What should be on your Start Page?


In the grand Microsoft tradition of “if you complain about or suggest something you own it” I’ve been asked to organize actual updates to the VS 2002 and 2003 start page.  We have the ability to prop new content to the “What’s New”, “Online Community”, “Headlines”, and “Downloads” tabs.  We should also be able to add new tabs or remove exiting ones if we want to.  Within these main tabs we can also add to or remove the sub tabs. Obviously we’ll be putting up some headlines highlighting the upcoming community drops, but beyond this I’m interested in knowing what sort of content would interest you?




What updates would make you want to check these pages from time to time?




Would valuable to you if we added the ability to show RSS feeds in the Start Page?




For inspiration I’ve attached a picture of the VS 2003 start page to this post. 

Comments (23)

  1. Mr Dave says:

    I think it would be nice if the ability was there to put something that is organization specific – e.g our "Internal Resources"

  2. Luc Cluitmans says:

    This may not be the answer you are after, but anyway…

    Start page? That’s the faster way to open recently open solutions, isn’t it? 🙂 In fact I only use it as such, just using the ‘projects’ tab, because I often need to switch between different solutions, and the start page works faster than digging up two menu levels in the file menu, it shows more information about the solutions than just their name.

    It would be nice if the projects tab would be slightly more customizable though: make the list sortable by last time any source file in any project in the solution was modified (not just last time the solution itself was modified as in the VS2003 start page, and not ‘last time opened’ as in the MRU list hidden in the File menu).

    And it would be nice if the solution list would update itself, and not be frozen at the state it was when starting VS2003 (or did I miss a hidden ‘refresh’ button?) – Wasn’t that actually the behaviour in VS2002?

  3. Anon says:

    You could remove the "Check for Visual Studio .NET Service Packs" as it seems a tad superfluous.

  4. Marauderz says:

    For me the problem with the start page is… it slows down the launch of VS.Net.. A LOT! I have it disabled as I’m sure a lot of other people do in order to speed up the launch of the IDE.

  5. Gregor Suttie says:

    How about a link to the patterns and practices website url?

    An perhaps the individual msdn area ie architecture/web services/data centres

    Cheers

    Gregor

  6. quite frankly: i disabled the startpage. if i start vs, what i want to do is debug or code. i don’t want to check for ‘security updates’ (windows update does this just fine), i don’t want to look for vs updates (_if_ there _ever_ is one, i’m sure i’ll find out via msdn rss or suchlike.) maybe i’m wrong and there is a use for it, but so far i haven’t found it.

    WM_MY0.02$

    thomas woelfer

  7. One thing that seems wrong with this design is that you have four levels of nested tab controls. Even if it is obvious which tab control each item is linked to, it still seems like bad design. Unfortunately, I can’t see an obvious alternative to this (but perhaps the app wide tab bar is not needed when the start up page is showing).

    In a similar area, why is the item on the file menu “Recent Projects” rather than “Recent Solutions”. I have occasionally found myself slightly lost in the menu looking a solution I recently used (although it I think that might be me rather than Visual Studio that is at fault).

  8. Paul Lamb says:

    If there’s going to be an "Updates" tab, make it useful. Like actually showing me that there are updates and what they are (RSS feed?). Then give component vendors a way to register themselves on the "Updates" page so I can be notified in one central place. And then maybe put some indicator on the tab that I need to look at it.

    With that said, I agree with the other posters. I’ve disabled the start screen just because of the horrid amount of time it takes.

  9. AndrewSeven says:

    The Start Page gets the same treatment as dynamic help.

    I send it away and don’t let it come back.

  10. jledgard says:

    Luc – Yes, the behavior did change for the worse in VS 2003. No, you did not miss a hidden refresh button. We are working on a plan to make the MRU functionality much more in lines with user expectations in whidbey however.

  11. jledgard says:

    Anon – We’ve heard that one before and I agree.

    Marauderz/Andrew – Perf is a problem that I won’t be able to fix, but it is one of the top concerns for any new start page we build based on the overwhelming feedback we’ve gotten to the effect of "It’s slow, I turned it off".

  12. jledgard says:

    Gregor – Yeah. I was thinking that at a minimum we should populate it with links that we are actually pushing on MSDN ala the Dev centers.

  13. Steve Hiner says:

    I want to second Paul’s suggestion for letting component vendors add their updates to the page.

    I’d actually look at the start page if it was an easy way to find out if any of my components had new versions available.

    I’d also love to see some RSS support. Nothing is going to compete with SharpReader but a limited RSS reader would be great for choosing what I think is worth putting on my start page.

    If the RSS feeds were customizable it could take the place of the vendor updates since we could work to convince the vendors that they should have an RSS feed for component updates.

  14. josh ledgard says:

    I’m working on one project that would add an RSS feed as an add-in for the start page, but unfortunity we can’t just beam that one down. And simple rss integration is a possibility for whidbey.

  15. guoqi zheng says:

    what can I want from it?

    The only thing I want is just have more than 4 projects here. By default, it only shows 4 projects there, and I never find any "help" to make it more than 4.

    if someone know aobut it, please kind enough to send an email to info at meetholland dot com.

    What I want is very simple. Thanks in advanced.

  16. Yes, I was one of the testers for the Start Page in Visual Studio 2002 and 2003. There are a LOT of good

  17. sunnf says:

    Automation server can’t create object