MSDN Wiki Beta

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



Comments (39)

  1. Rob Caron says:


     MSDN Wiki!

    It’s live!

    See Soma’s blog (Announcing…

  2. gillcleeren says:

    Very nice and useful initiative I reckon.

    Although I only took a quick look at the already existing articles, it looks very promising.

  3. Линуксоиды видели такое только в страшном сне. А-а-а!!! Microsoft внаглую берёт

  4. Pawel Pabich says:

    It sounds good although at the moment you don’t support Firefox.

  5. me says:

    I’ve been waiting for this for a while. I think it has great potential for growth. Thank you very much.

  6. gaidar says:

    The only question is what version of MSDN will be shipped on DVDs? And what about moderation of MSDN Wiki Content  by Microsoft?

  7. Rob

    Caron had been

    hinting about it, then Soma broke

    the news


    Wiki is live –

  8. FullMetal says:

    This is really a great idea, we all were looking forward to something like this.


    While I have not a definitive statement about editability on MS own documentation, I have some preliminary ideas:

    – MS official documentation should be editable, but not directly by anyone. There are a lot of MS samples that don’t adopt your own coding and security guidelines, and many cryptic statements that should be clarified.

    – Since MS code *should* be followed as a guideline, every change to that documentation should be moderated/reviewed by MS or a group of contributors (like mvps) trusted by Microsoft. This is to ensure a high quality level of these changes.

    – We should have a separate page for internal discussion on every topic: Wikipedia has a discussion page (example: where contributors can share ideas about the main content especially if it is controversial without affecting the main page.

  9. Well, Rob hinted it at it.

    Then he hinted more.

    And even more.

    Then Soma announced it.

    Then Rob was…

  10. Trackback from

  11. anon-msft says:

    Great, but why ANOTHER version of the library for this?  Shouldn’t this just be a feature of the existing library?  Oh wait there isn’t ONE existing library, you have

    and now

    Could this be any more confusing?  I think you need to start cracking the whip a little bit.

  12. Yesterday Somasegar (who runs the Developer Division at Microsoft) announced the beta version…

  13. Soma announced a new project today, the MSDNWiki, which takes our MSDN documentation and adds structured…

  14. Pick A Bar says:

    Personally, I turn to reputable dev blogs when I absolutely positively have to find the right info to solve those intractable coding issues that arise from time to time…then if all else fails, I search the official docs ;). Well,…

  15. I’m super excited about the response to the MSDN Wiki launch.  Much of the response has been positive,…

  16. koistya says:

    Great stuff!. Thank you guys for moving in a right direction! 😉

  17. You’ve probably already read about the MSDN Wiki Beta on Soma’s blog. You can now add information to…

  18. Rodney says:

    I think that this is a fantastic ideas as sometimes the MSDN code samples are not very detailed or incomplete. Moreover, they also sometimes lack real world applicability. So, I applaud the opportunity to learn from other people’s experiences as well as share my own.

    Opensource communities have been doing this for quite some time. Take a look at PHP.Net as an example. Maybe we can get some tips and ideas from them.

  19. Tom Elix says:

    Do you think this will hurt C# Online.NET-the wiki-based online C# and .NET resource?

  20. Jeff Stong says:

    This is all over the Microsoft blogs: so if you’re following them you’ve no doubt already seen this (more…

  21. Jeff Stong says:

    This is all over the Microsoft blogs: so if you’re following them you’ve no doubt already seen this (more…

  22. Nektar says:

    I would like to see all the MSDN documentation to be opened for editing. You can’t imagine how many bugs I have found in code samples, in the Platform SDK, etc, etc, which I would have fixed easily but I wouldn’t. These errors ranged from spelling mistakes to grammatical errors, to lack of clarity to more serious mistakes. Please open up the documentation for editing.

    However, be very careful about your urls: currently they are complicated. If I have to go to,view=123456789 then I am afraid that I will not go there, the urls are toooooo long. If I were you I would move the MSDN documentation to a new site with an easy navigation (url) structure. Currently, not many people (like students) use MSDN documentation: they find it complex, overloaded, too long and difficult to find. Part of this problem is caused by the long urls and the navigation structure they impose on the MSDN Library site.

  23. Sam Gentile says:

    On May 19, 2003, I said "I have always admired Mike’s ability to look at the world out there and put…

  24. Somasegar says:

    Several folks have asked about support for the Firefox browswer.  THe MSDN Wiki team has this on their list of workitems and before we RTM, will likely add this support.

    – somasegar

  25. It should have sqlserver 2005 documentatio too, for example I created an article that I find very useful and it was a little difficult to implement, this one should be in the library.

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  27. Mattias Johansson says:

    Argh! No FireFox support. Fix!!

  28. Somasegar says:

    Yes – Firefox support is one of the features currently on plan for getting done soon.  Stay tuned!

    – somasegar