The new MSDN web site


When I was searching for some MSDN links for Whidbey stuff in http://lab.msdn.microsoft.com/library last night, I was redirected to http://msdn2.microsoft.com/library/default.aspx.

I am really impressed by the new site.

Now you can use “http://msdn2.microsoft.com/library/<namespace>.aspx” to get the documents for a particular namespace. For example, I reference System.Reflection quite a lot. So I type http://msdn2.microsoft.com/library/System.Reflection.aspx, all the documents for classes under System.Reflection are right there.

This is what MSDN team called “URL aliases”.

Aliases also works for classes. To look for documentation of System.Reflection.Assembly class, I will simply type http://msdn2.microsoft.com/library/System.Reflection.Assembly.aspx.

This is superb work done by MSDN team!

<Update> I can’t believe this. It actually works with properties and methods as well. Like http://msdn2.microsoft.com/library/System.Reflection.Assembly.FullName.aspx. This is too good to be true.</update>

Comments (23)

  1. Teucer says:

    I made an observation.

    Goto the Class Library page – http://msdn2.microsoft.com/library/d11h6832.aspx

    and then click the System.Collections link. It takes you to an error page.

    but use the URL Alias feature it takes you to the right location 🙂

  2. Chris Sells says:

    The .aspx suffix is optional, i.e. the following works just as well:

    http://msdn2.microsoft.com/library/System.Reflection.Assembly.FullName

  3. Tim says:

    The URL alias mechanism is a new feature we added for this early release of our new online infrastructure. It’s designed to work for every managed API page, but it isn’t fully implemented yet. Here are some observations:

    It will work for namespaces as long as they have a ‘.’ in them. So it won’t work for the System, Microsoft, etc. namespaces. This is a bug that will be fixed.

    It should work for all class names. It will work for *SOME* property and method names. We tried to get all of them working, but ran into some issues, so we had to drop some for this early release. The plan is to make it work for all fields/properties/methods, including overloads. Note that you have to reference the member on it’s defining type. Inherited members are not exposed with an alias on the derived type unless they are overridden. This is simply the nature of the doc structure.

    You can also get to the list of methods, properties, fields or all members, but appending the appropriate value, like this:

    http://msdn2.microsoft.com/library/System.Reflection.Assembly_Members

    As Chris noted, the .aspx is optional.

    Finally, the database behind this is not yet optimized for this sort of access. That will happen in a future release. So be patient if alias resolution takes a little longer than short id based lookups.

    Finally, note one other feature. The URL’s you navigate to use short ids instead of file paths. This is the first concrete step toward keeping API URLs stable over time.

    Enjoy. 🙂

    Tim Ewald

    MSDN Program Manager Lead

  4. A lot of great work was done by Tim and his team on this version of MSDN. I hope everyone digs the improvements! I know I enjoyed putting the UI together!

  5. Any chance we’ll see some sample code for the HttpModule (assuming that’s how you did it)? 🙂

  6. XML-BLOG says:

    Tim Ewald and company are doing a wonderful job of overhauling the MSDN website. One benefit we can see right away is in accessing the documentation for the BCL. The news broke over at Junfeng Zhng’s blog. See the comments for all the details, but suffice it to say that…

  7. dotnetjunkie says:

    Tim, can you PLEASE elaborate on how this URL aliasing system was done?

    I’m sure many asp.net developers would be interested in seeing an article/sample about this! (and I definitely want to implement it in my sites!)

  8. Michael TUrner says:

    This is pretty sweet. Good job on making things easier. I know I’ll be using it. One knock though on the interface; I’d like to see it work better in Mozilla Firefox. Keep up the good work.

  9. Junfeng Zhang points to a beta of an overhaul of MSDN. I’ve been accessing the .NET class library docs at MSDN quite a bit over the past weeks and always thought it was rather hard to navigate – in particular when compared to the Javadocs I was used

  10. Great and beautiful.

    The old-devmentor men are back !

    Christophe Pichaud – CPi21 LLC.

  11. Nick Parker says:

    Just to let you know, I have recently written an IE toolbar add-in that will allow you to type your .NET namespace into it and you will be redirected to the new MSDN documentation. You can read about it here:

    http://www.codeproject.com/tools/netnamespace.asp

    -Nick Parker

  12. Great!

    This did inspire some good uses of it:)

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