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How my team and I fit into Windows 7

by Brandon on August 18th, 2008

As you probably heard (if you’re reading this blog), Steven Sinofsky and Jon DeVaan recently launched the Windows 7 Engineering Team Blog.

This afternoon Steven made his second post on the blog, discussing the Windows 7 engineering organization.  He describes the rough dimensions of the various feature teams, including a pretty complete list of the teams and an idea of their approximate size (ballpark estimate being 40 developers, 40 testers, and 20 PMs).

If you look at his list you can spot my team, which goes by the name Find and Organize.  So who are we?  Well, as you might guess and Steven describes, we own the end-to-end Search features of Windows (the “find”) as well as the browsing and data management experience (the “organize”).  We often abbreviate this as “FnO” and many people pronounce it as “fff-no” (rhymes with “snow”), though I am not one of them.

Some examples of things we own:

  • The Windows Search indexer
  • The indexing configuration UI and the built-in filters / handlers
  • The Windows Explorer UI, including things like:
    • The navigation pane
    • Address / Breadcrumb bar
    • Search box
    • Window frame
    • The Filesystem data source
    • The default Shell View (DefView), default Context Menu (DefCM), etc.
  • The Explorer data source APIs (IShellFolder and friends)
  • Known folders and APIs (”Documents” and such), recycle bin, shortcuts
  • The common file dialogs
  • Some shared ownership of certain Windows “common controls”
  • Search in the Start menu

Whew, I often forget just how much stuff we own.  And my feature isn’t even on the list! 🙂  Oh yeah, did I mention we also owned the entire Windows Search 4.0 release?

We also aren’t the only team that “owns” the Explorer.  The Core User Experience team owns other pieces of Explorer like the taskbar and the rest of the Start menu.  You’ll often hear people from both teams refer to themselves as the “shell team,” or others refer to both teams collectively by that name.

So who makes up the FnO team?  Well, as I said, there are quite a few of us.  I’m certainly not the only one of us who blogs or has an online presence:

Jonas Barklund has a blog, he’s a developer whose focus is generally on query parsing.

Thayn Moore has a blog and is also a developer, and works on a bunch of stuff including, among other things, mail indexing.

Ben Karas has a blog and is a lead developer for most of the explorer UI.

Paolo Marcucci is a PM who doesn’t seem to blog these days, but posts on Channel 9 a lot.

I’m sure there are others I don’t know about.  So if you work on my team and have a blog, let me know.

As for me, well, you know where my blog is.  As for what I do every day… we’ll talk more about that soon enough.

Update: I saw a comment on Channel 9 ask about how we function with 40 developers on one team.  Well, the truth is these “feature teams” are actually divided into smaller teams that focus on closely related components.  So no, there isn’t really one manager with 40 developers reporting directly to him or her.

From → Life of Brandon

  1. dovella permalink

    Thx Brandon!!

  2. rm20010 permalink

    I think the URL for Jonas Barklund’s blog is wrong. 😉

  3. Hey Brandon,

    I like Vista and have found the new start menu an incredible productivity boost with integrated Windows Search.

    I used to use Launchy as my app launcher until Vista, then I discovered the start menu could function in just as good a way… except for one thing; Launchy learns what commands you are most likely to be wanting based on the couple keys you press, including errors… so for example typing “wodr” may get me “Word” to pop up. I think this would be a fantastic function for the Start Menu search to have, it’s a given that people are going to make typos whilst using it to launch apps…

    Also would love to see customizable explorer toolbar…sighh… tell me you don’t get annoyed when trying to turn hidden folders on! hahaha

  4. hoopskier permalink

    Find and Organize owns many/most of the common controls?! That doesn’t seem right, I’d think those would belong to “User Interface Platform” instead?

    Of course, Explorer is the primary consumer of most of the high-profile and complex controls like listview and treeview, and from what I can tell from looking at Vista API additions, its the primary driver for new features in those controls. So it does make some sense that the Explorer folks would own the controls themselves. Unfortunately, the result is that the controls aren’t designed to be full-featured and flexible enough for all apps, since a single consumer (Explorer) has too much influence on them.

    It makes me wonder what the UI Platform people are working on then… maybe they’re going to make the mysteriuos “DirectUI” public? (a man can dream…) I doubt it’s an unmanaged WPF, since (post-Longhorn-reset) WPF seems to be entirely owned by the Developer Division from what I can tell…

  5. Tim permalink

    I’ve installed Search 4 in Windows XP SP3, but it looks cr*p in Classic mode. Almost all our computers at work run XP in classic mode (I use High Color Plum), and Search 4 doesn’t visually integrate well.

    e.g. Set XP to Classic style, Plum color scheme. Right click the search icon in the task bar, choose Windows Search Options and have a look at the cr*ppy drive icon with a halo effect round it (and it’s not even the proper XP drive icon).

    Seeing as 3/4 of all Windows machines are still running XP the Search/XP combo will be around for a long time. It would be great if you guys can properly integrate Search 4 in XP. (BTW – have a look at Firefox 3m which does a fantastic job of visual integration depending on the platform on which it runs – XP/Vista/OS X/ Linux).

  6. Theo Stauffer permalink

    So you’re one of the guys responsible for the impossibility of configuring explorer views to suite one’s own tastes instead of, say, yours?

    Sometimes you guys at Microsoft just make me sad. Is it really so difficult to design a UI that is consistent?

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