Microsoft is a devices and services company these days. But the way the company (and most of its customers) build software still revolves largely around desktop tools.


There are forces inside Microsoft working to change that paradigm, however.

In a video clip from a July 17 “Future of Software Engineering Symposium”held in Redmond, Wash., one former Microsoft researcher shed light on efforts inside the company to get more teams at Microsoft to write software and services in the cloud. (Thanks to @h0x0d for the tweet with the link to the video.)

A year and a half ago, James Larus, the father of Microsoft’s Singularity operating system, andGalen Hunt, the head of OS research in Microsoft Research, started an initiative called “Cloud Build,” Larus told conference attendees. Larus said Cloud Build was “an attempt to get developers to write in the cloud, not on the desktop.” He noted that Google “does this already.”

Instead of meeting opposition, Larus said developers in Microsoft were excited about the idea after reading an internal white paper Larus and Hunt wrote on the topic. Many on product teams across the company wanted in on the research action, he said.

The sentiment was that going cloud would accelerate the software development process. “Artifacts” and tools could “live in the cloud,” Larus said. And testing and statistical analysis would be naturals for a cloud-first approach, he added. Cloud development would promote code reuse and make it easier for everyone to run on a common platform, Larus said.

Wolfram Schulte, another Microsoft researcher, built a team “outside Microsoft Research to build this out,” Larus said.

Schulte, according to his bio on the Microsoft Research site, is heading up a team called Tools for Software Engineers (TSE). TSE “is creating a future where Microsoft’s software engineering systems are considered best-in-class industry wide,” according to the TSE page on Microsoft’s site.

Microsoft is pushing to move its internal software development to the cloud

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