TFS Integration Platform – You asked for more documentation … it ships with the product!

A recent Visual Studio 2010 Rangers poll included this feedback “lack of formal documentation and the lack of a marketing collateral makes it difficult to promote” made us think whether the strategy to cover the TFS Integration Platform features on this blog and the current documentation structure on Codeplex are the correct strategy.

Why are we covering TFS Integration Platform on this blog?

As eluded to in the post What is this blog actually all about?, we are covering early snippets of features and information about the TFS Integration Platform on this blog post to support the open transparency policy and to share information before it is included in the official product drops. Based on the phenomenal early adoption support and candid feedback we have received over the past few months, we have been able to nudge both the platform and the documentation in the right direction. In terms of the documentation we will be introducing the new look and feel as outlined under “What’s coming” below.

So is this blog the right place for TFS Integration Platform  documentation? Product documentation no, pro-active information sharing yes … which is exactly what we have been doing to date. Do you agree or disagree … candid feedback welcome appreciated.

Is the current documentation structure the right strategy?

The platter of DOCX, XPS, PDF and image files that hide within the 22+MB zip file have become both a maintenance challenge and an exploration adventure. Where do I start? In what sequence should I be reading the documentation? What is important to me? … all important questions we have pondered over and which we are addressing in the next release of the platform.

What’s coming?

In the not too distant future, you will notice that the TFS Integration Platform installation file jumps from 3 odd MBs to over 20 MBs in size. After you have installed the product, a new Documentation shortcut appears under the Microsoft team Foundation Server Integration program group as shown:

If you select the documentation shortcut, you will be confronted with a look and feel that the users of the TFS Powertools should recognize:

The index, as shown above, consolidates the documentation, the guidance and the readiness package into one readiness package, divided into separate categories, such as guidance, proof of concepts and hands-on-labs, giving you an organized view and an indication of what you should be looking at. If you are interested in the product and associated guidance, look under guidance. If, however, you are comfortable with the basic and want to jump straight into the POCs, then look under Proof of Concepts.

As shown above, the documentation is presented in the browser.

What do you think?

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