The FoxShow #38: Interview with Milind Lele

The latest FoxShow includes an interview with Microsoft’s Milind Lele.

Here’s a brief summary of some of the questions:

1. Many people on the Fox team wear multiple hats. What hats do you wear?

A few, but I mostly do the Program Management of it: Defining scope, features, schedules… overall project management, making sure we are on track, working out CTP and beta releases; working with the community (getting feedback, monthly letters, conferences); working with Product Support on customer issues, Hotfixes, etc. I also manage the builds.

2. With Yag (Yair Alan Griver) now moving away from the Data Tools group and pushing more on community, how strong is the Fox team within MS? How much time are you guys able to spend on Fox stuff or is it a lunch time project between you, Calvin and a few spirited others? (a fox community within MS, as it were)

Actually YAG isn’t quite moving on. He’s reporting outside the division, but part of the deal is that he will continue to drive FoxPro. He’s taken over a large part of responsibilities from Ken Levy, our Product Manager and is committed to driving them.

I am partially on VFP, partially on VB and VS Professional Data scenarios. Calvin too: He’s partly working on LINQ and partly on VFP. Same with the spirited others: Aleksey and Richard.

3. The release of the xBase components into the community is an awesome step forward but it also lets people see some limitations.

We have always shipped XBase source. The EULA allowed developers to modify XBase for their uses. The only thing we changed is that we modified the EULA to allow developers to modify XBase and redistribute the components.

4. Will MS be including anything that’s ready from the SednaX group in the box? I guess what I’m asking is how does one go about getting something in the box as Dbi is doing with their activex controls.

We will not include anything in the box. Even DBi components will not ship with VFP. It’s just that they will be available from DBi to users of Sedna.

5.Craig Bailey posted a few things on rebranding and how to make FoxPro cool. I have to agree that VF.Net is likely out of the box – but how do you look at that level of approach from the community?

We are not looking at rebranding VFP.

6. How much have you been able to interact with the community and how can people get a hold of you?

Some. But I feel it is never enough. I’ve spent some time on the forums, including UT, I spoke at the MVP summit last year and got tons of good feedback from the MVPs, I spoke at SW Fox 05. In addition I get a significant amount of email from users.

7. The initial Sedna CTP was a bit of a disappointment to me at least because all it really did was encapsulate some technology that was already there but used the DotNet framework.

We have gotten both kinds of feedback. Some disappointment and some enthusiasm. Some users have sent me mail asking for more of this kind and we’ll be including some of that feedback in NET4COM.

8. You’ve been doing a great job with the letters to the community but what is Microsoft’s (and I guess, really yours and Calvins) message on FoxPro these days?

FoxPro continues to be a favorite of the community. Sedna’s focus is interoperability with other Microsoft products and technologies and we as a team want to make our developers be productive on those platforms. For the first time the team as adopted a transparent approach. I would encourage the community to use the CTPs and give us feedback about what more they would like to see in terms of how VFP might enable them to win their challenges as their users migrate and adopt emerging platforms.