I think most developers out there can empathize with me on this one. It’s 1:30 in the morning. You’ve been cranking code all night, the midnight oil is burning, Conan is wrapping up on the TV in the background, the Dunkin’ Donuts* coffee is wearing off, and you’ve just hit a road block because you still can’t get something to work that you thought you’d have done by dinner time. So what do you do?
You go to MSDN and do a search for whatever problem you’re having with Microsoft technology XYZ, you get an answer, your problem is solved! Hurray! You finish your code and then dive into your bed as if it were a cold swimming pool on a hazy, hot, and sticky day!
If you were like me, your experience was probably more something like this:
You can’t figure out XYZ, so you do a search at MSDN on XYZ. The results bring up something on ABC or some obscure article on an ancient version of XYZ from 1995. Ugh! Bang head! Switch to Google and search for XYZ. Answer comes up on first page. Minutes later, you’re snoozing under the covers of your warm cozy bed!
Okay, okay, so like me, after years of practice, you eventually get a little smarter and skip the whole MSDN head banging thing (and you also start the search process immediately after dinner instead of 1:30am!).
Now I don’t want to start a search engine flame war here… but, as an employee and shareholder, I’ve tried to do the right thing and use MSN search as often as possible instead of the competition. At first, (circa 2003-4) it was too painful. I’d end up with the same head banging, and then end up at the other place to find what I needed.
But since then, things have changed greatly. I think MSN search is much improved over how it used to be. Nowadays, I always use MSN search to find what I’m looking for, and I rarely need to look elsewhere to find what I’m looking for. Is it perfect? Nothing’s perfect. Not even the other guy. But anyway, I digress as that isn’t the point…
Back to the original scenario, it’s Microsoft technology XYZ that I need help with. MSDN is supposed to be the place to go find info on Microsoft developer technologies. Even with MSN search working well the past year or so, I rarely, if ever, went back to use MSDN’s search. It was the pits, and just didn’t work… period! I always wondered why they didn’t just plug in MSN’s search to make it better? How hard could it be?!
As I noted, I’ve rarely looked back at MSDN search. So, it’s no surprise that I didn’t learn about it until just this week. But as of April, they pretty much did just what I thought they should have done eons ago; MSDN search is now powered by MSN search! Thanks to this little “nugget” from the guys on the MSN Search blog, I now know.
I tried it out a little bit last night, and so far, no head-banging! I know old habits die hard, but go on and give it a try next time you hit a late night roadblock:
Thanks MSN and MSDN guys for making this happen!!!
Oh, and if you have FireFox or IE7, you can add MSDN as one of your search providers right in the browser itself!
* – I’m an east coaster.