MSDN and TechNet Blog Migration – Friday Update


Now where was I? Oh yeah, that’s right, deploying the final bits!

Today has been a great day. We began around 9:30am bringing online the migrated data and moving the migrated files into position. We also deployed the final web bits, updated our backend services, confirmed analytics was still in good shape and finally kicked off the search indexing.

After that we finalized site configuration settings, enabled our spam filters, turned on Windows Live ID, and did a light test pass across the site to ensure everything was in it’s expected place. I use expected and not right because like in all software there are quirks and bugs. We’ll fix ’em but at this point it’s just as important to know where they are…

From there it was time to share the good news with the bloggers. They now have Saturday and Sunday to import their blog designs and complete any other work before we flip the sites over on Monday.

It’s been quite a journey from when I joined this project (an eternity ago on December 16th 2009) and now our first real upgrade in 5 years is almost done. I’m super looking forward to moving on to monthly sprints and shipping incrementally the features our bloggers and you, our readers are already requesting.

Have a great weekend and we’ll see you on the flip side!

Comments (35)

  1. hAl says:

    I found 2069 validation errors and 24 warnings when checking the new IE blog page on W3C.

    I thought the markup was to be improved in this upgrade ?

  2. hAl says:

    I find it anoying that the comment icon is not clickable and thus there seems no longer a direct click to a artikels comments section anymore.

    In IE6 the post button looks buggy (but I do not care as I think IE6 support should be less)

  3. Sam says:

    hAl – the number next to the comment icon is clickable however, and gives you a direct link to the comments. Who knows why the icon isn't.

    I think the IEBlog theme was just ported over (with new bits added), and not written from the ground up. It is pretty old and crusty, and reflects quite poorly on IE if you ask me.

    The theme here looks 10 times better; most of the validation errors have to do with unencoded URLs, and an obvious bug where an ASP.NET template control (CSControl – Community Server still?) is missing a runat="server" attribute, and hence the markup is being sent to the client instead.

  4. davis says:

    What's with the lame /b/ in all the URLs now?

  5. jad says:

    Only at Microsoft is it considered a good idea to freeze the software for five years, and then change everything all at once.

    So now blogs have a squillion RSS feeds, not all of them relevant, and certainly not with the important ones at the top. The blogs are waaaaay slower than they used to be, all the urls have changed (again, of course. Seems to be an annual occurrence for everything Microsoft — you know the entire point about urls is that they're supposed to stick around? They're supposed to identify resources), buggy commenting that (by default? Seems to be the case on most blogs now, although not this one) requires us to log in to a Live ID account which is ridiculously complicated to create and which no one really cares about. (I've got 5 or so of them, for different Microsoft services, I wish I didn't have a single one)

    If you really want to identify commenters, how about something standard (and easy to use)? Isn't it about time Microsoft starts using OpenID?

    Oh well, at least the blogs no longer look like something from 1995. Good job on that.

  6. zz says:

    The old site aggregrated all blog posts on the main page and I can scroll through all past posts. Where's the equivalent in the new site?

    This is how I mainly read the blogs on this site – scanning excerpts through all the past posts and reading the ones I'm most interested.  I prefer to browse rather than search and subscribe.

  7. hAl says:

    @Sam

    "the number next to the comment icon is clickable however"

    No it is not.

    Not on the main blog page at least.  

    It is only clickable when you are already clicked tyrough to the artikel

  8. hAl says:

    Wow, clicking the post button twice (on slow response) resulting in double posts. How old school.

  9. hAl says:

    @jad

    Live ID supports Open ID.

    So your 5 Live ID accounts are already Open ID accounts.

  10. vince says:

    wow, you froze all blogs, and all comments, for over a week…. for this?

    I hope someone gets fired.  You'd think MS could afford better.

  11. The extra b in the URL is broken.

  12. hAl says:

    Why was my comment removed on the lack of links to the comments at te bottom of longer article on the frontpage of a blog?

  13. AdamT says:

    Might be just me, but I can't seem to subscribe to the "Ask The Performance Team" (askperf) blog RSS feed.  The feeds for ntdebugging and Tess still seem to work, though.

  14. Jared says:

    "The old site aggregrated all blog posts on the main page and I can scroll through all past posts. Where's the equivalent in the new site?

    This is how I mainly read the blogs on this site – scanning excerpts through all the past posts and reading the ones I'm most interested.  I prefer to browse rather than search and subscribe. "

    I second this.  The new site is pretty much unsusable now and I have no way of discovering new interesting posts or blogs.

  15. Dominik says:

    what's the extra /b/ good for? looks awful…

  16. SeanJenkin says:

    We are working on restoring the blog post roll to the home page.

    The /b/ is due the new platform. It does more than just blogs for us. I'll explain in a couple of days in the help section.

  17. The RSS feed of all the MSDN blogs have stopped working with yahoo pipes. Guess this is intentional 🙂

  18. jsrfc58 says:

    jad wrote: "The blogs are waaaaay slower than they used to be…"

    That's one of the first things I noticed…everything takes 5-10 times longer to load. On broadband. Or does everybody have to be running Windows 7 with 4 GB of memory and have a T-1 line running to their house?

  19. jsrfc58 says:

    jad wrote: "The blogs are waaaaay slower than they used to be…"

    That's one of the first things I noticed…everything takes 5-10 times longer to load. On broadband. Or does everybody have to be running Windows 7 with 4 GB of memory and have a T-1 line running to their house?

  20. jsrfc58 says:

    Ugh…double post. Why can't the page change/acknowledge when a comment is submitted?

