This is my first time attending TechEd, and I didn’t expect it to be the tremendous experience it’s been so far. Derek, a tester from my team, Tom Archer, a fellow Program Manager, and I are here basically with three hats on: as representatives of the Windows SDK mainly, but also to help publicize the msdnWiki and help with the MSDN booth.
Most impressive to me has been the tremendous reception to the msdnWiki. The Wiki allows users to post notes and comments on Visual Studio and .NET Framework content on a beta site, at least at this point. There’s been a lot of talk about expanding out the content to include everything on MSDN, as well as many new or additional features. Molly and her team are anxious to get feedback on the site. More importantly for many people, you too can get one of the lovely msdnWiki t-shirts that are modeled on that site, just by doing five posts to the Wiki. Trust me, I’ve been wearing the shirt throughout TechEd, and I’ve gotten lots of compliments on it.
What’s really cool about the Wiki for me, though, is that it helps to continue the process of opening up the black box that is Microsoft for many people. We are not a monolith, and we know that our user community, especially our developer community, do lots of interesting work that doesn’t always track directly to the ways that content was first planned to be used. The Wiki helps to show alternative ways of doing things, exposing users to implementations that are logical and interesting, but just weren’t things that anybody expected when designing their APIs or functions. The Wiki is another means for helping to share conversations, in much the same way as Blogs do (though the Wiki is a bit more formal in style than a Blog, of course). It’s another step towards making MSDN both a great library of content and an interactive resource for users to get their questions answered and share best practices. That’s exciting.