It has become increasingly apparent as of late that several of the teams at Microsoft in which, by nature, tend to be criticized more often because they are exposed to a much broader/larger audience of folks, are beginning to change what we perceived, in the past, to simply be the Microsoft way. Because Internet Explorer represents a perfect example of this kind of extreme exposure, The IE team is an obvious candidate for just such criticism.
Of course the IE team at this stage of the game tends to lean more towards the IE7 team label. Closely knitted to the efforts of the IE7 team is the RSS team. While in previous years it hasn’t seemed like this was the case, things seem to be changing as of late, the result of which is showcased in particular by recent activity of the IE7/RSS teams in which have taken it upon themselves to proactively seek after such criticism, literally entering into areas such as the Atom and RSS syntax mailing lists, asking questions like (paraphrased) “What do we need to be doing to make things better for everyone involved?”
What could this mean?
Well, I’m guessing that out of a sampling of 100 people who read this post, a solid 10% will suggest that these efforts simply represent something that’s less obvious to the untrained eye, but evil none-the-less.
NOTE to these 10 folks:
“When did Slashdot let you out of your cage?”
Oh…. No reason. Just wondering. You’ve got some drool rollin’ — you know what, don’t worry about it… you look great! Really! I really do mean that.
[QUESTION-TO-THE-OTHER-90% : Is that drool, or is he just salivating while he thinks about wanting to eat me for lunch?]
Hmmm… Seems I’d best close this one out and — wait, “whats that… Oh… sorry, no, we don’t have any of those clever little icons we cut outta magazines and glued to the screen… You must feel lost, huh?
Poor things… they must feel like they’ve been lied to all this time, huh?!
Actually, I think they kind of have. That, or the MS recruiting folks are doing a bang-up job and bringing in folks who are less concerned with stock option value (or lack there-of as the case may be/is) and more concerned with being passionate about creating the next generation of Microsoft and the next generation of Microsoft Software.
I think its probably a bit of both.
But I’ll tell you what… Pop-on into the Atom-syntax archives (start here.) at some point and take a look at whats going on… Its really quite cool to see that Sean Lyndersay has taken it upon himself to proactively seek the questions, comments, and bug reports in regards to the Atom/RSS Data Feed support in the IE7 product. It’s this kind of proactive transparency that, when combined with the transparency that already has made itself known on the IE7 and RSS team blogs (and a whole bunch of other MS team blogs as well), is going to be the difference between a development community that believes that Microsoft could care less, and a development community who suddenly now realizes this is simply not (no longer?) the case, and reacts by providing valuable/usable feedback from folks who would otherwise not even bother.
The great thing about this is that the folks that I am referring to, the ones now providing feedback, that otherwise would not [UPDATE: Actually, that’s not true… these folks WOULD and DO help if and when they are asked… I just don’t think that MS has a history of asking. Suddenly, it seems this is no longer the case.], are folks like the Tim Bray’s, the Sam Ruby’s, the Uche Ogbuji’s, the James Snell’s, the … well, the list goes on with names just like this for several miles, if not more, something in which you can drop by and see for yourself. These are the folks who truly love building great software, and are passionate about every level of the process.
Seems like Sean, and the rest of the IE7/RSS folks are proving quite nicely that, in fact, they too love building great software.
What about the passion?
Seems to be there just the same.
These are all *GREAT* and *WONDEFUL* things that we are *ALL* are going to benefit from because of this.
Keep up the GREAT work IE7/RSS/Sean and all of the folks on Atom-syntax list who are proving that the thing that matters most is helping in the effort to ensure we don’t spend the next 10 years of our lives fixing all the mistakes we made in each of the years preceding the next because we simply refused to take into account all of the little, teenie, seemingly weenie things that, in fact, are just the opposite. Its rarely big things that cause problems in software, and instead LOT and LOTS of little things.
This stuff *REALLY, REALLY* matters.
And all of these folks who are putting for this effort are the ones that matter most.
Thanks everyone! Today, tomorrow, and for what seems to be be many, many years to come, these transparent efforts of MS, and the willingness of the Atom development community to simply help where the help is needed is going to result in a MUCH better world for all of us because of these efforts. These folks deserve a huge round of virtual applause from all of us for the efforts they are putting forth. And I mean that from both sides of the Atomic-structure-based fence (everything’s Atom-based, right? Yep, sure is. :)
Enjoy your AtomicRSS-enhanced Day! :)
[UPDATE: Regarding MS and asking for feedback. When it comes to their vast network of pro-MS developers, the history is quite a bit different. But the folks on the Atom list in particular tend to be more from the LAMP/Perl/Python/PHP/Ruby/Linux camps, and as such, this is more of the “history of not asking” I am referencing above.]
[ONE FINAL UPDATE: I don’t know how kosher this really is, but I also don’t think that highlighting the positive things that continue to take place in this space is a bad thing either. My apologies if this is the kind of thing that maybe should be left to be discovered by individuals on their own, but a recent post back from Sam Ruby to Sean Lyndersay’s latest post does such a great job of highlighting what I mean when I say these folks TRULY care about and are passionate at EVERY level of the software development process that starts with an idea, moves into various proof’s of concept, begins to develop a specification, a group of passionate folks come together and create a standards group for the development of this spec… etc… etc… etc… until they’ve reached the next level, which is taking the experiences of both the triumphs and the mistakes, and building better software using these experiences to then start at the beginning, and moving forward through the recursive/cyclical process all over again.
I can only think of about five folks who are in the same category/@ the same level as Sam Ruby when it comes to someone who simply deserves every ounce of credit and respect he is given, and in fact deserves more than that, but as is common among the elite at this level… its not about that. Its about the software and the process from start to finish of building that software to then support it, to then build better software, and so forth.
In and of itself, this is the reward, and what continues to drive the best and the brightest among all of us. (Like Sam)
Sean’s followed by Sam’s comments are below (archived post)
Sean Lyndersay wrote:
> Thanks James. I’ve filed bugs in our bug tracking database for each of
> the issues that came up in the feed validator (except for flagging
> /atom:*/ items, since these are a correct use of RSS 2.0 extension
Re the flagging of atom: elements: this was indeed a bug in the Feed
The Feed Validator was incorrectly flagging the use of atom:author
elements at the channel level and atom:link elements at the item level.
A test case has been expanded to include these elements, and these
problems have been corrected.
The fix should be deployed online in a matter of hours.
- Sam Ruby
The next few hours?
Ummmm…. WOW! Thats really cool :)
Transparency at its finest hour.
Ok Slashdot’rs… She’s all yours! Just give me like 10 seconds to get as far away from your nasty dragon breath, K… Gracia’s :D And will ya stop looking at the header!? They’re not going to magically appear!!!