A (Microsoft) code name a day: Cider

"Cider" is a Microsoft code name with an interesting origin. It all goes back to Windows Presentation Foundation, code-named "Avalon," and an apple-producing region of medieval England ....

Even though more and more teams at Microsoft seem to be shying away from christening their fledgling products with good, old-fashioned code names – favoring the ever-so-boring “V.Next” designation instead -- there are still some who are doing so.

Microsoft code names always have piqued my interest. They offer some great clues about the Redmondians’ development priorities, not to mention a better understanding of which future Microsoft products fit together, from a strategy standpoint.

code name
of the day:

In honor of Microsoft code-name junkies everywhere, I’m going to feature one, random Microsoft code name per work day for the rest of this month. I’ll provide as much information as I’ve been able to unearth on each, and attempt to provide some context as to how the team chose the name and how the forthcoming technology fits into the Redmond product hierarchy.

Microsoft code name of the day: Cider

Best guess on what it is: Visual designer for the Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), the new Windows graphics subsystem

Meaning/context of the code name: WPF was code-named Avalon. Avalon was the name of a part of England in medieval times known for its "particularly stout brand of hard cider," as explained by Brian Pepin, development lead on Cider. "Metaphorically, Avalon derives from the old Irish word 'Avaloch' meaning 'a place of apples,'" Pepin added.

Back story: Cider is a key component of Microsoft's broader strategy to enable designers and developers to work more closely together in building rich-client applications. The premise: Developers can continue to use Visual Studio controls to which they are accustomed to generate XAML code. Designers will rely on the related Windows "Blend" -- a k a "Sparkle -- product, currently in beta. (Meet-ups inside Microsoft between the Sparkle and Cider teams came to be known as "Sparkling Cider," Pepin noted.)

Additional info: It seems that Microsoft's latest goal is to make Cider an integrated part of the next version of Visual Studio, which is code-named "Orcas," and currently expected by company watchers to ship in 2007.

Anyone have any other details on Cider to share? Or have another Microsoft code name you’ve been wondering about? Send it my way and I’ll do my best to track down some leads on what it might be.

And if you want to keep track of the full month's worth of Microsoft code names I end up posting, bookmark this "Microsoft Codenames" page.