MSDN Annotations


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/>The
PDC saw the announcement of so many exciting new things, it was hard to keep track,
but everyone I talked to seemed to be having fun trying. After so many months of silence
from me, I suspect even most news aggregators have forgotten about me, but just in
case, today I’m going to talk about something that we opened up with the Longhorn
SDK documentation – the MSDN Annotation Service.


 

What
is it?

Shamelessly
lifted from http://lab.msdn.microsoft.com/annotations/annotations.aspx:


 

The Annotation Service
is the place for online discussion of MSDN content. Any comments and annotations relating
to a particular page are included at the bottom for reference. In addition to discussions
hosted by Microsoft, the Annotation Service can import information from sources external
to Microsoft, provided it is available in RSS 2.0 format.


 

Sara’s
been talking about
this too:


 

With
annotations, we use the docs on MSDN as a way to help organize all that other useful
information into a single place, so it’s easier to find what you’re looking for. Go
to the API reference, and you can also see errata, insight from the community, additional
samples, and the like, all in one place. The information comes from lots of difference
sources, but we can display it in a way that’ll make it easier for developers to find
what they need.


 

How
does it work?

Right
now, annotations are available on a limited set of content, namely the Longhorn
SDK documentation
. Visit almost any page in the SDK, scroll to the bottom, and
there behold the comments left by other users relating to that page. Got something
to say? Why not leave a comment or add some wisdom to an ongoing conversation.


 

All
public comments shown on these pages are also posted into the public Usenet newsgroup
microsoft.public.msdn.annotations.
Newsgroups are a great place for storing threaded discussions, exactly like those
seen in the annotations section. Imagine you’ve got a question about a specific API
or feature – you can post your question, as an annotation, to the WinFX SDK newsgroup.
Thanks to all of the great folks who hang out in the public newsgroups, chances are
your question is going to get the answer you need. Whenever someone posts a follow-up,
that answer is automatically picked up and displayed as part of the threaded discussion
back on MSDN; bringing answers back into the documentation for everyone.


 

Any
annotations made by Microsoft appear in both the public discussions area (so you can
tell us what you really think of our annotations 🙂 ), and also just above, reproduced
in full. This is the information you need to see – any errata notes, critical updates
or important messages are posted here in cases where it takes slightly longer to update
the documentation.


 

So
why is there something to install?

Well,
official Microsoft annotations and public discussions are only part of the story.
The exciting part begins when you can import annotations from anywhere around the
web. With a client-side .NET component, your browser can suddenly import annotations
from anywhere – public blogs, content management systems and intranet RSS feeds. But
that’s a topic for a separate post, so stay tuned.

Comments (4)

  1. Steven says:

    we absolutely have not forgotten about you!

  2. steven says:

    btw, those of us who do read via an aggregor get a link to the post at the bottom. following that link, of course, brings us here… but then from "here" there’s no link to your "home" or "current post" /index.html – that’s something that bugs me about most of the blogs.gotdotnet.com users. Is there a simple change to your template, or can you pass some feedback along to the authors; the "norm" would be to have your weblog title (your name, in this case) be a link, or to have a "home" link somewhere.

    thanks,
    Steven

  3. Andy Oakley says:

    Ah, good point. As a cheap fix, I’ve updated my template to link my name to the main page and forwarded this suggestion on..
    Andy

  4. Anonymous says:

    hoo-rah! thanks