dcsimg

View Poll Results: Do you use the MSDN documentation and if not, why not?

Voters
50. You may not vote on this poll
  • I use the documentation regularly, primarily on my local machine

    10 20.00%
  • I use the documentation regularly, primarily the online version

    37 74.00%
  • I didn't know there was any documentation

    0 0%
  • I assumed that it would be too hard to use or understand

    0 0%
  • I tried it and I found it to be too hard to use and understand, so I gave up

    3 6.00%
  • Why should I bother looking for myself when someone on a forum can tell me

    0 0%
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 40 of 53

Thread: Do You Use the MSDN Documentation and If Not, Why Not

  1. #1

    Thread Starter
    .NUT jmcilhinney's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Sydney, Australia
    Posts
    104,705

    Do You Use the MSDN Documentation and If Not, Why Not

    Anyone who is familiar with my posts will know that extol the virtues of the MSDN documentation on a regular basis. The regularity and frequency of that extolling is an indication of how many people, for whatever reason, don't use the documentation. Some say that I've forgotten what it's like to be a beginner, but I remember using the MSDN documentation as a beginner. I remember that I couldn't always find what I needed and I also remember that I didn't always understand what I found. More importantly, I remember that that didn't stop me using it first every time I had an issue and I also remember getting better at using it over time. So, I'm genuinely interested to know, if you don't use the MSDN documentation, what is your reason? If you think that maybe using the documentation would be a good idea but don't know how, ask me for tips.
    Last edited by jmcilhinney; Feb 28th, 2010 at 07:44 AM.

  2. #2
    PowerPoster
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    The Netherlands
    Posts
    5,070

    Re: Do You Use the MSDN Documentation and If Not, Why Not

    When I started out I didn't use it much. First because I didn't even know it existed, and once I did it was too hard to understand. All the terms they use are hard to understand if you've never seen them before. You might say that you can look up the meaning of that term, but then you get to another MSDN page with even more terms you don't know. It never ends... For example, it turns out that, in order to get a list of all methods of a class, all you need to do is click the '<Classname> Members' link. However, I had no idea that they were called members, so I never found it.
    I really think that, in order to use the MSDN documentation, you must already have some experience and know what certain terms mean. Otherwise it's all meaningless rambling. Of course that's hardly MSDN's fault, I don't think you can do anything about it, except telling newbies how to find the information they're looking for (which is exactly what many people on this forum do regularly).

    Now that I know how to use it I use it much more. It's a great resource if you ever need to look something up quickly, although it lacks some information in some cases (not very much).
    For some reason I never use the off-line version. I think it's because it takes quite some time to load, whereas I can just as easily start up my browser and type 'MSDN <search terms>' and find the same pages in much less time. For some reason I do always install the MSDN documentation even if I never use it. No idea why hehe.

  3. #3
    eXtreme Programmer .paul.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Chelmsford UK
    Posts
    23,126

    Re: Do You Use the MSDN Documentation and If Not, Why Not

    i voted but i agree with Nick.
    you should add another poll item to that effect

  4. #4
    PowerPoster JuggaloBrotha's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Lansing, MI; USA
    Posts
    4,283

    Re: Do You Use the MSDN Documentation and If Not, Why Not

    I use it quite regularly and because of the multiple versions of VS I'll have installed on my system(s) I don't bother installing MSDN on my local machine. Then again I always have internet access and the online docs are always up to date for all versions of VS.

    I also like how google has 99&#37; of the online MSDN indexed so they show in your google searches as well, much easier to use in some cases.

    When I first started out, I rarely used it. I knew all about it but I didn't know how to search it and when I found what I was looking for, the terminology they use was beyond me. However, I now know what all that terminology means and I've also gotten used to how to search for stuff too. That and MS has made improvements to it on their website, which is easier to navigate now than it was back in 2002.

  5. #5
    Addicted Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    152

    Re: Do You Use the MSDN Documentation and If Not, Why Not

    The MSDN can be a bit confusing for newer guys but I would be lost without it and google. Typing a topic question in google will at the very least give you a list of keywords to try in the MSDN. With that said though, I think the discussion board would be pretty quiet if people ever bother to try looking something up on there own. It does get annoying though when the majority of posts can be answered by simply taking the topic name and entering them into Google and/or the MDSN

  6. #6
    PowerPoster keystone_paul's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    3,327

    Re: Do You Use the MSDN Documentation and If Not, Why Not

    I think a lot of the problem is that the MSDN documentation can be bewildering for newcomers who are looking for specific information to do with one language and get presented with examples in C#, C++, Jscript etc as well as the VB examples. Thats not to say the information they want isn't there but it looks like information overload at first and can appear quite intimidating.

    When I started (with VB3) most of documentation and examples you got seemed to be aimed at C++ developers and so it was just not that easy to find the relevant information. I think it has vastly improved over the years though.

