Welcome to the Spotlight Behind SQL Server, a new series from SQLServerCentral.com. As we've grown and spent more time covering SQL Server, we've slowly gained a number of contacts inside Microsoft, including those that develop the product. And we decided to try and interview the SQL Server people inside Microsoft. There are lots of people working on SQL Server 2005 and our goal to is to eventually get to them all.
We know that there are lots of technical things we could ask, and lots of easy marketing questions we could get from them, but you probably read most of those questions elsewhere. So we thought we'd make them think a bit more and get some interviews that showcased the people behind SQL Server. To that end, these interviews will be a little bit different and give you a look at the amazing team that builds SQL Server.
We caught up with Richard Waymire, longtime member of the SQL Server development team just as he was finishing the new Visual Studio Team Edition for Database Professionals.
SSC : What's your official title and responsibility at Microsoft?
Richard : Program Management Architect for Visual Studio Team Edition for Database Professionals. I work on features, futures planning, strategy and direction for the product.
SSC : What part of SQL Server 2005 did you really enjoy working on?
Richard : I spent the vast majority of my time in SQL Server 2005 working on management tools. I think I enjoyed query editor the most in retrospect.
SSC : What happened to Intellisense?
Richard : It's something we're very interested in doing in a future release - there just wasn't time to get it into v1 of the product.
SSC : Is there a reason a standalone, lightweight editor like Query Analyzer wasn't released?
Richard : Our focus is on providing an integrated solution into Visual Studio, and improving the editor experience inside the shell.
SSC : What are some of the advantages of the VSTS for DB Pros product over SSMS and the other SQL Server 2005 tools?
Richard : We're complimentary, with different features. If you're working on t-sql schema development, you should be using DB Pro because you get design time validation, storing invalid interim states, source control, and team sharing. If you're doing management or administrative tasks, then SSMS is the place to be. If you're using a query editing experience either tool should work for you. We're not trying to replace SSMS, but rather address SQL in the application development lifecycle.
SSC : How long have you been working on SQL Server?
Richard : 7 years
SSC : How has the team grown over that time?
Richard : Our team is about 1 year old. We're just about 50 people, and have remained fairly steady in overall numbers since we ramped up. From a SQL Server perspective, wow, there's something like 5 times as many people in the group now compared to when I started. The growth has been remarkable!
SSC : What have you enjoyed most about SQL Server?
Richard : It's a great group of really bright people to work with. I learn something every day from the people around me, and that includes the community. The MVPs, the trainers, the customers are just great to work with.
SSC : Give us a little background on yourself, how did you get into computers?
Richard : I got a BS in Math/Computer Science from the University of Puget Sound. My freshman year I had planned on being an engineer, but both my roommates were into computers and they didn't have to study as much as me, so I switched.
SSC : Did you see yourself as a programmer/developer when you were growing up?
Richard : No, although I do remember programming a TRS-80 to do my algebra homework as well as writing games when I was in Junior High school.
SSC : Any early programming attempts that you're particularly proud of?
Richard : Nothing stands out. Once I fell in love with databases that was it for most of my non-sql programming :-)
SSC : How do you like living in Redmond?
Richard : I grew up in Oregon so it's basically the same here.
SSC : Who's the most fun to work with at Microsoft?
Richard : I don't have one single answer. I enjoy many of my colleagues here. It's one of the best things about working here.
SSC : We've all heard stories of some characters at Microsoft. Any interesting ones that stunned you or surprised you when you first went to work in Redmond?
Richard : :-) When I first started there were a lot of characters around... Certainly Pat Helland always got my attention with his "crackling fire" in his office.
SSC : What's the crackling fire?
Richard : To always get better and build great products that people will want to use.
SSC : Ever been to Bill Gates' house?
Richard : Nope
SSC : What's your current favorite tech gadget?
Richard : My current favorite is the PPC-6700 phone from Sprint. I love the very portable high speed internet access.
SSC : What does Richard like to do when he's not working on SQL Server?
Richard : I'm active with my daughters in Girl Scouts as an outdoor specialist. I also enjoy video games and reading history/theology.
SSC : What type of outdoors events do you enjoy?
Richard : Fishing, Hiking, Snowshoeing, Cross-country skiing
SSC : Favorite video game?
Richard : World of Warcraft at the moment...