In response to a post Greg Robinson about cancelling his MSDN subscriptions due to excessive focus on unreleased technologies by Robert Scoble writes

 MSDN, by the way, is like a PDC. It focuses on newer stuff and is produced by Microsoft. The other magazines are not tasked with covering the new stuff as much.

This assumption is wrong on so many levels I don't know where to start. It is telling that MSDN has strayed from being where developers get up to speed on existing Microsoft technologies to being a primarily a monger of vaporware. If MSDN is to be likened to a conference it should be TechEd (focus on existing technologies and best practices with a smattering of sneak peaks at the future) not PDC (focus on technology that won't be released for 2 to 4 years or that may not make it past the chopping block).  I've pinged various content strategists at MSDN and Sara Williams about this in the past with the responses being that most of the content is still about existing technologies.

I suspect that what people resent is the fact that the releases are so far off (Whidbey is 1 year away, Longhorn is 2 years away) and there aren't any publiclly generally available releases that are easy to get into which makes the frustration at articles about MSBuild, Avalon, Indigo, etc more difficult to stomach. It's one thing to see articles about beta technology you can download easily off the 'net and another to see articles about technology that is still in alpha which isn't publiclly available.  I don't intend for the MSDN XML Developer Center to go this route and so far have tended to focus the content appearing on the site about working with existing technologies.


Monday, May 3, 2004 2:30:48 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Perfectly said.
Monday, May 3, 2004 3:48:26 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
But if your an MSDN subscriber, all the bits that are talked about within MSDN are available for download on MSDN sucriptions.

But I do agree with you - MSDN should be 80% now, 18% next and 2% OMG years away.
Monday, May 3, 2004 4:08:16 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
>suspect that what people resent is the fact that the releases are so far off ....
>there aren't any publiclly generally available releases that are easy to get into

Dare, don't think it has anything to do with resentment. It has to do with getting access to articles/resources that allow me to reduce the pain points that I experience when implementing current, shipping technology. I'll play with the future bits on my own time just to keep up, but there is no way a client is going to allow me to look at tech that is 1-2 years out, much less implement it. Which is why I love the focus that the PAG puts on the current shipping technology.
Monday, May 3, 2004 6:16:14 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Dude, I'm talking about MSDN Magazine, not MSDN, the Web thing.
Monday, May 3, 2004 8:12:46 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Don't know about Dare but my comment was about MSDN Magazine, the Paper thing. :-) Which I think reaches a lot more non-hardcore Devs out there than the MSDN Website. Which makes it all the more important that the majority of the content there should be on current shipping tech.
Monday, May 3, 2004 9:22:52 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
I hardly think the magazine reaches more devs than the website.
Monday, May 3, 2004 10:20:08 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Allrighty, rephrase time.. It reaches a different segment of Devs.

Again, my point is not to compare web vs. paper as much as to note that whether it is paper OR the web, the majority of the content should be focused on current tech.
Monday, May 3, 2004 11:23:06 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Even though Scoble was talking about the magazine (who reads that?), the web thing has its problems. I wish there was a section with just reference materials. Maybe there is. I find my self having to dig through SQLServer Marketing pap to find the TSQL reference, for instance.
Tuesday, May 4, 2004 2:02:19 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
I like the 80/18/2 mix. The issue, as I see it, is that at one time Microsoft was hardcore into not revealing anything, then they go whole hog into revealing everything (OK, so a lot is still held back, but you get the idea...)

This time last year, everybody knew there was such a thing called Whidbey, Yukon, and Longhorn, but very few knew much about it...and if you did know much about it, you were likely NDA'ed. Fast forward to PDC and all the world is alight with Longhorn, LONGHORN, LONGHORN!! and, oh yeah, that's netfx 3.0 and we're still on 1.1, so don't hold your breath.

Getting devs the info is a good thing, but so much focus without even a beta 1 (Whidbey / Yukon aren't even b1 yet, are they?) is way too extreme. MSDN (the magazine), MSDN (the website), MSDN (the TV show), .NET Show et al would probably do far better if they helped devs use what we have or what we'll soon have (e.g. in the next 12 months).
Tuesday, May 11, 2004 8:00:16 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
I agree with the 80/20 split. And I agree with Dare to hold back material (even though I currently suffer :-)) until enough people have access to it (I can still blog about it).

Note however, that Yukon and Whidbey are both in Beta1 stage since last summer. However they are closed betas, although attendees at PDC and SQLPASS got copies as well. And I sure hope that it is less than 12 months until Yukon will be available in the public Beta :-).
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