Hejlsberg: Yes. All of what I'm talking about is beyond Whidbey. But the thing that's interesting about Whidbey is that in Whidbey we are laying the groundwork for a lot of this that I'm talking about now. For example, C# now supports generic types that I just talked about, and it turns out that in order to really do some of this deep integration that I'm talking about, you need types that can be parameterized because otherwise the type system isn't rich enough. Another thing that C# 2.0 adds is nullable types ... All of those things are sort of cornerstones for the next level of progress that we can make into this domain of better integrating data with programming languages.
InfoWorld: What is your take on Java and where that's going? Do you believe that there'll always be Java and .Net or is one going to defeat the other? What accommodation is Microsoft making for Java, especially since you're supposed to have this relationship with Sun Microsystems now?
Hejlsberg: Right. It's hard for me to say what's going to happen longer term with these two. I certainly think that if you look at where we were five years ago with .Net and where we are now, I mean effectively .Net didn't really exist five years ago, and at this point I think anyone will say that we're at least neck and neck and maybe even we're starting to actually pass them in terms of adoption. So I think we've made tremendous inroads with .Net. I think we've had the right strategy for creating a multilanguage run time as opposed to a run time for our single programming language. I think that has really panned out and has been the right strategy for us and for our customers. I think going forward, it's interesting that Microsoft in many ways is positioned to, for example, better solve the problem that I've just talked about than say Sun is with Java. One of the things that's interesting about the problem I was talking about earlier is that it isn't specifically just a thing that you do in a programming language. How do you get better integration? Well, it involves your data stack, it involves your programming languages, it involves the run-time infrastructure, etc. It's very hard for Sun to address the whole issue because they don't have a database that they could better integrate with their programming language, for example. The opportunities that we can pursue, [for example], deep integration, are what I think will set our platform apart going forward.
InfoWorld: What is your take on Eclipse and the Eclipse Foundation and Eclipse IDE? At this point Eclipse has Sun and Microsoft not participating and everybody else pretty much is. What does that mean?
Hejlsberg: Eclipse is an open source project built around the Java platform, so I don't think it's so surprising that we're not partaking there. I would say we're competing there, and I think we're competing quite well with Visual Studio. A lot of the features you see in Visual Studio 2005 bring us not just neck to neck, but ahead of Eclipse, and I think it's healthy to have competition. As always, it's going to keep us on our toes and it's going to keep them on their toes.
InfoWorld: But you have to spend money for Visual Studio and you can download Eclipse for nothing.