Welcome to the 45th Community Convergence. I recently reached the two year mark here at Microsoft, and that means it is probably time for me to run some changes on my now familiar routines. In this post I'll begin that process by taking Community Convergence in a new direction.
In the past, this column has been used to report on the latest writings by members of the C# team and our immediate community. Overall, that has been a good strategy, but recent changes on the C# Dev Center have made me look for a new approach.
You may have noticed an increase in the feed aggregation technology being used on the Dev Center. As you probably know, an RSS feed contains a series of links to what are often disparate but related posts. Users can subscribe to a feed, and have the posts in the feed brought to their inbox, their browser, their desktop, their phone, their Zune, or some other location.
There are now several feeds on the Dev Center main page, two of which contain the kinds of posts that I have traditionally collected in Community Convergence:
- The Featured Content feed is one that I manage directly, and as such it most directly takes the place of the old style Community Convergence posts. It contains content that I think is interesting, focusing primarily on material created by the C# team. You can subscribe to this feed by clicking here. The content in this feed is now also sent directly to the default C# Start Page in Visual Studio. (From the VS menu, choose View | Other Windows | Start Page.)
- The section entitled C# Team and Community Blogs on the front page of the Dev Center is also a feed, but unfortunately you cannot subscribe directly to it at this time. Instead, you can read it on the front page of the Dev Center. This feed picks up on the tags from several blogs written both by C# team members and by prominent C# community members. When Matt Warren, Luca Bolognese, Eric Lippert, Jared Parsons or other teams members write a new blog post, it should show up in this list shortly after they publish. Several Microsoft MVPs, such as Bill Wagner and Mark Michaelis, can also mark posts to appear on this feed. We have recently added a few Developer Evangelists to this list as well.
A primary reason for adopting these feeds is to keep the content on the Dev Center fresh. We also want to allow you to subscribe to feeds so that the latest C# content can be delivered directly to your desktop.
There are other feeds on the Dev Center that you may have noticed. These include:
- The Visual C# Code Gallery Samples: Code Gallery is a relatively new tool designed to replace the now defunct GotDotNet site. It allows team and community members to upload and download sample code and some related resources. You can find lots of interesting source code on this site, as well as other useful information such as white papers.
- There is also a CodePlex feed on the front page of the Dev Center. It lists recent and popular projects hosted on the CodePlex site. On CodePlex you will find projects to which the community can contribute via check-in to an online source control tool, while Code Gallery is meant for projects that are developed by one person or group and simply posted for download. Both sites allow contributions from either Microsoft employees or community members, and both sites contain lots of source code. A number of significant projects, such as IronPython, are released via CodePlex, and using this feed to keep an eye on what is happening on that site is always a good idea.
Finally, the feed tool that I use to maintain the Featured Content list can also be used to create custom lists. I've taken advantage of that functionality and created a list that will contain only content posted by the CSharp team. This means that only posts by people who are or who have been members of the CSharp team can appear on this list. I created that list this morning, so it is still fairly short, but you can click here to get started using it. I try to post only technical content in the Featured Content list, but I will use this list to link to any content produced by team members, whether it is technical or not. For instance, I'll add this Community Convergence post to that feed.
I should thank Beth Massi, John Molloy, Amar Shah and Kerby Kuykendall who did so much to drive the adoption of feeds and new tools like Code Gallery on the Dev Center. We all worked together on these projects but Beth, John and Kerby were always on the front lines manning the barricades.
Well, I'm done. I've written my first "new style" Community Convergence post. The idea for this particular post was worked out by John Boylan and myself, who is my contact at MSDN. I wouldn't have written it, however, if I didn't have some ideas for future posts. So watch this space to see if can actually come up with some ideas to keep moving this column in a new direction.