The new look and feel MSDN Web Services Developer Center is now live. I don't think anyone will be too astounded by the changes but it is a little sharper and cleaner and better organized. Some of the changes:
- Previously we had seperate homepage headlines for "Understanding" content and "Building" content. This was nice for providing some structure to the new content on the homepage, but it caused a couple problems. First the "Building" headlines were below the fold so they were rarely seen. Second, we invariably had a series of "Understanding" content with no "Building" content or vice versa. This meant the new Building headlines would get stale while we would scroll relatively new Understanding headlines off the page. I'm pretty sure people are more interested in seeing all the new stuff in the headlines and are less concerned about categorizing them.
- I added a "Columns" page under the Building section. This has a list of the recent columns from "At Your Service" (my column), "Extreme XML" Dare Obasanjo's column, "XML Files" Aaron Skonnard's MSDN Magazine column, and "House of Web Services" Tim Ewald's MSDN Magazine column. We have highlighted column content throughout the dev center previously, but it is nice to see it all in one place.
- Under the Building section we have added a section for "Live Web Services" -- meaning publically available Web services that you can consume in your applications. I see this section as getting larger in the future...so if you have a publically available Web service that you want the world to use, let me know and I'll consider adding it to the page.
- The Building->.NET Framework and Visual Studio .NET section was broken up into 3 sections: Essential, Designing, and Tricks & Tips. Previously we had all this content on one page and it was only getting larger and harder to find stuff. So we broke it up. Hopefully the categories will provie usefull.
- Under the Building->XML Development section I've devised new categories based off what XML technologies Web service developers are mostly interested in. I removed most of the MSXML content (it is still in the MSDN library at http://msdn.microsoft.com/xml/ we just don't link to it from the developer center). I made the brash decision that if you are developing a Web service with Microsoft technologies that you are most likely using .NET (and if you aren't, you should be). Therefore I wanted to focus on .NET XML instead of MSXML.
- And on top of everything else, we are using our new tools to build the darn thing instead of editing everything by hand in the backing XML. Yeah!
Up and coming features:
- I'm hoping to get a FAQ put together on the community page
- I'm also hoping to have a nice link to the knowledge base Web service kb articles--it is after all a "Support & Community" section. To date the "Support" aspect is largely lacking so we will address that shortly.
- I don't know how soon this will happen, but we are looking at changing the editor's note to be more blog-ish. I would love the day when I would say to myself....should I enter this in my blog or in my editor's note?
Would love to hear as much feedback as possible on the new site, and on any future ideas for it (mine or yours).