DevConnections executive editor Sheila Molnar managed to corral Scott Guthrie, corporate vice president of Microsoft's .NET Developer Platform, for an interview the week before Halloween. The conversation ranged over a number of subjects, including the upcoming .NET 4.0 and Visual Studio 2010 releases, Silverlight, and more. Here's an excerpt of the interview, where Scott muses on .NET 4.0.
DevConnections: I've heard Silverlight described as .NET light. Is it destined to replace the framework?
Scott Guthrie: No it will definitely not replace the framework. The thing with Silverlight is that we ship a version of the .NET Framework that's a subset of the full .NET Framework. It's basically the subset that makes sense for doing web-based client development. A big emphasis point has been: How do we enable that to work well, and how do we ensure that .NET developers—whether they're running on the server or on the desktop or the browser with Silverlight—can basically use the same language, the same tools, the same API, and run everywhere? So I don't view it as replacing anything. I think of it more as just a way that we can make sure that we share our technology and share our code and use it everywhere.
DevConnections: How will .NET 4.0 meet the perception that developers are "putting their juice" into iPhone apps or cloud applications that don't run on Windows?
SG: Following the release of Beta 2 this week, the feedback on Visual Studio and .NET 4.0 has been great. At the end of the day we're trying to do a couple of things. We obviously want to get developers excited about what we're doing. Then ultimately deliver the value. Feedback this week on Windows 7 is that it's great. At the end of the day it's about making sure that we deliver that value. We have a very loyal developer base. For the people I've talked to this week, they seem more excited about the next 12 months than they have been in an awfully long time.
DevConnections: So do you think that the folks who are creating all those iPhone apps are more like hobbyists?
SG: There are a lot of people doing iPhone development. The iPhone is still relatively new, and I think some of the buzz has worn off a little bit in terms of the app store because there are so many apps in it. iPhone is exciting for a lot of people. Great for Apple; great for developers. We're going to focus on making sure that our stuff is exciting too. Today we have millions of developers using our stuff so I think we'll have even more in the future.
DevConnections: Will there be a lot more .NET 4.0 apps on Windows Mobile?
SG: We support .NET on Windows Mobile today, and we're very committed to making sure that Silverlight, for example, in particular works not just on Windows Mobile but that it works on Nokia Symbian phones. A couple of weeks ago we announced that we'd be running on Intel Linux devices running Moblin. You're going to see Silverlight and .NET running on a wide variety of devices and form factors.
DevConnections: What does NET 4.0 offer open source developers?
SG: There are a couple of things that we do: One is that with this wave of products we're embracing open source and using open source more. Things like jQuery are now built in. It's a popular resource, as is AJAX Framework. We're trying to make sure we work well with open source projects and developers to run great on .NET and also for us to be able to use .NET and Visual Studio to help support them. We've also announced a project that we call the CodePlex Foundation, which is going to be an umbrella organization we'll use to enable Microsoft to publish open source projects and get code contributions back. Expect to see more details on that in the future.