All in and shipped out. Reflecting on the last year.

It is the last day of 2008. Jenny mentioned this morning that she thought we had been through a lot of change. I immediately agreed. I said I felt we were at the end of the beginning. Let's recap.

On the personal side, about half way through the year Jenny and I finally decided that we would sell “my house” in preparation to find “our house”. We spent all of the summer updating the house to sell in a very tough market. We painted everything inside and out, updated the kitchen and all of the bathrooms, planted plants and flowers then watered and watered. Finally, by August the house was on the market

44 days later, after three open houses and too many showings to count we had an offer. Looking back Jenny and I were incredibly fortunate. Not fortunate just because the average time on market was 90 - 120 days and the market took an incredible beating shortly after we closed. We were fortunate because the day we had a solid offer, Jenny and I found our dream house. The sellers had a contingent offer on another house but were about to give up since their house was not closing.

In a very stressful two weeks Jenny and I negotiated the final deal on the house we were selling and made a contingent offer on the dream house. There were several days where it felt like everything would just come unglued. But by the beginning of November we were moved in and still pinching ourselves that we now lived in such a beautiful house. I expect Jenny and I will be here for quite a long time firmly ending the semi-nomadic life of early adulthood.

On the professional side, this year has been the most action packed 12 months of my life. Lots of code checked in and shipped out. Let’s just go through the list.

At the beginning of the year we declared WiX v2 Production/Stable. That was a huge accomplishment only overshadowed by the announcement that WiX v3 would be shipping in Visual Studio. Technically speaking it was last year that I announced that the WiX toolset would ship as part of Visual Studio but it was this year that I feel we really made significant progress toward actually shipping. We made necessary the adjustments to the WiX v3 roadmap to stay on track and over the last 6 months the WiX v3 bug count has plummeted. Every Thursday of every week this year I have enjoyed the hours spent with all the people that volunteer on the WiX toolset. It’s a great project with great people.

All the other professional excitement happened at the end of the year. First, I announced that I was joining the Live Mesh team during all of the turmoil of preparing a house for sale. However, I couldn’t talk about the project I was leaving since it didn’t officially launch until November: Microsoft Store. Trevin Chow, the lead Program Manager, had a good blog entry about the launch of Microsoft Store. A little later he wrote an in depth entry about the piece of the project that I worked on most: the Microsoft Store Download Manager. Those two blog entries provide a pretty good overview of what I was working on for most of 2008. That team was a lot of fun and I really liked the way the Download Manager turned out. I stop by and talk to friends on Microsoft Store team every once in a while since the WiX Working Group meets on the 4th floor of their building.

Of course, the end of the year finds me on the Live Mesh team. The weeks before the PDC were some of the most intense days of programming since I left college. Delivering a technology that forms the linchpin of several executive key notes at one of the largest gathering of developers for the Microsoft platform is a bit awe inspiring if not incredibly tense. In the days since, we’ve been gathering feedback about how the technology previews are being used and creating a plan for the next year to come. But this blog entry isn’t about the future so I’ll stop there. <smile/>

As I noted in the beginning it feels like I’m at the end of the beginning. I’ve enjoyed getting here and now I’m looking forward to finding my way into the future.

Have a Happy New Year!