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TWC9: GitHub GLB-Director Goes OSS, F# 4.5, Alexa and Cortana Together, and more

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The Discussion

  • User profile image
    ahelland

    "The new Azure publication on Medium"?

    It seems it has been around for about a year, but with somewhat sporadic postings. Does this signal a shift from blogs.msdn.com, or is it just another site to follow? (I'm not trying to come off as negative; it's an open-ended question from an author and reader on both platforms.)

  • User profile image
    christinaw

    @ahelland: That's a perfectly reasonable question -- I totally appreciate you asking it. 

    The publication itself was registered last year but not used. Last week (or the week before, I guess), Bruno Borges (who led a similar effort at Oracle when he was there) took over the publication with renewed focus on publishing the best technical, Azure-focused content, both from Microsoft employees and from members of the community (we welcome submissions from anyone! There are a number of editors (myself included) that will vet articles to make sure they match the goals of what we're trying to highlight).

    This is absolutely not a replacement for the MSDN blogs. Although it is true that sometimes content may appear both places (we may syndicate content first published on the blogs and the blogs are also welcome to syndicate the Medium content back), the scope is slightly different.

    We're hoping to reach developers and readers/writers who might be active on Medium, but might not follow the blogs as closely. The blogs are awesome -- it's one of the main places I go to get the news every week -- but I'm sure there are a lot of devs who don't even know they exist, but already engage with the Medium community. 

    For readers like yourself who follow both, I hope we can offer value both places. I see the Medium publication as more curated and focused -- and with less volume -- with content that might not fit the scope of the blogs as they exist now. Depending on feedback and engagement, I could see us creating link digests or whatever on Medium pointing to external content, but we'll have to see how it goes.

    Thanks again for the comment! If you have suggestions for how we can make the publication better and stand out more from what's happening on the blogs, we'd love to hear it!

  • User profile image
    ahelland

    @christinaw:

    Thanks for the detailed response Christina, that clarifies things.

    It makes sense to have different outlets for different purposes. I mean, I don't watch TWC9 for the deep dives, but often there are things I wasn't aware of that I can dig into afterwards if I want to.

    MSDN blogs work great for those short "hey, new version of foobar is out" type of posts, and those don't make sense on Medium. I usually cross-post my posts so other than reaching different audiences it's not like I tailor the content for each platform, but I can only produce so much content in my free time :)

    The writing experience is way nicer on Medium than the clunky Wordpress driving MSDN Blogs. Sure, I sometimes miss the ability to edit the HTML tags directly, but not very frequently. On the other hand I dislike using Gists for every little code snippet to make it look nice on Medium, so neither is perfect. (Since Medium has a decent import feature I usually post first at MSDN Blogs and then port it to Medium just going over the formatting before publishing.) Of course, most people primarily consume so for them these are moot points.

    As a reader shorter posts work ok in both places, but if it's something that takes 20 minutes to read I prefer the typography and ui of Medium. (If it's a 60 minute read I probably prefer an ebook/white paper with proper pagination.) Automatically suggesting part II if you're reading part I without you manually including links is also a plus for Medium.

    I'm not saying everything I write is an epic tale, and I don't expect every article on Medium to be pieces of art either, but what you're saying about less volume and a certain level of vetting makes perfect sense to me. I don't need ten new articles daily, because I'm not going to be able to read all of that anyways. However I am the kind of guy who can sit myself down with a cup of coffee and a long read article on microservices architecture, but I get that not everyone sees it that way :)

    I would also prefer the Medium posts to present as much of the content on the same page instead of linking to x number of other places, as blogs often do, since that breaks the flow. (Not saying links or digests are verboten, but try to maintain the focus in the main view.) Of course, precise instructions that need to be kept up to date should probably go on docs.microsoft.com, and if it's "teach yourself C# in 300 pages" it might not even be something Microsoft should present.

    The blogs on MSDN are also often team and/or product specific, so you might not even be aware of the places to look, whereas Medium allows for a more cross-team discovery of content.

    And I haven't even gone into comparing blog posts to videos on Channel9 and Microsoft Virtual Academy. (Which is sort of out of scope for this discussion.)

    TL; DR - Yes, I am perfectly fine with another place to read great Azure content :)

    Make sure you get good writers, allow for community contributions, have a way for the community to submit ideas for posts. "Hey, seems a lot of people want to know how feature x actually works under the hood; maybe we should do a three part story on that." (You should set a quality bar for external submissions, though I don't know exactly how those metrics would work. I'm sure you alredy have some ideas in that department.)

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