If you are a hunter and gatherer of guidance, you’ll want Guidance Explorer. Watch Video: How To – Personalize Team System Guidance with Guidance Explorer to see how you can use Guidance Explorer to build a custom collection of guidance from our Visual Studio Team System Guidance project. If you haven’t used Guidance Explorer before, or it’s been a while, you’re in for a surprise. Seriously.
Guidance Explorer is a free tool to help you browse, find, organize, or even create your own guidance. When you launch Guidance Explorer, it synchronizes with our online store. For example, today’s additions include a number of brand new Team System guidance items:
- 2 – Explained items
- 64 – FAQ items (these are actually our Questions and Answers)
- 43 – Mini How Tos (these are actually our Practices at a Glance)
- 6 – How Tos
My favorite Guidance Explorer features include:
- Create collections of your favorite guidance (custom views)
- Browse by checklists, code examples, how tos, guidelines (view by type)
- Filter for just security, performance or Team System (Filter by technology, topic or category)
- Share guidance among your teams (UNC share scenario)
- Build a customized guide or whitepaper on the fly with exactly the parts you want (Save to Word, HTML or XML)
- Create new guidance libraries and write your own personal guidance or checklists.
Keep in mind that Guidance Explorer is actually a diamond in the rough. It has its flaws, but it also has unique powers. For example, I could use Guidance Explorer to inform you of brand new, emerging security practices. I could also flag the top performance issues using the priority field. Imagine the alternative of hunting through a whitepaper or article, instead of organized collections and lists of actionable, guidance nuggets.
I know consultants that literally save themselves many hours per week by using Guidance Explorer as a personal knowledge base and for tailoring guidance for customers. I also know of customers using Guidance Explorer as a light-weight and effective way to share guidance among their development teams. It’s actually the type of tool where customers surprise me what they use it for.
While Guidance Explorer has nearly 1100 guidance nuggets at last count (across security, performance and .NET 1.1. and 2.0), you can quickly shrink the haystacks to find the needle that you need (Ed and I call this our Shrinking Haystack pattern). You can also discover relationships among the guidance, because related items are linked. Don’t take my word for it though, test drive it for yourself. Did I mention it’s free? Oh yeah, I should also mention it comes with source, so shape it to your heart’s content.
Go ahead and watch Video: How To – Personalize Team System Guidance with Guidance Explorer and then download Guidance Explorer. If you do use Guidance Explorer and you have a story you’d like to share, please leave a comment in this post.