    I use the online msdn exclusively and never both installing locally as in these days of cheap fast broadband you might as well use the up-to-date online version and save a few gig of hard drive space.

  7. #7

    Re: Do You Use the MSDN Documentation and If Not, Why Not

    Like most everyone else here that's posted, when I first started I never used MSDN. I tried before but, again like everyone else, the wording and terminology of MSDN was above me. As I got better at programming and understanding, I started to use MSDN more and more.

    I actually never used the offline one because it was insanely slow on my computer, still is. The online runs much faster and as KP pointed out, the online is more up to date and saves you space.

  8. #8
    Stack Overflow mod​erator
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    British Columbia, Canada
    Posts
    2,824

    Re: Do You Use the MSDN Documentation and If Not, Why Not

    I only use it when I don't have IntelliSense by my side (at the public library, for example) and I can't remember whether it's called LockMode or ImageLockMode.

  9. #9
    Addicted Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    152

    Re: Do You Use the MSDN Documentation and If Not, Why Not

    Quote Originally Posted by formlesstree4 View Post
    I actually never used the offline one because it was insanely slow on my computer, still is. The online runs much faster and as KP pointed out, the online is more up to date and saves you space.
    I agree with saving space but I really cant picture it being faster. With that said though, I have to wonder at just how much updating they do to the online version...

  10. #10

    Thread Starter
    .NUT jmcilhinney's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Sydney, Australia
    Posts
    104,705

    Re: Do You Use the MSDN Documentation and If Not, Why Not

    Having read the posts above, I can see a theme developing, although it's one that I was pretty much aware of anyway. Those who used MSDN early on found it confusing to a greater or lesser degree and, in many cases, stopped using it until their knowledge grew to such a level that they understood the terms used.

    Elsewhere, I've seen some people complain about the fact that MSDN is too technical. I can see why people would want it to be otherwise but, given its target audience, it's not realistic to expect it to be. It's supposed to be a .NET programming reference, not a programming tutorial.

    I can also see why people would make comments like:
    However, I had no idea that they were called members, so I never found it.
    but I do have an issue with that. The MSDN web site is, obviously, a web site. It works like all web sites. The offline documentation works in essentially the same way, but with some added features. That means that there's nothing to stop you clicking a link just to see where it leads. If it doesn't seem useful you can always click the Back button.

    To me, exploring is part of learning. I can't count the number of times I've learned something useful just by clicking a link just to see. If you go to a page in the documentation and it doesn't tell you exactly what you want, follow some of the links, which will obviously lead to related information. I should also point out that the table of contents, available in both the online and offline versions of the documentation, list items for not only all members, but also fields, properties, methods and events individually. I feel like a lack of desire to investigate is holding back people from finding the information they need now and from learning in general. You can see it in people who post here and say that they didn't know because they are new, but they didn't bother to click the FAQ link that is visible on every page.

  11. #11
    Hyperactive Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    307

    Re: Do You Use the MSDN Documentation and If Not, Why Not

    I started learning vb.net in June of last year and feel like I've learned a lot largely through help from this forum. When I need to learn how to do something I've never done before, I'll do an exhaustive google search for my question before I will post it here. I have found answers using the MSDN documentation, but I would say more often then not, I didn't get my answer there and had to find it elsewhere. A lot of their explanations and examples are written for the advanced programmer in my opinion. Especially when dealing with more complex topics.

    Just about everyone who's responded to this post so far has kind of said the same thing - when they were starting out they found MSDN hard to understand. I get frustrated when I ask a question and I'm told "read the documentation". That's not the end all answer for everyone.

  12. #12

    Thread Starter
    .NUT jmcilhinney's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Sydney, Australia
    Posts
    104,705

    Re: Do You Use the MSDN Documentation and If Not, Why Not

    Quote Originally Posted by dkahn View Post
    Just about everyone who's responded to this post so far has kind of said the same thing - when they were starting out they found MSDN hard to understand. I get frustrated when I ask a question and I'm told "read the documentation". That's not the end all answer for everyone.
    I'm certainly not saying that you will always find what you need in the documentation. I don't now and I certainly didn't when I was starting out. That said, I always do, and always did, look in the documentation first.

    What frustrates me is when people ask questions that they obviously haven't looked for the answer to first. For example, when I first started posting on this forum is was relatively new to .NET programming myself. .NET 1.1 and VS.NET 2003 were still the latest and read many questions on this board regarding the WinForms DataGrid control. I had never once used a DataGrid in an application myself, yet I lost count of the number of questions I was able to answer simply by reading the documentation for the DataGrid class. I had no idea what the answer was when I read the question, but almost universally I was able to answer them in less than 5 minutes by reading the doco. If I could do it, they could have done it for themselves.

