Microsoft Developer Guidance Maps

As part of creating an "information architecture" for developer guidance at Microsoft, one of the tasks means mapping out what we already have.  That means mapping out out our Microsoft developer content assets across Channel9, MSDN Developer Centers, MSDN Library, Code Gallery, CodePlex, the All-in-One Code Framework, etc.

You can browse our Developer Guidance Maps at

One of my favorite features is the one-click access that bubbles up high value code samples, how tos, and walkthroughs from the product documentation.  Here is an example of showcasing the ASP.NET documentation team’s ASP.NET Product Documentation Map.  Another of my favorite features is one-click access to consolidated training maps.  Here is an example showcasing Microsoft Developer Platform Evangelism’s Windows Azure Training Map.

Content Types
Here are direct jumps to pages that let you browse by content type:

Developer Guidance Maps
Here are direct jumps to specific Developer Guidance maps:

The Approach
Rather than boil the ocean, so we’ve used a systematic and repeatable model.  We’ve focused on topics, features, and content types for key technologies.   Here is how we prioritized our focus:

  1. Content Types: Code, How Tos, Videos, Training
  2. App Platforms for Key Areas of Focus: Cloud, Data, Desktop, Phone, Service, Web
  3. Technology Building Blocks for the stories above:  ADO.NET, ASP.NET, Silverlight, WCF, Windows Azure, Windows Client, Windows Phone

The Maps are Works in Progress
Keep in mind these maps are works in progress and they help us pressure test our simple information architecture (“Simple IA”) for developer guidance at Microsoft.  Creating the maps helps us test our models, create a catalog of developer guidance, and easily find the gaps and opportunities.   While the maps are incomplete, they may help you find content and sources of content that you didn’t even know existed.  For example, the All-In-One Code Framework has more than 450 code examples that cover 24 Microsoft development technologies such as Windows Azure, Windows 7, Silverlight, etc. … and the collection grows by six samples per week.

Here’s another powerful usage scenario.  Use the maps as a template to create your own map for a particular technology.  By creating a map or catalog of content for a specific technology, and  organizing it by topic, feature, and content type, you can dramatically speed up your ability to map out a space and leverage existing knowledge. (… and you can share your maps with a friend 😉

Comments (2)

  1. alikl says:

    Mapping technique qas verry useful for me – it helped me to understand specific technology better and it indeed handy when sharing with friends 😉

  2. J.D. Meier says:

    @ Alik — That's great to hear.  It might seem simple, but even just knowing how to chunk up large lists can really speed things up.

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