I've been at Microsoft for a little over two years now, working in groups that focused primarily on publishing online content for developers. In addition to the obvious things, there's a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes in creating and maintaining content - maintaining and improving existing content, planning content for unreleased platforms and products, handling dozens of spoken languages and several programming languages, etc. It's been a pleasure working with some real professionals. I've also enjoyed working in a small but dynamic group that's focused on the developer community. During that time I had two excellent bosses, Scott Hanselman and Pete Brown. Both really made it fun to show up to work every day. Well, I work from home, but still.
I'm excited about my new position in the Windows Azure technical evangelist team.
Wait, what? Azure?
Yep, Azure. Let me explain why.
Azure Application Platform Team includes ASP.NET, IIS, etc.
First, you'll recall that Scott Guthrie heads the Azure Application Platform team, and that group includes ASP.NET and IIS. In the year since that transition, I've been really happy with where I've seen Microsoft's web platform going. The ASP.NET team has been cranking out some great stuff for the ASP.NET 4.5 / ASP.NET MVC 4 / ASP.NET Web Pages 2 wave (easier to just call it ASP.NET vNext). Oh, and they just open sourced a whole lot of code. So if anyone was concerned that ASP.NET would stall out in this new organization, I think this past year would allay that fear.
Azure as a good influence on Microsoft
And in fact, it seems like the influence of running Azure as a hosting platform has opened Microsoft's web development horizons a good amount. We've got people like Glenn Block working with Node.js, Microsoft shipping code on GitHub (all the Azure sdk's are on GitHub), Hadoop support on both Azure and Windows Server, etc. So if anything, Azure is really broadening Microsoft's perspective on web development. I hadn't expected that at all.
Well. All I can say here is that I'm extremely excited about where Azure is going as a platform. As Scott Guthrie said in MSDN Flash recently, "You will see even more significant updates and features in Windows Azure in the months ahead." There are a lot of things coming together here that are making Azure very interesting for me as a developer, and I want to be in on it. Stay tuned.
Windows Azure Technical Evangelist team
This is an cool team. I'm helping (new Microsoft employee) Brady Gaster with this summer's Web Camps, learning some interesting Windows 8 dev from Nick Harris, got to meet up with Nathan Totten (I'd used his Facebook SDK in the past), and I'm just getting started. Oh, and Cory Fowler just joined up too, focusing on the open source community on Azure including PHP and Node.js. And lots of other smart folks, all focusing on different applications of Azure and the Azure application platform. James Conard has put a really good team together, and it's really energizing to be a part of it.
Nick and Nate just took over the Cloud Cover show on Channel 9 and interviewed me, along with the other three new team members: Cloud Cover - Episode 76 - Meet our new additions to the Windows Azure Technical Evangelist Team (I'm on around 14:40).
What's new for Jon
I'll be continuing to focus on ASP.NET as a platform. I like ASP.NET, and I like helping other people who are using it. Azure is a good place to put ASP.NET apps, so more ASP.NET apps helps Azure. So that means I'll continue to do thing's I've been doing in the past - blogging, speaking, writing, tutorials, screencasts about ASP.NET. But with more options for scale, travel budget, opportunities for collaboration with other groups, etc.
For example, I'll be speaking at a Web Camp in Boston on May 10 as part of the Web Camps tour that Brady's putting together. Brady invited me on Web Camps TV to help introduce Web Camps 2012:
I've been doing some behind the scenes work on the ASP.NET site to make content easier to find and consume (e.g. HTML5 video support, input on responsive design). I also help with content for ASP.NET releases, like edits and publishing the ASP.NET MVC release notes, setting up things like the ASP.NET Web API content area, etc. That won't change.
So my focus stays on ASP.NET as a platform - whether you host it on Azure, IIS, or wherever else you crazy kids decide to put it.
But, as I said, I joined the Azure evangelist team because I'm excited abou it, so of course I'll be using it and talking about it as I do. For intstance, I'm thinking there are a lot of opportunities to spin up sample apps and services in Azure to show what I'm talking about.