Happy New Year!
I took two weeks off from coming into the office and spent some great time with my family just relaxing. Amazingly, it actually snowed here in the Seattle area on Christmas. Our marine climate tends to make snow an infrequent occurance, usually in January and February, so it was a nice treat. But I wasn't completely disconnected from the office; I did spend some time working remotely on the SQL Server web sites.
So, what's new with the sites? Well, everything, as I have just pushed the button to launch the newly revamped SQL Server TechCenter and Developer Center!
For months (years?) you, our customers, have been asking us, "Why do you (Microsoft) force us to go to different web sites for SQL Server information?" The answer had more to do with past history and how things had been done, plush a dash of internal politics, but today, we've taken a giant leap forward in creating a more cohesive experience for you when visiting TechNet or MSDN online.
Here's what I, along with phenomenal support from my team, have done:
* Completely scoured the TechNet and MSDN sites for bad links and fixed them
* Purged/combined pages as needed
* Re-built the web site architecture from the ground up
* Categorized content (pages) that were the best fit for IT Pros, Developers or both audiences. Content pages for both audiences, which we're calling Core Content, are now shown on both sites, in the same site map location.
* Provided a cross-property TechNet/MSDN navigational link in the upper right-hand corner of the page to view the same or related page on the other site
* Added links to relevant TechNet and MSDN forums to many pages
* Added links to events, webcasts and virtual labs to relevant pages
* Updated the MSDN home page to match the look and feel of the TechNet home page
* Adding a ratings and feedback header to every page - tell us what you think of the page or site
* And a whole bunch of other little stuff you'll see and things you won't on the back-end
This now means that if you're looking for information about SQL Server 2005 Notification Services, the pages on TechNet and MSDN are exactly the same, you won't have to view them both to find all the information about the topice, and when we update the page, changes will appear on both sites at the same time.
Long-term, we have also unblocked some back-end issues that will make site localization easier, which means more localized content, and put the site into ship-shape for upcoming SQL Server 2008 content.
How did we do? Please use the ratings and feedback header to tell us or leave me a comment.
Best wishes for a safe and prosperous 2008!