A (Microsoft) code name a day: Sandcastle

It's day two of my "Code Name a Day" project here at "All About Microsoft." Today's entry: Sancastle.

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: Sandcastle

Best guess on what it is: A Microsoft-developed documentation-creation program for managed-code developers

Meaning/context of the code name: Microsoft reader Anand filled in the blanks for me. Sandcastle can trace its roots back to Coronado (a beach-themed code name referring to part of the Visual Studio 2005 Whidbey product). Read his full explanation on the Sandcastle blog here

Back story: Sandcastle, which is currently available to developers in Community Technology Preview (CTP) form, is aimed squarely at the .Net programming community.

Until fairly recently, many of these developers used NDOC, an open-source document compiler when creating their documentation. But NDOC wasn't available for more recent (version 2.0 and 3.0) versions of the .Net Framework. In fact, NDOC is actually dead, at this point, according to former NDOC project leader Kevin Downs.

Additional info: If you want to try generating Microsoft-Developer-Network (MSDN) style documentation for your own projects, you can download the November CTP release of Sandcastle. There are a number of Sandcastle add-in programs and projects hosted on Microsoft's CodePlex code-repository site, as well.

Got a 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.


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