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Scott Swanson - What is a "how do I" in Whidbey?

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Scott Swanson talks about part of the new help features in the next version of Visual Studio, code-named Whidbey.

What do you think? Will this be helpful?

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  • Sounds pretty cool and useful for beginners. I think its going to be hard for most of us to break the googling, though. It will be really nice for a central way of storing this type of information rather than all over the web.
  • KnuteKnute Behave, or else...
    Sounds like my feature request a week ago Smiley - I guess great minds think alike.

    Great idea guys! Can't wait to see it in VS Whidbey

    ~ Knute
  • SKGSKG
    Great Video Scott!
  • Jeremy WJeremy W that blogging guy
    It's a fantastic idea, especially being able to customize the page. I can easily see using this on a very regular basis to disseminate standard corporate policies and methodologies.
  • CronanCronan Ivan the Terrible
    Instead of doing lots of customer research to generate the "How do I"'s, why not just improve the search? This is only going to be of limited use. The moment that the thing you want to do is not in the "How do I" list, and you don't know the whole API off by heart, you're stuck with trying the Search, which, let's face it, sux big-time.

    Your search needs to be as good (or close to) as Google.
    MSDN search is poor. It was poor 5 years ago, it looks worse now.

    There was an earlier post - about how some developers "know the API" and some don't, and the MSDN/VS search was geared towards the ones who do.
    I took real exception to this, probably because I'm in the group of people who don't know every API in MSDN that I want to use. But seriously? What a crock! Basically, you're saying that the current search is so poor that only people who don't really need to use it will find it useful??

    Another thing - it's not just the MSDN/VS help that's poor - it's also Winhelp.

  • The "how do I" looks a cool idea. Maybe MS could add "when should I" later since today programmers have too much choices before them which makes it difficult to get the right solution. Smiley
  • Let me think a bit what might be in the future of searching technologies.

    Thinking a few years into the future every device has most likely a lot of bandwidth available with low latency access to Internet.

    At this point a some sort of peer based but obviously much more advanced than the current technology would have taken over. Device user could of course restrict what they want to be indexed in the p2p net. In this same way every search box/button would be using this p2p search and the idea of searching just a particular site with google would be taken further to restrict the context, possibly having a ability to route the search through MS and your own and partners companies from which the query would recurse further to find good "community sites" etc. I would not want my search for (coding related) to start through a (porn peer).

    There could be a self adjusting algorithm based on tracking the time spent on (reading) a particular result of a search. This information along with the query metadata would determine how well the search matched the query. Of course it would require a few users finding same page "good" through a similar search to avoid having possibly poor matches ranking high.

    And what was this rant really about? Well i'd like to see a powerful and flexible fuzzy matching made easy from .NET apps, even if you don't have SQL server. If i search for "flecsbl matsin" it would find "flexible fuzz matchng". Also if i search for .zip it finds .zip not " zip" or ",zip" etc. Results should include more options to dig into the results and filter "less strict - more strict" etc.

  • scobleizerscobleizer I'm the video guy
    Cronan: I think Scott was pretty clear in admitting that the current help system (including search) isn't good. Future videos from him will detail more.
  • JazzynupeJazzynupe 9 Guy from the beginning
    I love this idea... Something that is long overdue. Where was this when I was trying to figure out MFC or COM programming in C++ (this was after learning Turbo C++ in a DOS window).

    Anyway, training partners can create tips in a "How Do I" XML page and publish it as part of their advertising. The possibilities are pretty huge (even offering a subscription based updates).

    Anyway, great idea...
  • CronanCronan Ivan the Terrible
    Sorry, didn't want to come across as "Mr. Angry"
    Looking back at my post, it reads a bit like that
    Just a bad Friday, I think
    Sorry Scott! Wink
  • SKGSKG
    Search has been a sore spot for MSDN customers for a while, and we are currently working with Scott's team to help improve Search in the IDE (and in the MSDN viewer). BTW We have also recently updated the MSDN online search, and I'd love to hear some feedback on that, as I'm currently working on this area for the MSDN site.

    I recently blogged this, and alos provided the official link to providng feedback also, but here are the links:

    MSDN Search
    http://search.microsoft.com/search/search.aspx?view=msdn&st=a&c=0&s=1

    Feedback:
    http://register.microsoft.com/contactus30/feedback40.asp?FU=http%3A%2F%2Fsearch%2Emicrosoft%2Ecom%2Fsearch%2Fsearch%2Easpx%3Fview%3Dmsdn%26st%3Da%26c%3D0%26s%3D1&RU=http%3A%2F%2Fsearch%2Emicrosoft%2Ecom%2Fsearch%2Fsearch%2Easpx%3Fview%3Dmsdn%26st%3Da%26c%3D0%26s%3D1&domain=msdnw
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