I have always thought that the bulk of the information for any of our product is generated by the community and customers. Unfortunately, there isn’t any easy way to share the large amounts of valuable information (golden nuggets of information) with the community at large, alongside the product documentation.
Today, I am pleased to announce the availability of the beta version of the MSDN Wiki – our first step towards allowing customers to contribute to Microsoft’s developer documentation.
In the MSDN Wiki beta, you can add code samples and content directly alongside the Visual Studio 2005 and the .NET Framework 2.0 documentation in a Community Content section that we have added to each documentation topic. Right now the MSDN Wiki site only features English documentation, but we are planning to expand this functionality to the localized documentation in the future.
Though we provide a large amount of valuable information with the product, there is just no way that we can document every scenario that every developer is going to be thinking through. We run into a scale issue. Enabling the community to be a collaborator and be able to share information with one another in a relatively easy manner scales phenomenally well.
If every Visual Studio developer participates, imagine the wealth of information the community could be sharing in one location!
We think of this as the first stage of an on-going evolution of Microsoft’s developer documentation. In this version we are building a wiki around the Microsoft-provided docs by allowing you to add new content and edit content contributed by others. We want your feedback about where the project should go next. How important is it that Microsoft provides an official version of the docs that cannot be altered by the community? For Orcas, should we completely open the documentation to editing? This is the start of a shift in the process we use to write and publish our developer documentation, and we need your help to determine what approach we should take.
You can learn more about the project at the MSDN Wiki team blog.