MSDN has a number of Developer Centers for key developer topics such as XML Web Services and C#. There are also node home pages for lesser interesting [according to MSDN] topics such as Windows Scripting Host or SQLXML. Besides the fact that developer centers are highlighted more prominently on MSDN as key topics the main differences between the developer centers and the node home pages are

  1. Developer Centers have a snazzier look and feel than node home pages.

  2. Developer Centers have an RSS feed.

  3. Developer Centers can pull in blog content (e.g. Duncan Mackenzie's blog on the C# Developer Center)

I've been working on getting a Developer Center on MSDN that provides a single place for developers to find out about XML technologies and products at Microsoft for about a year or more. The Developer Center is now about two weeks from being launched. There are only two questions left to answer.

The first question is what the tagline for the Developer Center should be. Examples of existing taglines are

  • Microsoft Visual C# Developer Center: An innovative language and tool for building .NET-connected solutions

  • Data Access and Storage Developer Center: Harnessing the power of data

  • Web Services Developer Center: Connecting systems and sharing information

  • .NET Architecture Developer Center: Blueprint for Success

I need something similar for the XML Developer Center but my mind's been drawing a blank. My two top choices are currently “The language of information interchange” or “Bridging gaps across platforms with the ubiqitous data format”. In my frivilous moments, I've also considered “Unicode + Angle Brackets = Interoperability”. Any comments on which of the three taglines I have in mind sounds best or suggestions for taglines would be much appreciated.

The second issue is how much we should talk about unreleased technologies. I personally dislike talking about technologies before they ship because history has taught me that projects slip or get cut when you least expect them to do so. For example, when I was first hired fulltime at Microsoft about two years ago we were working on XQuery which was supposed to be in version 2.0 of the .NET Framework. At the time the assumption was that they'd both (XQuery & the next version of the .NET Framework) be done by the end of 2003. It is now 2004 and it is optimistic to expect that either XQuery or the next version of the .NET Framework will both be done at the end of this year. If we had gone off our initial assumptions and started writing about XQuery and the classes we were designing for the .NET Framework (e.g. XQueryProcessor ) in 2002 and 2003 on MSDN then we'd currently have a number of outdated and incorrect articles on MSDN. On the other hand this does mean that while you won't find articles on XQuery on MSDN you do find articles like An Introduction to XQuery, XML for Data: An early look at XQuery ,X is for XQuery, and XQuery Tricks and Traps  on the developer websites of our competitors like IBM and Oracle. All four of those articles contain information that is either outdated or will be outdated when the W3C is done with the XQuery recommendation. However they do provide developers with a glimpse and an understanding of the fundamentals of XQuery.

The question I have is whether it would be valuable for our developers if we wrote articles about technologies that haven't shipped and whose content may differ from what we actually ship? Other developer centers on MSDN have decided to go this route such as the Longhorn Developer Center and Web Services Developer Center which regularly feature content that is a year or more away from shipping. I personally think this is unwise but I am interested in what the Microsoft developer community thinks of providing content about upcoming releases versus focusing on existing releases.


Tuesday, March 9, 2004 5:18:13 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
How about "malleable and interhangable data"? ;)

I think I like the first option the best of the three.

As for the second issue, I think it would be good to talk about unreleased technologies as long that isn't all that is discussed. An article that explains what XQuery hopes to be and how to prepare for it would be nice, but only if it is along side articles that can be put into use today.

I'm looking forward to this new developer center.
Tuesday, March 9, 2004 5:25:04 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Just a brain dump:<br/>
"The power behind web services"<br/>
"Enabling meaningful exchange of data"<br/>
"Enabling meaningful exchange of information"<br/>
"Extensibility, Security, and ubiquity"<br/>
"Family counseling for disparate platforms."<br/>
"Enabling systems to finally talk to each other."<br/>
"Teaching systems to share"<br/>
"More than just name spaces"

Tuesday, March 9, 2004 6:56:21 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
i think that the dev centers should largely be for developers to use the target technology today. future product articles should be kept to a minimum and what articles that cover future tech should be general 10,000 ft views. articles talking about deprecated features are as useful as outdated law books.

for your slogan, you should steal Don Box's by using "XML is Love".
Tuesday, March 9, 2004 10:46:39 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
A suggestion for the XML Developers Center on MSDN:

"XML - doing for information what the wheel did for transportation"
Wednesday, March 10, 2004 7:57:14 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Speaking of XQuery - are there any plans at MS for shipping an XQuery compiler? The XQueryProcessor engine is fine but why not also have statically compiled XQuery files?
G Mladenov
Thursday, March 11, 2004 2:52:18 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
"The asphalt for the Information Highway".
Saturday, March 13, 2004 3:10:30 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Great news about the XML Dev Center, I can't wait!

Tag line suggestions. First, an anti-suggestion: nothing with 'enabling' in it, thank you. Ripping off Rolling Stone's rip off of the New York Times, "XML: all the data that fits." From a line I heard serveral times at the PDC, "XML: it's all about the data". Purpose, "XML: data for a connected world". Cosmologically speaking, "XML: data, interoperability and the universe" (or 'conneced universe'). Sassy, "XML: it's not about the angle bracket, baby!" Heritage with a pinch of revolutionary rhetoric, "XML: setting your data free since 1998". Really backward looking, "XML: it's not your father's SGML". Well-care, "XML: Better living through interoperable data". Clueless, "XML: What's all the fuss about?" Also in that category, "XML: Dude, who stole my angle bracket?".

Forward-looking articles. I welcome them, so long as they are clearly marked (red works wonders) as based on bits not available yet. Then I can apply whatever filter is appropriate for me at the time when determining if I want to read an article. Articles about future bits provide much needed insight to where (we think) the technology is heading so, e.g., I don't go off and redesign the wheel that is about to roll of someone else's assembly line, and so that I can architect and design today to take advantage of functionality that will come on line tomorrow. I also find that reading about future bits can give me tremendous insights into the bits that I am using today: new perspectives, new metaphores (would that be meta-five, then?), new lines of thought. These are many of the same reasons I read W3C working drafts: they're not implemented or available today, but they help me think about what I am doing today. The XML world is changing so rapidly - I am sure you've noticed : ) - which makes thinking about what I am doing today and what I will do tomorrow a very valuable activity for developers. Bring on the future bits articles.

Stuart Celarier, Fern Creek
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