Update: Getting started Resources

A few days ago I posted about the many resources Microsoft makes available to developers and how we can improve on making them easy to find.
Nektar made a comment suggesting 5 points for Microsoft to help developers learning our technology. Proving my assumption that we do lots of things that developers are unaware of, here is a list of what we are already doing in regard to his suggestions:

1. Provide a free compiler suite containing all the commandline developer tools: cl.exe, linker, assembler, object dumper, prophiler, etc.
The .NET Framework 2.0 SDK is available on MSDN and “includes everything developers need to write, build, test, and deploy .NET Framework applications—documentation, samples, and command-line tools and compilers”

2. Make searching your site easier.
We are working on it, in fact, I blogged about a huge improvement in Search just days ago. Still we have lots of room to improve. The good news? Big improvements are coming, and some are very cool.

3. Aggregate all the beginner info and emphasize tutorials instead of large books. Teach us everything not only .NET. What about C++ Windows programming, MFC, etc?
Right, we need to do a better job at this. A first step in the right direction are the Getting Started pages in our developer centers, like this one for C++. Better search should help you find resources like this for learning MFC. (this was the first result when searching for “MFC” on MSDN)

4. Most importantly make sample code available which can be found easily by using search engines like Google. >
In late August we launched CodeGallery! a community site that enables developers to:
• Create a Micro-Community. Members can create a CodeGallery project, upload content such as binaries, source code, and whitepapers, customize their project portal with links to related projects, approve/deny membership requests, and generate online reports.
• Consume. At CodeGallery, you can search for, subscribe to directory updates (RSS), find useful scripts, tools, applications and other types of content, view recent project activity, and then download the best of what’s next in .NET applications such as PowerToys, tutorials, diagrams, and code.
• Contribute Feedback. Project members can discuss project contents using per-project message boards or log a bug against a project using integrated bug tracking tool.
• Refactor and Refine. Project owners can incorporate online community feedback into their offline development process and upload new releases for additional community input.
All sample code posted at CodeGallery or on any of our Codezone partner’s sites will be discoverable inside Visual Studio 2005 and on the MSDN site via the Codezone search results.

5. Also, make better forums were people can ask questions, report bugs and give suggestions. Currently, newsgroups are too impersonal and difficult to find and use by many.
Just launched a few months ago, the MSDN Forums at www.msdn.com/forums have tens of thousands of users. We are tracking how many people participate, average answer time for posts, total unanswered, and employee participation in the forums. There is a section to provide feedback on the forums.

The key takeaway for us is that these resources are still not easy to find. I hope you feel like we are making progress. At least you know we are listening. Please keep your feedback coming!

Comments (2)

  1. Anonymous says:

    Imagine you are a Win32 programmer looking for listview documentation. You type Listview into msdn search. What you get is hundreds of .NET listview entries. (and a link to the VC6 docs.. huh?). Google isn’t better in this case as you get a bunch of third-party tutorials. Hello Microsoft? You’re nowhere near done fixing MSDN search yet.

  2. MSDN Archive says:

    I agree, we are nowhere near done fixing search.

    But try this: Got to the VS2005 developer center, where we have the new search as a Beta, and type "Listview". The results are pretty good: the first results are spot on for me.

    We will keep working on fixing it.

    Thanks for your comment.

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