Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Microsoft and Developers

It's been quite some time I updated this blog of mine..! Here we go...!

Ever wondered what’s the reason or strategy behind the runaway success of Microsoft? I have…! Some plausible reasons that popped up in my mind…: being one of the first, rather, the first, to turn great ideas into usable, friendly products OR having a huge and successful R&D OR the hype that surrounds the company? Pehaps, a bit of each..!

But one reason really stands out: The company’s firm belief in people’s creativity. I’ll narrow down the class the word ‘people’ encompasses, to ‘developers’, atleast for the context of the present post!

I have constantly feasted my mind (even it’s been for the umpteenth time…) by reading the book ‘Inside Out’ published by Microsoft about its history, vision, path to success, some insight into their business practices, etc., Many a place in the book we can sense the founders’ pride and sense of accomplishment in making people realise their potential! As soon as the Gates-Allen duo realised they had licensed more than a million copies of BASIC, they gratifyingly wonder what all interesting things people would have accomplished using it! The Big Bill himself has noted that Visual Basic has been one of the key reasons for Microsoft’s success over the years.

Microsoft showcases most of its development technologies in the Professional Developer’s Conference. Even one of the key decisions that the software giant has taken in the recent times, to back-port the three new platforms of Windows Longhorn to Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, was based upon developer feedback. Microsoft recently held a Community Technology Preview of the latest build of Avalon, the presentation sub-system of Longhorn.

The most visible and weird of all this is the company CEO Steve Ballmer getting into a frenzy and screaming the word ‘Developers’ 37 times successively (not to mention the crowd, which joined him..!) Such is the belief the company has on people’s potential! Somasegar S, Corporate Vice-President, Developer Vision, believes that, in the long run, the company would be able to give out each and every spec that is written down and receive feedback on them. He intends to share each and every build of the product with the customer.

One of the blogs I read regularly, Microsoft Monitor, mentions that having a wide variety of software products to choose from as one of the reasons to prefer a Windows PC over a Mac! The website Windows Marketplace has over 90,000 softwares to choose from..! This does confirm Microsoft's belief that people tend to be very creative when presented with the right tools. The application 'Datelens' which showcases the innovative UI capabilities of the .NET framework has got widespread acclaim from the public!

No wonder, the theme publicised in the ads of Microsoft is, “Your Potential, Our Passion"!

See U soon..!

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Integration- the keyword for the computer industry

It's time to INTEGRAAATE...., right? Yeah!

Microsoft & Google, two of the most successful companies in the industry's history, have firmly set their sights on integrating their services! Need are they: Google's Desktop Search Application(Beta)and MSFT's official announcement of their own desktop search application. Not just in the search market, also on the entertainment front. BillG's keynote on the occasion of the Windows XP MCE 2005 launch, portrays the need for integration.

And what's the result of this integration drive? The 'melodies', 'rock', 'pop' playlists that you have in some centralised storage could be accessed by the CD player in your car, the one at your home, in your iPod and what not? Music subscriptions would be available across devices. And how about a single remote control for all the entertainment devices in your home? No need to fiddle around with device-specific controls.

On the same lines, Google recently introduced their desktop search application. Integrating web search with desktop search really does sound exciting (it's still in beta.., anyway that's been Google's style). Just imagine that you use the world's most famous search algorithm to search your PC. Imagine how more productive people can get. Microsoft long back introduced the .NET passport as a single unified login to all its services. Even on the development front, the transition has been from an isolated programming model to the COM and now to .NET. The simple application that you create with the future versions of Visual Studio would seamlessly integrate and take advantage of the tremendous capabilities of WinFS, the future file-system for Windows.

And with the roots of integration growing stronger and deeper, it should be a much joyful eXPerience with tomorrow's software.

See U soon..!

Sunday, November 07, 2004

The need for Windows Longhorn

Is there any need for a Windows Longhorn..? Windows XP is doing quite well..! It's got a stable code-base, smooth interface, faster execution time when compared to its predecessors, etc., And there are a host of softwares ranging from entertainment to education catering to the diverse needs of the users..! So what's the need for Longhorn..? Windows XP is the tallest and the most beautiful monument that Microsoft could have built using the foundation it laid way back with Windows 95.

