One Long Strange Trip: Visual Studio Magazine and Me

The January Visual Studio Magazine marks the first time the C# Corner is written by Patrick Steele. I’ve bowed out after a long run with the magazine and its predecessors.

The most important part is that the C# column is in great hands. Patrick is excellent at explaining concepts, and he’s going to bring a wealth of new ideas and concepts to the magazine. I feel much better walking away from the column knowing it is in such good hands.

It was hard to walk away after so much time with VSM and its predecessors. But it was time. I’ve written on so many C# topics that I was having trouble coming up with ideas that felt new. I felt like I was covering the same ground over and over.

That got me thinking about how long it had been, and what a long, strange trip it has been.

I started as the original C++ Fundamentals columnist for Visual C++ Developers Journal in the 1990s. That was a new magazine published by TPD, for the MFC / C++ Developer. It were covering techniques to bridge the divide between 16 bit and 32 bit applications. There was this amazing new OS code-named ‘Chicago’ on the horizon.

A few  years went by. I kept covering more topics related to C++ and windows development. More MFC, ATL, language enhancements and how the Microsoft C++ compiler tracked (or didn’t track) the C++ standard.

At some point in this period, Visual C++ Developers Journal was bought by Fawcette. TPD stopped being involved.

The turn of the century brought more changes.  This amazing new .NET platform and the C# language showed up. I started writing about C#and .NET fundamentals, instead of C++. Although the change was gradual: In the beginning, I was writing 2 C++ columns for every 1 C# column. Over time that kept changing.

Next, came some initiatives to capture more of the web audience. Several of the columnists starting writing a column online (at the rate of one a week). These weren’t all tech columns. Some were more opinion, or ‘tip’ columns. That felt like quite a grind. I was constantly under deadline pressure to come up with a new idea every week. It soon got harder: The readers liked the ‘how to’ columns most. I was asked to replaces the ‘tips’ and ‘opinion’ entries with more regular columns.

I took a break and wrote a book (Effective C#, the first edition).

I wrote for a while, and then there were more changes.  Visual C++ Developers Journal merged with Visual Basic Programmers Journal to become Visual Studio Magazine. This was a challenging time to write for this magazine. The audiences for VCDJ and VBPJ were very different. And, most importantly, they were both afraid of losing content to the ‘other’ audience. C# aficionados were concerned that they’d lose coverage to the larger VB market. VB developers felt the same fear of losing coverage to the newer, and perceived to be cooler C#. That was a tough era. The editorial staff did a tremendous job to navigate a very tough set of market perceptions.

I stayed on break and wrote a second book (More Effective C#).

Then, I was approached to come back and write the C# Corner column for Visual Studio Magazine. Having finished the book, it was time to keep writing again. It was fun for a while. I was and still am impressed by the energy that 1105 media is bringing to the publication.  I had a blast over the past two years writing for a reenergized Visual Studio Magazine.

Then, while still trying to write the column, I updated Effective C#, covering C# 4.0, and other recent enhancements to the language.

I was running out of ideas for the column. Visual Studio Magazine deserves better content. That’s why I worked with Michael Desmond and the editorial team at VSM to turn over the column to Patrick. I’m glad it’s in good hands.

So what’s next?

I’m now writing content for the C# Developer Center. The cadence will be roughly once a month, and I’ll be writing on current and upcoming language features in the C# language.

Created: 1/29/2010 7:26:23 PM

Current Projects

I create content for .NET Core. My work appears in the .NET Core documentation site. I'm primarily responsible for the section that will help you learn C#.

All of these projects are Open Source (using the Creative Commons license for content, and the MIT license for code). If you would like to contribute, visit our GitHub Repository. Or, if you have questions, comments, or ideas for improvement, please create an issue for us.

I'm also the president of Humanitarian Toolbox. We build Open Source software that supports Humanitarian Disaster Relief efforts. We'd appreciate any help you can give to our projects. Look at our GitHub home page to see a list of our current projects. See what interests you, and dive in.

Or, if you have a group of volunteers, talk to us about hosting a codeathon event.