Community Interview with Jonathan Aneja (Beth Massi)

Beth Massi

Continuing the community interviews from our Italian Visual Basic MVP Alessandro Del Sole, this time we interview Jonathan Aneja, VB Compiler Program Manager.

Remember that you can take a look at 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 Jonathan:

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

Toronto, Ontario – one of the few places in Canada that’s actually *south* of Seattle šŸ™‚

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 work on the compiler/runtime as a “Program Manager” (yeah, I don’t know what that means either :-)). Every week’s different, but typical stuff would include writing specs and taking notes in our language design meetings, dogfooding the product a lot to find bugs, prototyping features, and working with teams like ASP/MSBuild on how the compiler integrates with them. Even did some test automation back in Orcas!

I think the most important part of the PM role is understanding the customer and being able to “think like a VB developer”. Thankfully I’ve always been one – used every version of the product other than VB2 and VB5!

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

Probably the background compiler. Case insensitivity too šŸ™‚

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

Graduated in June 2005 and started as a contractor working in ISV Advisory Services. After about 9 months of that I moved out here to Redmond to join the VB team – 2.5 years and counting so far…

5. Why do you think VB is such a great language?
I think it’s really approachable and readable. It uses simple English terms like “Or” rather than requiring a beginner to learn a symbol like “|”. The IDE provides a ton of productivity features like Error Corrections and an amazing IntelliSense experience. The VB App Framework provides things like the My Namespace and application-level events automatically instead of making you wire all that up.

Features like “Handles” give you a powerful way to deal with events while abstracting away more advanced concepts like delegates. There’s still full support for delegates when you need to dive deeper, but for the simple case it reduces the concept count that the developer has to deal with. That’s a big part of the language’s philosophy: keep the number of concepts you have to remember low. This lets you focus on actually solving your business problem instead of learning every nuance of the compiler.

6. Have you ever been to Italy?

No but I’d love to visit someday šŸ™‚

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)?

I really like Basketball, strategy board games (Settlers, Powergrid, Risk etc), and music. I’m also really interested in solutions to 3rd world poverty and organizations likes Compassion International.

8. Who is your favorite musician?

Impossible to pick just one, but I’ll try to keep it to three: Chris Tomlin, Hillsong, and Casting Crowns

9. What’s your favorite food?

Chicken Tikka Masala

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


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