Microsoft’s Top 10 Challenges for 2006

Directions on Microsoft logoHere's a thoughtful piece by Directions on Microsoft suggesting what we have to get right this year.  "Get Going on Tools" is right up there, but I don't mean to single it out, because I think the whole list is dead right. 

Is there anything you'd change, or think is conspicuously missing?

Comments (4)

  1. PatriotB says:

    I found this to be an interesting quote:

    "Parts of Vista like the Web services framework cry out for tools. Microsoft needs to get Vista tools out to developers, particularly to Visual Basic developers who are less comfortable programming to a raw API."

    He’s talking about Indigo, which is a well-designed, thought-out, managed API. How much less "raw" can you get? It should be easy for VB developers to use it. Of course I’m not saying there’s no need for extra tools, but still, the API is a set of .NET classes/namespaces/etc. which should be easy for VB developers to start using.

    That said, I’d like to encourage Microsoft to keep working on the "raw" API–the unmanaged Windows API. With all the fuss about WinFX, lots of the new stuff in Vista is still function-based and COM-based. But details and documentation are quite scarce. Here’s hoping Microsoft fully documents and stands behind these new APIs, despite them not being .NET-based.

  2. lucas_vogel says:

    Documentation seems to be Microsoft’s most consistent, weakest asset. There is nothing more frustrating than to have to scour blogs and/or newsgroups to find helpful documentation and/or answers to your questions.

    With this in mind, maybe a short-term solution would be to incorporate some kind of rss feed program into the help application to get more current updates?

  3. RobBurke says:

    Interesting. I also find blogs and newsgroups to be, on average, the most useful source of documentation. Visual Studio has excellent debug-time assistance, but the leap to the MSDN docs is painful.

    I see two issues. The first is that the leap to the MSDN docs doesn’t always work. The context-sensitive F1 could use some attention.

    The second issue is that the community is producing very worthwhile information that is disconnected from the MSDN docs, and is most easily accessible through a search engine. So often I just skip the MSDN docs entirely. I like the RSS idea. Actually, what I’d prefer is something more wikipedia-like, where people can augment the MSDN doc entries with more information. When I solve a problem and "grok" something I tend to make a "note to self" with a cheat sheet and some code — why not take the extra 5 seconds and make it public?

    So: I go to find out how an asp:CommandField works, get the "official" MS-crafted story at top, and stay for a bunch of community-contributed examples at the bottom that show how to implement frequently-used CommandField-related patterns.

  4. RobBurke says:

    (Also — I know I just gave a Developer-oriented spin on the issue of documentation, but the issue Lucas calls out is far more pervasive than just the MSDN docs. However, I don’t always agree that the documentation is weak. For example, I’ve been working with Small Business Server at home, and, not being an IT Pro myself, I have been tremendously impressed at how its documentation and wizards have made it easy for me to set up and secure the server.)

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