MSDN – Where Developers Come First


When developers want to learn how to build software on Microsoft platforms, finding content and connecting with others should be easy.  Microsoft Developer Network offers Help documentation, articles, blog posts, videos, and forums to more than 20 million unique visitors every month.


 


Over the last few months the MSDN team has made hundreds of updates to the MSDN website. Many of these are subtle changes you may not notice directly, but together they help developers easily find current, relevant information on the site using a consistent look and feel.  I want to share with you two changes that capture the essence of the updates.


 


Context is Everything


We’ve received strong feedback from the community that developers want to stay within the context of their language’s Developer Center as much as possible as they navigate content on MSDN.  Using that feedback, the MSDN team rolled out an update to the MSDN Forums which integrates the forums into the Developer Center experience.  When a Visual Basic Developer Center user clicks on the Forums tab, the user now sees only the Visual Basic forums. Having a consistent user experience and location ensures the content and activities you care about are relevant and related.


 


VB Forums 



This forums update had many other features, including a new faster-loading rich text editor, updates to Top Answerers lists to show contributions over the last 30 days, and the capability for moderators to “Mark as Answer” in thread preview.


 


Make Your Voice Heard


Getting feedback from the community is essential to making MSDN better. To make it easier to share your ideas and suggestions on improving MSDN, we have added a Site Feedback link at the bottom of every page (excluding the library). Clicking on this link displays a separate window where your comments can be entered.


 


Site Feedback


 


Clicking the Submit button generates an email which is sent directly to the MSDN team. The team reads every mail and uses your suggestions to better understand the types of issues the community is running into on the site and to fix reported problems. As always, you can report a problem with a Microsoft product on Microsoft Connect or ask product questions on the MSDN forums.


 


I’ve highlighted two examples of the many changes we have made to MSDN to provide a better experience for developers online.  Connect with millions of developers already on MSDN and send your feedback to help us make MSDN even better in the future.


 


Namaste!

Comments (12)

  1. Mark Gordon says:

    Hi There Soma,

    Two things:

    1) Build quality products that are user obvious and don’t require 100’s of lines of markup code to implement a datagrid and you will not need so much documentation explaining how to work around poor implementations and known issues (You refer to them as bugs by design I think), for example the lack of a data centric language or a useable class browser in Visual Studio. It might be in the best interest of developers if you corrected the root cause of the problem (in this case .bloat and vs) instead of wasting resources on "bandage construction". The fact you need this much documentation is an indication there is something inheritantly wrong with the product not much to be proud of.

    2) Little off topic but search for obama on bing a freaking cartoon character comes up as the number 2 image and obama muslim in the #1 related search, oh by the way Obama girl is in there as well. So much for automated unit testing. Glad you guys are on the ball. The way Microsoft is going to solve this problem throw 80 million dollars on advertising to spin the product (sounds a lot like Visual Studio) it might be a better idea to use the 80 million dollars on QA and delivering a quality product.

    Your Pal,

    .Mark

  2. Phil says:

    For Mark,

            1. I beg to differ. Documentation is crucial and too much documentation is better than no documentation. I have loads of code I maintain with little documentation and I need to spend time reading code to learn whether or not I need to use it for product enhancments rather than just looking at documentation and comments first to save time. I think it is better to focus on documents that satisfies Occram’s razor rather than complaining about too much documentation.

          2. Software in industry is not about producing the best and pioneering product, but the handy product that businesses use often. I believe Microsoft does not need Bing to be light-years ahead of Google search. Rather, they just need it to be more popular and gain user’s trust. Bing is still new so improvements will come with feedback and research. However, the key now is popularity and not neccessarily "miraculous performance" or being way better than Google, yahoo or ask. An illustration is Microsoft Word. It was not pioneering when it came out but it became popular and "handy". Improvements came with time but the key to its success was not its quality being way better than Lotus or WordPerfect but rather its popular and readily-presence to customers.

  3. Publicación del inglés original : lunes, 1 de junio de 2009 a las 21:38:00 PST por Somasegar Cuando los

  4. Your blog is redirecting me to the home page without any indication if the comment submission was successful.

    My last comment was rather long, so I’m trying a shorter one now.  Does this work????

  5. Apparently that is the problem.  Here is my comment in two parts …

    ——————————————-

    Hi Soma,

    Thank you for msdn low bandwidth mode.

    My recommendation for user content?  Copy Stackoverflow!

    Forums such as http://forums.asp.net/ could really use an upgrade, otherwise the communities might just migrate to stackoverflow.com.  It is already a far better application than the MS hosted forums I’ve used.  Please take a serious look.

    Maybe you could just buy the source and incorporate it into MS sites, or maybe it will go open-source http://stackoverflow.com/questions/7335/the-stackoverflow-source-code

    I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

  6. part 2 …

    Developers spend a great deal of time digging through forums and A LOT of time is spent reading messages that are not helpful.  Sometimes the threads are dated. (How many times have I found "a solution" only to realize that the discussion applied a beta version that is now RTM?)  Sometimes they are junk. (How much bad programming advice is scattered throughout every programming forum?)  Sometimes a great concept is poorly worded from a non-native English speaker.  Sometimes the thread jumps around from one topic to the next and the "real answer" is on page 5.  Sometimes the answer doesn’t come up in a web search because the forum is not SEO. Sometimes a meta-discussion (comments about the thread) clouds the real topic at hand. Etc, Etc.

  7. part 3 …

    The design at stackoverflow has solved many of these issues, and I wish MS forums would do the same.  Effective documentation needs effective organization and that is one thing that stackoverflow has really nailed when it comes to user generated content.

  8. Simon Muzio says:

    Hi Robert,

    Thanks for your feedback. We are looking at Stackoverflow along with other community sites as we work on future versions of our forums experiences.

    Thanks,

    Simon Muzio

    Director – MSDN & http://www.asp.net

  9. developer says:

    frequent changes to developer tools create mess than helping developers. who want to spend 60 mins to view webcast where you learn only five minutes of technical stuff.  I seriously think need to look open source communities. who wants to buy TFS crap where svn or cvs does far better job.

  10. ASPInsiders says:

    There’s a bunch of stuff going on over at MSDN. They’re making some cool changes and aren’t afraid to

  11. Mike says:

    Soma, you and Microsoft are out of touch. We go to Stack Overflow. We use Google to search. You can figure out why, but the short version is: it’s better.