What do you look for in a Developer Center?

Do you visit the MSDN Developer Centers?


Developer Centers are designed to be one of your first ports of call on MSDN. They are portals – guiding you to the newest technical information, keeping you informed and trying to help grow a “community”.


Ok, so in reality we all know that most of the time you reach MSDN by following a link from Goo.. er.. Search.Msn.com. But have you tried visiting a Developer Center to see what’s new in your particular field? 

  • If you do visit MSDN Developer Centers, which is your favorite and why?
  • If you don’t visit, what would encourage you to try them out?

What would your dream Developer Center be like? Would you expect to see the latest hardware and software news? A developer forum? Guest interviews? Blogs? Pages and pages and pages of C++ code? Some kind of mutant off-spring from Pocket PC ThoughtsEngadget and MSDN reference documentation? Feel free to post your comments!


As I work in the Mobile and Embedded Devices team, I’m looking in particular at the  Windows Mobile Developer Center, with a view to making it one of those select sites you visit every day. I'll draw the line at horoscopes and pictures of Drew Barrymore, but everything else is up for discussion...

Comments (6)

  1. Balaji K says:

    I visit the developer centers that are related to .Net. As of now, i have a suggestion based on my need. Right now, i’m interested in learning .Net 2.0. I would like the VS.NET 2005 developer center to be a one-stop resource for learning .Net 2.0. I would like to see a starting point and then step-by-step tutorials and quick starts and samples and articles for me to learn. As of now, i don’t think the information available is organized and methodical. This is what i have in my mind, right now. Thank You.

  2. John says:

    That’s a good point – learning materials are something we traditionally haven’t provided. It keeps the book publishers busy, but maybe we should focus on getting every one up to speed as well as the more advanced stuff…

  3. Jeff Parker says:

    I don’t know if DhtmlDude was a development center really but that was a spot I used to visit often.

    Here is why I liked it. It was usually useless projects that were fun things a developer wouldn’t do on a regular basis however they showed you how to do things in a fun way that after you did them you ended up learning something else. If you look back in reality the DHTML dude articles are really like some of the first blog posts from Microsoft. You were a little more connected to the developer and they were entertaining to read and not only that they taught you something as well. Like this article for example. http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/library/en-us/dndude/html/dude11272000.asp

    I guess the point of this what would make the development centers someplace a little more enjoyable and something we would go to is some of the development articles are very dry politically correct articles. Where is all the entertaining creative stuff you do.

    When I go here http://msdn.microsoft.com/netframework/ This page is way to busy. What I would like to see is something like this http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/library/en-us/dnanchor/html/netdevanchor.asp but with all those quick links there on the bottom to also have things to the blogs, to Dot Net Rocks Shows, Channel 9, Maybe links to one or 2 new articles. You need to balance out the fun of our jobs along with the work. Make the development centers a little less corporate and a little more developers. Every developer in the world has little quirks and something funny or odd about them. Just read the blogs here but no matter what language we program in, or what is our tools of choice or what all technologies we use, none of us are politically correct dry people. MSFT has been really loosening up and not apearing dry lately you see it in MS Press, the blogs lets loosen up the development centers as well.

    Now that may not be as loose as this but if developers can have their own comic strip then we can handle some humor in our developer centers. http://ars.userfriendly.org/cartoons/?id=20050301&mode=classic

  4. John says:


    I’m so with you on this.

    I’d love to move that developer center boundary between "entertaining" and "informative" a little more towards the former. In fact, I don’t see why it can’t be both at once.

    The point that we’re all in this together, we love code, but we aren’t robots is a good one. I guess we’ll see how far I can go before I’m fired and put on a ‘plane back to Ireland…

    In the meantime, anyone know any good computer-related jokes? The one about the lightbulb being a hardware problem is getting very old 🙂

  5. I’m with Balaji. I’d like to see the developer centers provide more of an overview and more reference materials and tutorials. Especially because the developer centers are one of the most prominent parts of the MSDN (and thus, one of the easiest things to find as a developer interested in Microsoft technologies), they should provide a center for everything related to that particular technology. The new and fun stuff should be somewhere else, on a site that feels more like a magazine (like say theserverside.net).

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