Community Interview with Jared Parsons (Beth Massi)

Beth Massi

Here’s another community interview from our Italian Visual Basic MVP Alessandro Del Sole, this time with Jared Parsons, a Developer on the VB Team. Jared is a great developer and loves the community. You can check out his personal blog here.

You can also check out the Visual Basic Team page for pictures and bios and visit the home page of the Visual Basic Developer Center for a link to all these interviews as well.

Here’s the interview with Jared:

1. Nice to meet you Jared Parsons! Let’s begin by asking a simple question: where are you from?

Born in Kentucky, raised in Tennessee, lived in Alabama for awhile, then back to Tennessee and went to college in Georgia. Usually I simplify it by saying I grew up all over the southeast.

2. We all know that you’re a Visual Basic Team member, but could we know something more about your role inside the Team?

I’m a developer in the VB team. I started out on the VB Compiler several years ago. Towards the end of Visual Studio 2008 I switched to the VB expression evaluator (aka debugger, watch, immediate window). This role expanded to other parts of the VB IDE experience including a lot of features users will be (hopefully) really excited about for the next release of Visual Studio.

3. What’s your favorite Visual Basic feature regarding the language and/or the IDE?

My favorite VB feature is usually whatever I’m implementing at the moment I’m asked this questionJ. Luckily I’m in between features at the moment so I can give an unbiased answer. XML Literals are my favorite VB feature. It really allows me to seamlessly integrate my data and queries into my application. I feel like I find a new way to use it every day.

4. How long have you been working for Microsoft and what was your occupation before joining the VB Team?

I’ve been working at Microsoft for 4 ½ years now. I joined Microsoft immediately after college in the in the Visual Studio Team System division. More specifically I was a developer on Team Developer and Team Architect. After shipping Visual Studio 2005 I was eager for new challenges. I spent a good deal of my time in college working on low level systems and being a teaching assistant for an introduction to compiler courses. I was interested in getting back to these roots. A job opened up on the VB compiler team and it was the perfect fit.

5. Why do you think VB is such a great language?

We have a tie here: flexibility and IDE. VB is an amazingly flexible language. It lends itself to whatever task I’m trying to do. On one end of the spectrum I have XML literals to work with my data and at the other end generics and lambda expressions to really geek out on a problem. The IDE support is also very good (I promise I’m not biased here). It’s really difficult to express everything the IDE offers to the programmer. The best way to understand though is to get out notepad and try and code up a VB application. That will really give you a handle on what the IDE is doing for you.

6. Have you ever been to Italy?

No but it’s definitely on the list of places to visit.

7. Would you like to tell us something about your life outside the office (how do you like to spend your free time, what do you like to do when/if you go out in the evening or when you’re at home and so on)?

Outside of work I still lead a largely geek lifestyle; lots of programming, blogging and book reading. I do manage to leave my geek role by playing a variety of sports. Right now I’m playing soccer (indoor and outdoor), softball and football. I’m not very picky when it comes to sports. As long as it’s athletic and preferably outdoors I’m there. It’s a great way to get release after a day of programming.

Of course there is the occasional Rock Band party as well.

8. Who is your favorite musician?

Much to my parent’s disappointment, I don’t have an ear for music (read that as 100% tone deaf). As a consequence my taste for music is … bad according to my friends. I prefer to think of it as blissful ignorance. On that note (pun intentional) I love a good punk album or some techno while coding.

9. What’s your favorite food?

The hands down winner here is French Fries.

Thank you very much for taking time to answer these questions and letting us know something more about you!


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