It's basically due to the human desire to raise the bar, that has given birth to Longhorn..! Also life sets stiffer goals to the increased productivity, freshness, more security,etc., And all these require a new foundation. A much deeper,wider one that can stand the test of time, that can cater to the ever-changing needs of people, etc., Thus was born Windows Longhorn. One thing that makes Microsoft a huge, huge success is it's vision. It's early nerve for sensing the future. The reason I tell this is because the research work for Longhorn started way back in 1995.

Three new pillars magnificently hold aloft the upcoming OS. A brand new file system WinFS, a refreshing presentation system called Avalon and a brand new comunications platform dubbed Indigo! Let's wait for a world of unending opportunities to be ushered in by Windows LONGHORN by late'06..!!!

See u soon..!

Monday, October 25, 2004

Windows XP- A Glorious Diamond in Microsoft's crown

Just a few days back I was browsing Paul Thurrot's Supersite for Windows. An excellent resource for anybody using Microsoft's products. Being an avid fan of Microsoft, I find this site an ever-resourceful information mine, catering to the Microsoft buff within me!!

I came across a
review of PowerToys for XP. Microsoft puts it across as,"PowerToys are additional programs that developers work on after a product has been released to manufacturing". Some of the PowerToys that I think inevitable are- Open Command Window Here, Tweak UI, Image Resizer and the Virtual Desktop Manager. The Virtual Desktop Manager PowerToy is very useful for developers and IT professionals, in particular.

Straying away from the topic, naa..naa! Windows XP, the priceless diamond in Microsoft's crown, is continually polished, revved up and beautified by these nifty little tools. These toys go a long way in enriching the end-user experience. And it continues to show the passion which Microsoft shows towards Windows XP, by-far the most pleasing OS from the Redmond stable..!! And please don't accuse Microsoft of the numerous security vulnerabilities that are dug out month after month in XP. Any software with such a huge user-base and meticulously going through a proper software life cycle is bound to have such issues..!

See u soon..!

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005: Digital Entertainment Anywhere

That's the vision with which Microsoft has been approaching the future..! Already this decade has been dubbed the 'Digital Decade' by the Microsoft Chief Bill Gates. The release of Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 fortifies Microsoft's claims. For the Bill Gates keynote on the occasion of the release refer here and reach the homepage here.

When I first installed and experienced the now ubiquitous Windows XP OS from the Redmond-based company, I certainly felt a sense of gratification of the mind. "What next?", I thought..! The interface was so smooth and pleasant, the OS was much stabler than its predecessors..! I felt that this was the piece of software the world was looking for..! What Windows XP did was to more or less satisfactorily serve the needs it was meant to, let alone the the umpteen security issues that have plagued the OS till now..! It had pretty good capabilities for catering the users' digital entertainment needs! Further Microsoft kept revving up XP with Windows Media Player 10, Plus! for XP and most recently the Plus! Super Pack!

But there are always, I mean alwaaays, unventured pastures for the motivated mind..! Just imagine the whole slew of possibilities that arise when the user wants stuff that is customized to the minutest possible detail..! What if the customer wants music, video on the fly..! It's even difficult to imagine, right?

That's the thing that huge companies are successful at..venture into new territories..! I hope Microsoft, which puts in a cool 6.9billion US$ per year for R&D and other such stuff, has chosen the right path to pursue..!!

See u soon..!

And finally..., the blogosphere has me as well..!

First, about myself..: I am Nirmal Raghavan, Software Engg.,
based in Bangalore, India, working for Sasken Communication Technologies.

I am very passionate about my work, personal computing technologies, Microsoft- the great software company and Steve Waugh- one of the greatest cricketers. I think I'll be blogging about my passions whenever I find time. With due respects to Robert Scoble, every blogger's hero, I jump into the blogosphere..!

My quote for the day:
"People are passionate abt things.., thank God.., I am as well.., abt my JOB!"
I think it holds true for majority of us..!

See u soon..!