PowerToys 2.0 Site Priorities Draft

Today I took a stab at creating a prioritized feature list for the 2.0 version of the site.  If I missed something or you think I have the ranking wrong let me know. 

Note: It is not a goal of ours to provide a tool upload mechanism.  Tool downloads will be hosted on another site provided by the owner of the tool.

P1 Features - Can’t live without them

  • User Submitted Tools - Ability for registered users to place their tools in the listing. This is support for basic addition of meta-data such as the description, title, and link to download page.
  • Single Tool View – View all the details and comments from a single tool.
  • Multiple Tool view – A results list view of tools for easy browsing of multiple tools.
  • Category Browsing - Ability to browse for tools based on categories.
  • Basic User Ratings of Tools - When viewing a single tool anyone can provide a 1-5 rating of the tool.
  • New Additions RSS Feed - RSS Feed of X most recent tool additions.
  • Tool Deletion – Ability for site moderator or tool owner to delete a tool from the listing.
  • Tool Attribution - Multiple attributes that help describe the tools that are entered when a tool is submitted. (Is the source code provided?  What level of support is provided for the tool? What is the cost? Etc)

P2 Features –Could ship V1 without, but would harm functionality

  • User Authentication - To allow tool listings.  Anyone can read to the site, but we’ll have authentication to submit new tools and allow for moderators.
  • Submission Moderation - Before a tool submission or update is live it must be approved by a moderator.
  • User Comments on Tools - When viewing a single tool anyone can provide a short text comment about the tool.
  • Highest Rated View/RSS Feed - View of the highest rated or visited tools.
  • “My Submitted” Tools list - List of tools you have submitted to the repository.
  • Recent Updates RSS Feed - RSS Feed of X most recent updates to tools
  • Tool Owner Provided RSS Feeds - Ability for people who submit tools to list RSS feeds that relate to the specific tool such as a releases feed, a blog focused on the tool, or a news feed for the tool.
  • Tool Subscription – Subscribe to updates to a specific tool
  • Broken Link reporting – Send a message to site moderators that a links to specific tools are broken.

P3 Features – Features we should have, but are not vital

  • Download Click-Thru Count - How many times has someone used the download link on a specific tool.
  • Per Tool View Count - How many page views has a particular tool page had.
  • Text Search - Ability to search on tool keywords, titles, and descriptions.
  • Ratings for tool posters - Ability to rate the people who submit the tools.
  • View by Tool Provider Company -  Ability to attribute tools based on company of origin. This will allow users to find all the tools provided by one company.  It will also allow companies to view all of the tools they have submitted.
  • Screenshots - Ability to provide the URL for one or more screenshots for your tool.
  •  “My Watch list” - Ability to add tools to a watch list that would be viewable to you when you log into the site. You could also subscribe to an RSS feed for updates to these specific tools.
  • Tool Expiration - Ability to have tools hide themselves in the listings after a while with no activity or positive ratings.  Force the author to renew the listing if they want to keep it there. (From AT in my comments)

P4 Features – Nice to have

  • Send Tool Owner a Message – Send a message to the owner of a tool.
  • Tool Community Stats - Stats on the site home page that list the number of tools, users, posts, etc.
  • “My Recently Visited” Tools list - Auto created list of the tool entries you have most recently visited.

Comments (10)
  1. AT says:


    I do not understand purpose for this site.

    It will be VS IDE-only tools ?

    Or anything starting from code-generators to components ??

    In case if IDE-only I suspect it’s too many features for this site as I do not see too many free IDE-tools. And there is already little catalog for VSIP on http://www.vsippartners.com/search/AdvancedSearch.aspx

    In case if all kinds of components and tips – then site will be bloated pretty fast with a little value utilites.

    Also there is already a lot of sites for this purpose like a http://www.codeproject.com/ and http://www.gotdotnet.com/community/usersamples/

    as well as http://www.gotdotnet.com/community/resources/

    GotDotNet User Samples section already has nearly everything from feature list above, with a little changes you can add separate category or screenshots/detailed descriptions. Even more – it allow uploads !!!

    It pretty clear that no separate site must be created.

    In case if you still decide to implement site from ground-up – consider an expiration feature (P4-nice to have). All tools must have a limited time to be available on site. This way valuable will stand, while useless will be removed/expired (but possibly available for search with some flag)

    Just a note – as a No 1 priority I wish entire GotDotNet take all the best from generic Microsoft site look&feel/layout/design/usability and better integrate into msdn.microsoft.com to increase users awareness.

