Hogg, Ronald Laeremans (Steve’s manager on the Visual C++ team now), Erik Meijer and Jim Miller. In fact my first book was co-authored with fellow Project 7 member Mark Hammond and Brad Abrams (not that it ever sold enough to warrant a second edition – c’est la vie.) And speaking of Erik Meijer, he recently conducted a great symposium on “Languages on .NET” (Lang.NET) on the Microsoft campus in building 20. It is great to see all these languages targeting the CLI and to meet many friends from the old days (I even managed a “Sunday Brunch” with Clemens Szyperski, John Gough, and a number of John’s ex-students who now work in the
My main area of interest in terms of software is “component architectures”, everything from “pipes” to DCE to COM to CORBA to .NET. I freely admit in public to being a COM fan (I still have a “COM is Love T-shirt” that Don Box gave me and will wear it on special occasions although I am trying to preserve it as much as possible.)
Recently I am often asked “why did I move to the Visual C++ team”. There are a number of reasons but first to mind would be:
- when you look at all the software Microsoft produces (Windows, SQL Server, Office, … ) you just know that C++ really is the most important language at Microsoft (and for this reason this is where a lot of the action is),
- Microsoft releases a lot of C++ source code and resources for academics and I want to see this continue – being on the Visual C++ seems like a great position to help make this happen, and
- it is my favourite language. (By the way, that does not mean that I am not interested in other languages, for example I am really interested in F# and have even given a few talks on it in various places.
So what are some of the C++ resources that Microsoft releases for academic use I hear you ask, here are a few (but there are many more – I may cover some of these in more detail in future postings – if you are interested of course, just let me know):
- Windows Academic Program
- SSCLI (Rotor)
- Shared Source Microsoft Device Emulator (see the Barry Bond Channel 9 interview)
By the way, please feel free to let me know what other C++ source code you would like to see made available for educational use – I cannot promise anything but I would be happy to try. I will also be working with publishers and authors to get great books on our technologies written and out for everyone to use. Currently I am working with Gordon Hogenson on his new C++/CLI book.
On a more personal note, currently my wife and I spend most of our weekends looking around for somewhere to live. I really want to avoid the commute over either of floating bridges from