Microsoft has launched yet another hybrid product-research lab -- this one focused on the development-tool arena.
Developer Division Senior Vice President Soma Somasegar blogged about the formation of DevLabs on October 23. Somasegar noted that some, but not all, of the DevLabs projects will come from Microsoft's Developer Division. From Somasegar's post:
"Most of these are projects that aren’t as solid in exact deliverables yet. Some of these projects will turn into features in our existing shipping products, some we will open-source for the community, others we will decide to not pursue. You are the ones that can help us determine what best suits your needs."
Like the other Microsoft incubators, DevLabs is about getting Microsoft devlier new technologies in a more agile way. From the DevLabs "about us" page:
"Here Microsoft teams are reaching out to broad developer audiences with new, developer-focused technologies well before they are officially released. Our goal is that many of these technologies will eventually be incorporated into Microsoft products in some form or another. Others may be retired or released into the shared-source community. Some projects highlighted here are already in a released state but they have new concepts within them that we are trying out, to see how developers react to them for possible inclusion in other Microsoft products. Some are in prototype packages that will evolve into larger, well known products."
There are currently four projects listed on the DevLabs site:
- Popfly, Microsoft's mash-up tool
- Small Basic, a programming language for beginners
- PEX (Program Exploration), an automated "white box" testing tool for .Net from Microsoft Research
- CHESS, the Microsoft-Research-developed concurrent-programming test tool