On the Road Again: An Interview with Richard Campbell

Richard Campbell and Carl Franklin took the time to answer some of our questions about .NET development, and its evolution over the years. Richard and Carl are travelling across the country on the .NET Rocks tour and will be making a stop at the 2012 Better Software Conference East in Orlando, Fl

Richard Campbell is a Microsoft regional director and is currently touring across North America alongside Carl Franklin in the .NET Rocks RV. Richard has more than thirty years of high-tech experience, he's one of the co-founders of Strangeloop Networks, and is the co-host of the .NET Rocks podcast which can be heard here.

Noel: What inspired the .NET Rocks road trip, and what's been one of your favorite highlights from the road so far?

Richard: What’s more fun than driving across the country and meeting folks that are passionate about development? This is actually our third road trip; the first one was in 2005, then again in 2010. They've all coincided with a new version of Visual Studio. And when you look at Studio 2012, combined with Windows 8, it’s a great time to be a developer—and a great time to get out and talk to developers!

As for a highlight moment, we’ve been pulled over in the RV twice so far… both times I think the police were more curious about this crazy rolling billboard of ours (the RV is covered in logos like a NASCAR). They ask us a few questions and in one case, asked for the website of the podcast! Everyone is interested in development these days, even police!

Noel: I see that on your road trip, a portion of each stop is being dedicated to demonstrating how modern applications can be built on the Windows platform. What kinds of demonstrations have you been able to do so far and will those vary between cities?

Carl builds a Windows 8 application from scratch over an hour and shows off a few other ones… we don't vary a lot from city to city, just refining the demonstration as we go. The unique content at each stop is the rock star we bring in. They are the ones we make a .NET Rocks or Tablet Show episode with.

Noel: Has .NET had to evolve with the immense rise in popularity of mobile apps, and if so, how has it addressed this shift?

Richard: .NET is always evolving—there’s been a version released every 18-24 months since 2002. The latest incarnation is .NET 4.5, which works with Windows 8 and WinRT to be able to build mobile apps for tablets as well as Windows Phone 8. At the same time, C#, the most popular language in .NET, has spread all over the mobile space. Of course you can build apps for Windows Phone with C#, but using Xamarin's MonoTouch and Mono for Android, you can use C# to build apps for iPhone and Android as well.

Noel: You guys are going to be stopping by the Better Software Conference East/Agile Development Conference East - how do Agile principles and methodologies fit in with developers using .NET?

Richard: The .NET Rocks audience is primarily .NET developers—and when we ask them, they say they’re building software using agile principles and methodologies. A number of the speakers at Better Software/Agile are past guests on .NET Rocks, and we're looking forward to interviewing more of them during the conference. Shows on agile are always popular on .NET Rocks.

Noel: Are there any main takeaways that you hope people who catch the tour are able to learn about what's going on with .NET, and is it too early to tell if you guys may do something like this again in the future?

Richard: There are a number of ideas we’re sharing with folks who come out to see us on tour—the big one is that this brave new world of modern apps isn't all that different from the world we've been in. Software is evolving, and our skills can evolve along with it.

Will we do a tour again? Yes, I think we will—there’s been a bit of an outcry from the UK and Europe about having us tour there… we'll see what happens!


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