New Library Structure

At the risk of talking about something that many would not even know exists, we updated the Web services section of the MSDN Library today.

A little background...

MSDN has a number of Developer Centers (of which the Web service developer center is one).  These developer centers actually have very little content in them.  Most of their content is pulled from the MSDN Library.  This way you don't have to dig through the monster-sized Table of Contents in the library to find your Web service content.  It also allows us more flexibility for making an appealing UI.

However the MSDN Library is still important.  We don't really expect you to browse through the library for most content, but the library structure is reflected in the MSDN subscription CDs and if you use a search engine to find the content then you will probably find yourself in the library and not the developer center.  Having a developer center and the library does create some redundancy, but in general it seems that people prefer the developer centers over the library-only approach MSDN took in years past.

So we just revamped the Web services section of the MSDN Library to more closely match the structure of the Web Services Developer Center.  Along with this was a lot of general clean-up and putting content in its proper place.

Theoretically there should be no 404's because we didn't actually change the URL for the articles.  We just changed the locations in the Table of Contents.  Let me know if you run into any 404s.

This was a pretty thankless job for those who did the work (I only crafted the general plan...others did the actual work).  Thanks to John Boylan, Dan Bradley and Jason Sacks for making this happen and allowing people who find themselves in the MSDN library to have at least a small hope of finding the content they are looking for - along with related content.

Comments (6)

  1. AndrewSeven says:

    One Site, Many Faces?

    Glad to be rid of the 50-ton TOC.

    You might want to make it more obvious that the menu on the left is "sort of" the TOC of the section.

    The developer centers really need a contextual search.

    I am still going to use google as my primary means of navigating MSDN and the MSDN Recently Posted area for new content

  2. Matt Powell says:

    Thanks for the feedback Andrew.

    We are constantly looking at the TOC and how to improve it. Most people actually largely ignore it but it certainly serves a purpose.

    Contextual search is needed…but the same thing that allows us to pull content that natively lives in the MSDN library also makes it hard to effectively know what in the library is also on a particular devctr. We are working on it, but it probably won’t happen in the next few days.

    Go ahead and google…I don’t care how you find our content, I just hope you do find it. MSDN search is drastically improved by the way. I can’t remember the last time it didn’t give me the content I was looking for.

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