You could feel something was changing back in 2000 and the next few following years.
It wasn’t the so many times predicted end of the world, but It was Microsoft PDC time instead (or Win32 Professional Developers Conference for those who are old enough). Microsoft was proudly presenting its latest developments like the brand new .NET platform, C# language and more.
I remember being at Redmond, invited there because of my “Microsoft MVP” status (I was named such after my contributions to the .NET community in general and ASP.NET in particular) and hanging around with the ASP.NET team looking at “ASP.NET futures”. We were only a bunch of people in that room, including now legends as ScottGu and NikhilKo. This were very early times. Hey, ScottGu wasn’t even wearing in red all the time back then…
In 2002 and 2003 I started to fall in love with a tool (this may not sound that good, I know) codenamed Rainier first and then Everett. These were the very first versions of Visual Studio in the .NET era. And they were good already, making huge productivity improvements in every developer daily life.
But we wanted more… and when I say “we” here, that’s my partner for the last 10 years Daniel Cazzulino and I. We wanted to extend Visual Studio, to support this and that, and make developers life even easier. There was only a small problem… Visual Studio wasn’t extensible at all… well it was, but in its own undocumented way and no one but Microsoft itself was writing packages for it…
I can’t remember how many times we were told, “you cannot do that, that just not possible”. And one way or the other, we managed to make VS do whatever we wanted it to do. Totally undocumented features, COM love everyone, APIs that didn’t make any sense, oh well… that was just pure joy!
It took Microsoft several years to figure out that obscure and expensive weren’t helping much in building up a VS extensibility community.
Now, fast-forward a decade later.
You can feel something is changing, again (Office for iPad, anyone?). We now have a .NET foundation, recently launched by Microsoft and Xamarin at Build 2014. Microsoft has contributed its ASP.NET family of projects, and other very cool projects like Roslyn. And Xamarin is throwing in Xamarin Mobile, Xamarin.Auth, Couchbase for .NET and more. They both want you to be able to run all this and more to come on Windows, OS X and Linux. And, even more importantly: iOS, Android and Windows Phone.
Can you imagine, for example, reaching out more than a billion of mobile users writing your native app once, sharing most of your code while targeting iOS, Android and Windows Phone at the same time? Moreover, can you imagine doing this, using our beloved C# language and Visual Studio tooling?
Yes! That is C# running on iOS and Android. And why not on a PlayStation 4? And why not F#? Or VB.Net? Ok, enough of that.
So when Nat and Miguel approached us looking for help in making Visual Studio the best IDE on planet earth to target all these different platforms we just couldn’t resist… We like hard challenges too much, and we love to hear the “mmm… that’s just not possible to do it in Visual Studio”. Oh… that sound…
If you have managed to read through here, the news is that Xamarin is acquiring Clarius’ Visual Studio Extensibility division, woo-hoo! As a result of this, I’m joining Xamarin to work full time on helping create the best development experience for mobile developers.
Our goal sounds pretty simple: if you are a Visual Studio user you will feel just “at home” no matter what device or platform you are targeting. If you are currently using another IDE, we will give you more than enough reasons to give us a try. And you will love it, I promise.
I will soon move to my new blog (details to come), where you will be able to follow progress on how we try to make this happen!