December 2015

Volume 30 Number 13

Editor's Note - Goodbye, Kenny

By Michael Desmond | December 2015

Michael DesmondThey say things happen in threes. That’s been the case here at MSDN Magazine, where we’ve seen three big changes to our columnist lineup over the past month.

Things got started in November, when we welcomed Mark Michaelis on board as author of our new Essential .NET column, which focuses on C# and .NET Framework development issues and challenges. Then we learned that Modern Apps columnist Rachel Appel was returning to work at Microsoft and would no longer have time to write her column. Frank La Vigne—a Microsoft technical evangelist and an occasional MSDN Magazine author in his own right—will be helming Modern Apps starting in the January issue.

The third shakeup in our trifecta? Kenny Kerr, author of the long-running Windows with C++ column and a guy who has been working with MSDN Magazine going back to 2004, is ending his tenure as a columnist. Like Appel, Kerr has accepted a position at Microsoft, joining the Windows Engineering team to help produce a new Windows Runtime language projection for Standard C++.

Kerr has been manning an important flank here at MSDN Magazine, providing expert coverage of C++ programming. While most of our readership is committed to C# development (fully 70 percent identified C# as their primary programming language in our latest reader poll), C++ remains the primary language of 10 percent of MSDN Magazine subscribers. That makes it the second-most engaged programming language among readers.

Over the years, Kerr has written some of the most-widely read columns in the magazine. His piece, “The Evolution of Threads and I/O in Windows” (, in January 2013 was the fifth-most-viewed column we’ve published over the past five years, based on first-month traffic. Two other columns, “A Modern C++ Library for DirectX Programming” ( and “Using Regular Expressions with Modern C++” (, placed 12th and 14th, respectively, out of more than 450 total published columns over the time period. Not bad for a column that should appeal to, at most, 10 percent of readers.

Kerr’s favorite MSDN Magazine article, however, isn’t one of his columns. It’s the feature he wrote for the MSDN Magazine 2014 special issue on Visual Studio 2015 and Microsoft Azure, “Visual C++ 2015 Brings Modern C++ to the Windows API” ( Based on the Implements class template he wrote for Microsoft, it’s Kerr’s single-most-visited article going back to 2009.

“Implements is a variadic class template that implements IUnknown and IInspectable entirely with modern C++ metaprogramming techniques, rather than traditional macro-heavy approaches popularized by ATL,” Kerr says. “It was the first time I had written anything useful with variadic templates and proved to be quite novel and very effective. It is coincidentally one of the foundational metaprogramming constructs in Modern C++ for the Windows Runtime.”

Can you tell that we’re going to miss Kerr around here? There is a bit of good news to report: Kerr plans to return to our pages, writing the occasional C++-themed feature. And as Kerr puts it, our readers aren’t the only ones who benefit from his articles.

“There is simply no better way for me to truly understand some technology, language or technique than to have to try to explain it to someone else,” Kerr says. “I hope developers have benefited from my content, but I suspect I benefited the most.”

On the contrary. We’ve been fortunate to have you here for so long.

Michael Desmond is the Editor-in-Chief of MSDN Magazine