Recent DevCenter Additions, Updates, and Content Levels

Since we released the May CTP of the code name "Oslo" technologies more than a month ago now, we've been continuing to add new content and make some additional changes to the Oslo DevCenter site itself. As often happens, you put these things out into the world, then listen to the silence! So we wanted to take a moment to highlight those changes and additions to make sure y'all are aware of them. This also gives you a chance to think about what you'd like to see as well.

Recent Additions

First, we've added a couple of new samples:

  • MRepl: ("M" read-evaluate-print loop): source code for what was originally built into the "samples enabled" mode of Intellipad.

  • WMI: Models for Windows Management Instrumentation that serves as reference material for hierarchical models in "M".

We also added a healthy paper on the MGraph Object Model.

Here's the list of new videos so far (with more in the works-they're not the easiest of things to produce, but we know they're valuable...summertime is also peppered with vacations):

We've also been working to refresh a number of videos that were originally made for the October 2008 CTP and are getting quite stale. Like chomping on an old half-bag of Fritos, they do the job but just don't deliver on the ideal experience! So here are some we've gotten refreshed already:

We also refreshed Modeling in Text which is now in five parts. On some of the individual video page (as well as the main Video page) you'll see that we've been adding some slide decks as well as some transcripts. In fact, there is now also a transcript index page that we snuck in there.

Again, more is in the pipeline, and we're also finishing up May CTP-compatible versions of existing samples (like Spork, PhotoStore, Event Pattern Mesh, and MGrammar XAML, for which there are some videos to refresh).

We've also been working over the videos index page itself (kindly, you know, not with a meat tenderizer or anything). For starters, we're making sure that more current and significant videos are in the rotators on the home page and the videos page.

Content Levels

Something else that's made its appearance on the videos page are content "level" tags to give you some idea where the piece falls between the introductory end of things ("100" level) and the "really deep dive Ph.D.'s-only" technical end ("400" level). Over time we intend to tag most of our content this way, with the videos being a great place to start.

These levels are intended to be a guideline to help you self-select from our all-you-can-eat buffet (to continue the pattern of food analogies here...) based on your interest and experience. Here's how we're generally using them:

100: These are introductory materials for any given technological area ("M", "Quadrant", repository, domains, "Intellipad", overall "Oslo", etc.) in which you can expect to see more diagrams and basic demos. We like to think of these are your freshman-level courses in college that try to get everyone in a degree program on some common foundation. Part of the intention here is to identify materials that might serve developers as well as technical decision-makers.

200: These materials go more into usage scenarios, architectural discussions, and "what things do" without necessarily getting into details so that can again serve technical decision-makers and developers both. These are like the sophomore-level classes that covered how computers are designed and how their components relate, but you aren't yet getting into actually building one (of course, you probably took a few apart in your spare time-and found that if your tool of choice was a ball-peen hammer you were probably more destined for testing than development).

300: You'll often see this number with the words "core competency," meaning that we consider these materials-again in any given technological sub-area-to convey essential information for all developers using that particular technology. These are like the degree-specific but non-specialized junior-year courses where you do the real work of your chosen discipline (like melting diodes as I clearly remember in my first EE lab).

400: At the high end, these are materials we consider specialized in some way that will probably only be of interest to a small percentage of developers, but very important to that small percentage. Like senior-level college courses, these would hone your particular expertise above and beyond the core competencies of level 300.

The boundaries between these levels can be somewhat fuzzy at times, of course, and their specific definitions are evolving as we're starting to apply them. Feedback is always welcome.

It's also worth noting that the distribution of content is not flat across these levels. We're looking to have 10-15% of our total content to be 100-level, 10-15% at the 200 level, 55-60% at the 300 level, and 15-20% at the 400 level. At least we can absolutely guarantee that it'll all add up to 100% in the end!

The last bits we wanted to point out are the key blogging activities of members of the "Oslo" product team. These have been appearing in the "What's New" section of DevCenter alongside articles written by other members of the "Oslo" community at large, so you may have already seen them. Some have also been specifically written to add to the overall body of our DevCenter content, so we wanted to provide a list of these posts (in no particular order):

As always, there will be more.

What Content Would You Like to See?

Speaking of more: if there is any content you'd like to see, or anything that you'd change about the "Oslo" DevCenter, don't hesitate in dropping a line to or creating a bug on the Connect site. This DevCenter is here to support you in your development efforts, so any suggestions (whether they be nasty or nice) about how we can improve that support are welcome.


Kraig Brockschmidt (for myself, Chris Sells, Kent Sharkey, and the "Oslo" team)

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