Orcas and Open Specs

11/15/2005 7:03:05 PM

Orcas and Open Specs

I have reading through a post on Microsoft’s future plans regarding Orcas (Visual Studio 2007) from my secret Microsoft informant, high up in the corporate ladder.

The big thing for me was that Microsoft plans to publish its internal product specs as they are written…

One thing that I want to start doing with Orcas is to be able to share specification documents as and when we write them with you so that you know what features we are thinking about.  The thing we need to be thoughtful is that at the specification stage, we would not know whether that feature would make it into a particular release or not.  So, we will have to think through how to make it clear to people when something is at a specification/design stage, when some feature is committed in a particular release, etc.  But like I have said before we are committed to continue driving more transparency in terms of what we are doing and how we are doing with you.

I have been clamoring opening up product specs in my prior posts

Published specs are the last veil left to uncover to achieve total transparency at Microsoft. Published specs means that external developers will have the same inside information about VS plans as non-VS employees already have at Microsoft.

We can finally eavesdrop into the conversation. These specs and the bug databases are the primary communication devices used by the various members of product feature teams—testers, developers, program managers, user ed, and so on.

The specs provide very rich detail—rich enough to put some MS bloggers out of business. These specs also provide the underlying motivation or justification for the feature.

Some other plans mention in the post are the following:

  • Agile processes in VS division— quicker and more responsive
  • Orcas is focused on new tools and designers for Windows Vista, Office 12, and WinFX
  • Incubation work on concurrency and parallel programming






Net Undocumented is a blog about the internals of .NET including Xamarin implementations. Other topics include managed and web languages (C#, C++, Javascript), computer science theory, software engineering and software entrepreneurship.

Social Media