w00t! I got a MSDN subscription!

Talk about holiday gifts! I entered a contest sponsored by the TechTrax EZine (my favorite subscription alongside the electronic version of the Whole Dog Journal…). My name went into the hat, and came out as runner up winner #1.

So now, I get unfettered access to, well among other things, Access 2007…

Why is this so exciting to me? Three letters: XML.

Yes, I am an XML junky. I’ve been working as an XML consultant, analyst, or architect in content management workflows for 11 years now. If there’s one thing I have had access to, it’s information about XML, and tools with which to manipulate XML. I’ve written Schemas and stylesheets, and worked my way through understanding the fact that XML can be used to create functional languages in addition to static vocabularies.

But I never really got the chance to really examine XML in Microsoft products until last year when I was asked to stuff a square peg into a round hole – that is, to use Excel 2003 to do something that really needed to be done in InfoPath, which eventually led to my employer’s adoption of an InfoPath-based solution. Then I went to TechEd 2006, and learned about all the cool things that were coming with the new versions of Sharepoint Services and Sharepoint Server. After that, I got to examine every inch of Word 2003 XML in order to figure out exactly how styles, list templates, and actual lists come together under the hood, in Word. Looking back, it seems that I’ve begun to immerse myself in Microsoft’s take on XML, and it would seem that I’ve been hooked…

But to really get to the XML in Microsoft’s products, you really need hands-on experience with the software. I’m looking forward to using the products included in the MSDN Subscription as learning tools for Microsoft products to which I have not previously had access. Sharepoint Services and Sharepoint Server are definitely on the list. But so is SQL Server and .Net in general. I wanna build my own server! I wanna get in there with administrator privileges! I wanna see what I can make this stuff do from all angles – not just from the end user’s perspective. In short, my very own MSDN Subscription will give me access to software that most corporate employees don’t get access to unless they’re a). actually responsible for the day-to-day care and feeding of a system, or b). have IT-level administrator access.

This is so cool! I finally get to take things apart and see how they work, without pestering the IT department!

Oh The Power! The Power! Buwah-Ha-Ha-Ha!!!


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