On becoming Cantabrigian

In January, I got to participate in a first-of-its-kind event. Unfortunately, the event was Microsoft’s first-ever mass layoff. As was wildly reported, Microsoft closed ACES Studio as part of that layoff. As ACES was my home away from home (and, on occasion, more home than my home<g>) for the last two years, I found myself freshening my resume in a less-than-stellar economy. Luckily, I remained an employee and was able to continue working on WiX while looking and interviewing for jobs.

Long story short: Later this week, I join the Microsoft Application Virtualization team. App-V, as it’s known, provides an alternative to traditional setup and servicing by isolating applications inside a "virtual bubble."

For apps that fit in an App-V bubble, delivering a ready-to-run package with no "setup step" is enticing. Add in streaming updates that avoid many of the pains of patching and you can see why I’m convinced that App-V has a big future in application deployment.

Fifty degrees of separation

The App-V team is based in Cambridge, Mass. (How can you not love the New England Research & Development Center name?) Over the next few weeks I’ll be loading up my bag of holding and moving from Redmond to Cambridge. As I used to live in New England, I’m excited to live in the Boston area. It does, however, mean a change in my participation in the WiX community.

The work I routinely do for WiX will continue as before—after all, that needs only a computer and a compiler. But as Rob pointed out, the WiX virtual team has historically been Microsoft developers working together in weekly face-to-face meetings. Those weekly meetings were how volunteers kept engaged, designed features, brainstormed bug fixes, wrote code, scheduled releases, discussed the latest rumors, and generally gelled as a team. Being 3000 miles away and three time zones ahead will make it more difficult for me to participate that way. (I can either stay up really late or get up really early!)

One possibility is setting up a WiX team in miniature for those on the east coast interested in contributing. (We’ve dubbed that theoretical group "WiX East" and are already preparing for the inevitable musical turf wars.)

We’ll see how it goes, pick what works, and drop what doesn’t.

In the meantime, I’m looking forward to starting my new job with an impressive team on an exciting product. And along the way I’m sure we’ll find some interesting intersections between App-V and WiX…

7 Replies to “On becoming Cantabrigian”

  1. Glad to hear you’re still with Microsoft. When it comes to WiX though this really begs a question, why hasn’t Microsoft paid for WiX development yet? Maybe its just something they haven’t thought about doing but if people could work on WiX fulltime, development would speed up significantly.

  2. Reminds me of a blog article I wrote nearly two years ago wishing Microsoft would just fund WiX and give Rob a full time team.

    If I understand correctly, Burn is mostly Bob’s baby. It sounds promising and is one of the critical pieces I need to put aside InstallShield. I hope that this work can be continued and not go the way of Heat when a previous member left.

  3. Yan,

    You’re welcome! 😎


    In this economy, I’d rather not have a job that’s guaranteed to produce zero revenue. 😎 Besides, Microsoft is funding WiX, with the Visual Studio team providing bug fixes and features in Votive, the tools, and extensions.


    I’m one of three contributors to the current Burn. It already has several additional contributors ramping up in the codebase for when we open up the tree.

  4. Bob-

    You are always welcome to move to Texas. I’d make room for you on our team even if we didn’t have any reqs open.

    Did I mention housing is a lot cheaper here?

    BTW my concept of funding WiX is a bit more ambitious. 🙂

  5. Glad to hear you are still gainfully employed! Good luck on the move east & settling in with your new team …

    App-V sounds pretty cool, I hope you get to do some good work.

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