  21. SeanJenkin says:

    The blogs should be running quite a lot faster tonight. We've been working to stabilize them through the past 36 hours…

  22. davis says:

    "The /b/ is due the new platform. It does more than just blogs for us. I'll explain in a couple of days in the help section."

    It would be better to get rid of it. . . It is after all *blogs.msdn.com*, if you're not hosting a blog on the domain you're doing something wrong.

  23. Alex says:

    It's year 2010, but the blogs engine seems to come from the early 2000s.

    1) Ugly /b/ (permalinks are broken)

    2) lame HTML (gazillions of validation errors)

    3) Live ID (c'mon, it's dead, you have to admit it)

    4) No OpenID

    5) Old ugly templates (IE team template is a plain shame)

    6) aspx in the url

    7) Fixed design layout that looks awful on 1920×1080 display

    8) autogen html ids

    Very, very lame. Seriously.

  24. SeanJenkin says:

    Thanks for the feedback Alex. To respond to a few:

    1) No permalinks will be broken. Redirects are in place for all old URLs

    2) We are investigating the validation errors to see what we can do about it.

    3) Live ID has been introduced so we can connect the blogs to the other MSDN and TechNet sites.

    4) Can't do everything out of the gate immediately. This is software and we will iterate.

    5) I hear IE are working on their redesign. However if you've got some ideas of good looking ones, send them to me.

    6) It's ASP.Net. Just a platform choice.

    7) Again, we are inline with the MSDN and TechNet themes. Not everyone is lucky enough to have those big resolutions…

    8) Sure.

    Sorry that you think all our work is seriously very, very lame. It may be different, it may not be everything you want it to be. If that's the case and you actually want to help us with it (and not just moan about it), send me your resume…

  25. hAl says:

    The second post from Gerard Talbot here on the IE team blog

    blogs.msdn.com/…/blog-comments-back-up.aspx

    speak volumes.

    And this splitting up of a few comments over multiple pages is just plain ANOYING !!

  26. Joe White says:

    Oddly, while the blog pages themselves are getting OK performance now, posting comments is noticeably slow — ~10-15 seconds. Granted, it's not something I even do every day, it's not performance-critical… but it's not going to help the perception of the new platform. It's, what, one INSERT statement?

    In the "spit and polish" department (which may not be your top priority right at the moment): I just submitted a comment on the pfxteam blog, and the page I got back had a box that said "Thanks for sharing your comment! If your comment doesn't appear right away, please be patient as it may take a few minutes to publish or may require moderation." But the results page already included my comment.

    You just rewrote the platform! Shouldn't the server *know* whether my comment was already added to the database? Shouldn't it *know* whether moderation is enabled? Why not show an accurate message (if any is needed at all) instead of a generic message with weasel words?

    Of course, this may well fall into the "can't do everything at once" category. Just wanted to put a bug in your ear about it, and suggest that it be added to the list if it's not there already.

    Oh, and I'll second the opinion that something is wrong if you're putting anything other than blogs on blogs.msdn.com. I'm not overly offended by the "/b/" (though I'm baffled at why you would want to subject your servers and bandwidth to however many millions of unnecessary redirects a day), but your explanation of it doesn't make any sense.

  27. blognonymous says:

    A flood of negative nit-picking and code-ier-than-thou commentary…yep, looks like the blogs are back!  Sean, just wanted to say that I really enjoyed reading your updates from the trenches during this migration, and that I think the new blogs look pretty slick.  I'm not a Microsoft employee, iPad owner or web designer, so I should be disregarded out of hand for sure.  Just thought you'd like some positive feedback from a more casual user.

    nice work!  and good luck with the ongoing tweaks.

  28. Anon says:

    Why are outlines (a.k.a. focus rectangles) disabled on links now? This breaks keyboard navigation. Please get rid of the "outline: none" CSS rule, whereever it is.

  29. Anon says:

    …Found it in blogs.msdn.com/…/base.css :

    a:link, a:visited, a:active { outline: none; color: #06d; text-decoration: none; font-weight: bold; }

    a:hover { outline: none; text-decoration: underline; }

    Please remove the "outline: none" rules so the site is once again accessible to keyboard users.

  30. JVILLAGA says:

    Technet blog seems to be working better than msdn blog (!)  At least the recent blog posts section is functional and located where I prefer it…under the welcome section.  I also like the button links for letting me go back through the "recent"  posts to the not so "recent" ones.

    Personally, I don't get that much out of "Recent Site Activity"…is there a way to either collapse it or opt-out?

    BTW, want an quick, easy to implement and useful feature?  Put a link to blogs.technet.com on the top of blogs.msdn.com and vice-versa…

  31. suggestions

    1 remove the extra b from the URL. It is redundant, looks ugly, and has no technical reason for doing so, blogs.msdn.com should be used for blogs and nothing else.

    2 link the comment number to the comments section on the news page of the blog

    3 make sure that all themes validate the W3C standard

    4 after submitting a post, the page is sometimes reloaded without any sucess/error message (looks like that some internal timeout exceeded but no message is displayed)

  32. 5 add a duplicate detection

  33. hAl says:

    It has become very quiet on this blog after the recent critisims here

  34. SeanJenkin says:

    It's become quiet because we are working to restore the blog post list roll and improve performance of the site. We are still reading the feedback and working to actually fix the issues, not just provide lip service to them…

  35. SeanJenkin says:

    The rolling blog post list has been restored. You can find it linked from the home page.