    Currently there is at least 3 sources of code samples supported by Microsoft – GotDotNet, msdn.microsoft.com/code and (I’ve never seen before) VSCodeSwap.Net

    One more – ASP.NET is looks like okey – as it’s a fine-tuned specialised site.

    What is a reason for so many of them ?

    You are spending resources for no additional value.

    There is more duplicates – GotDotNet message boards vs. Microsoft newsgroups.

    It exactly the same that having two sites – WindowsUpdate and OfficeUpdate doing similar job while users need to know about both of them to success.

    I may even propose to have a single one-stop site agreegating all available resources from Microsoft, as well as outside one.

    NOTE: This is my current opinion. It’s provided "AS IS" and may change without notice ;o)

  2. josh ledgard says:

    Thanks for the feedback. From your comments it’s clear that I need to clear up the mission for this site so that I can get the point across without more explanation. What I’m after is really a mix of the GDN user samples site and the VSIPpartners site you mentioned with a focus on tools that make developers more productive. I’ve had tool and add-in developers tell me they would like a place, similar to the existing powertoys site for them to list their stuff as well. I believe that sites out there now mix this type of content all too often with the samples. Internally we have a site called “Toolbox” that serves this purpose but I’ve never found anything with as sharp a focus externally that lets people share these types of productivity enhancing tools.

    Feedback like this is part of the reason I’ve wanted to float the idea publicly. You guys are great at spotting BS. Perhaps I should spend a little time creating a couple of mock-up screens that would get the point across a little better than I have so far.

    I’ve actually thought of expanding on the GDN user samples code before and, at a minimum, it still might be useful to do so. I really like your idea of some sort of expiration flag to be applied to tools to keep the volume manageable. Done right I think it’s probably higher than a P4.

    Downloads: I’ve gone back and forth on this one. The problem I have is that it requires the authors to make sure the current download is always the most recent. For example: If I was to upload the VB Commenter 1.1.1 release and 1.2 came out I’d have to upload 1.2 to the site again. If all the site does is point to the workspace releases page then the user will have the option to get any of the releases and I don’t have to maintain my entry manually as often. The second problem I see with downloads is that some partners may prefer people have to go through their site for many reasons that may include a click through agreement, having to purchase a license first, or just to ensure visitors go to their site so that they own the end customer experience.

  3. josh ledgard says:

    You also commented about the duplicate efforts you’ve seen already between GDN and msdn. To this I can say that it is a big concern internally and there are people who would like to consolidate several of the msdn/gotdotnet efforts. You can see a migration starting to take place already. For instance there used to be a VB “Team Page” on GDN and a VB page on MSDN. There is now the VB Developer center on MSDN that took the place of the team page on GDN. It’s going to be a slow evolution, but we are working on it.

    Give me a few more posts. And if you still think it’s a bad idea, let me know.

  4. AT says:

    I may add a note – sometimes (rare) duplicate efforts pay itself as nobody know how actualy something must be implemented and you may compare two different implementations.

    GDN site can have some features/advantages not available on MSDN, and vise versa.

    But this is not that case. At least from user (my) point of view.

    Also I would like to make a note – VSIP (as well as others) partners expect some co-marketing opportunities in return for their invesments in Microsoft products. I do not see anything like this in current draft.

    Partners must be able to separate their product offers from freely uploaded/linked one.

    This kind of separation must show limited Microsoft support from completely unsupported one.

  5. Dylan Greene says:

    Look at popular file download sites and copy that format. Easy to browser index, searches, screenshots, links simular items, etc.

  6. josh ledgard says:

    Can I ask what your Favs are?

  7. josh ledgard says:

    My original thinking was that VSIp partners would get to keep the site they currently have and that they would not have any additional co-branding on this site outside of the ability to list and have their tools rated as well. I’ve been interested in letting hobbyist developers get the word out about their add-ins and packages in a way they have not yet been able to do so. The need for this has become even more important now that VSIP is an open platform. Thoughts?

  8. Steve Hiner says:

    What about macros. I haven’t reviewed the history of this discussion (outside this thread at least) but I’d love to have a place that people could post their VS macros.

    Right now the macro features in VS are underused because we all have to create our own or hunt them down on the web. With a localized place to post macros we could improve VS without having to wait for VS 2005.

  9. jledgard says:

    I should have included Macros in the list as well. It’s come up other times as well in my discussions with people.

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