    As another example, just a day or two ago someone posted a question to the effect of "how go I get the text of an item in a ListBox". Those were not the exact words but very close. Now, I already knew that there is a ListBox.GetItemText method and I also knew that if that person had bothered to read the ListBox documentation they would have found it for themselves. The name makes it pretty obvious what it does but the description even more so:
    Returns the text representation of the specified item.
    I have no issue with people posting questions on forums. I would think that that would be obvious. I post questions on forums myself. I never post without having searched pretty thoroughly first though. Obviously what constitutes a thorough search differs depending on your skill level but no search at all certainly doesn't qualify.

    Also, if you want to be a software developer then I would hope that you're a halfway decent software user. As such, noone should have to tell you to use the Help menu or the F1 key, both of which lead to the MSDN documentation from VS, assuming that it's installed. Anyone who has installed VS or has downloaded VB Express for themselves should have done so. If you got VB Express form another source, e.g. school, it may be their fault that you don't have the documentation installed. I really believe that anyone taking on any sort of teaching role needs to be more active in encouraging beginners to use the documentation as well.

  13. #13
    Hyperactive Member The Fire Snake's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    401

    Re: Do You Use the MSDN Documentation and If Not, Why Not

    Frankly I love the MSDN online documentation. I bought a few books regarding VB.Net and they are good but I am finding that I like the MSDN docs more in many instances. They are not as wordy, but they are very concise and to the point. They are coming in very helpul. Some concepts explained in my books over many pages confused me but a quick lookup in MSDN helped to re leave my confusion.

  14. #14
    I'm about to be a PowerPoster! Joacim Andersson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 1999
    Location
    Sweden
    Posts
    14,649

    Re: Do You Use the MSDN Documentation and If Not, Why Not

    When I started out I used printed manuals, there was no such thing as the MSDN Libarary, no Google, and not even a World Wide Web.
    Learning today is so much easier than it was back then.

  15. #15
    I'm about to be a PowerPoster! Joacim Andersson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 1999
    Location
    Sweden
    Posts
    14,649

    Re: Do You Use the MSDN Documentation and If Not, Why Not

    Oh, and here's a macro I use. I've mapped it to Ctrl+F1 in Visual Studio, instead of opening the MSDN library, which takes ages to load, it simply does a Google search for the selected text or the current word the text caret is on. I usually find what I search for in the first couple of links.
    Code:
      Public Sub SearchWord()
        Dim textDocument As EnvDTE.TextDocument
        Dim selection As EnvDTE.TextSelection
        'Get the active text document        
        textDocument = CType(DTE.ActiveDocument.Object, EnvDTE.TextDocument)
        selection = textDocument.Selection
        If selection.IsEmpty Then
          'If no selection exists then select the word under the text caret
          selection.WordLeft(False, 1)
          selection.WordRight(True, 1)
        End If
        System.Diagnostics.Process.Start("http://www.google.com/search?q=" & selection.Text)
      End Sub

  16. #16
    Hyperactive Member BadgerBadger's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Wales
    Posts
    382

    Re: Do You Use the MSDN Documentation and If Not, Why Not

    As like most people, when I first started learning I did find the documentation hard to understand, but that never stopped me from making myself understand it by using pages such as this and this.

    If you find the documentation hard to understand, my advice would be to learn brush up on what you find confusing and then work your way up to the point where you understand that specific article.
    "The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education."

  17. #17
    Addicted Member stefano5's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    London UK
    Posts
    131

    Re: Do You Use the MSDN Documentation and If Not, Why Not

    I prefer the online MSDN documentation, mainly because I like to think its more current then any other version. The MSDN reference Library is good, but I often find it difficult to navigate through. I think that there should be a section for each .NET namespace with related articles kept somewhere else. Kinda like Adobe Livedocs.
    We are continually faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems.
    - John W. Gardner

  18. #18
    PowerPoster 2.0 Negative0's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Location
    Southeastern MI
    Posts
    4,367

    Re: Do You Use the MSDN Documentation and If Not, Why Not

    I use the Online documentation primarily, and I agree with JuggaloBrotha that I don't even bother installing the offline version any more. The only problem I have with the MSDN documentation is that their examples are sometimes lacking. When you have an object with a complex call with multiple arguments of different types, it is sometimes hard to determine what creates some of the types that are used as arguments. Overall, 90&#37; of the time, I can find what I need on the MSDN. The other 10% is usually blogs, codeproject or here.

  19. #19
    Super Moderator Shaggy Hiker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Idaho
    Posts
    34,902

    Re: Do You Use the MSDN Documentation and If Not, Why Not

    MSDN didn't exist when I started out. When MSDN started out, it was incomplete, often poorly written, and sometimes entirely absent (loads of dead end links). That was a bit frustrating, as I could find a likely link only to be directed into a wall. However, it improved rapidly, and is now my major source. Since I'm not always on line, I use the installed version primarily, but it can be set to use online then offline in priority and I forget which way I have it set, so I may be using the online more than I think.

    The cost of loading is a one time charge, and it isn't as vexing as the cost of opening up the References window.
    My usual boring signature: Nothing

  20. #20
    PowerPoster JuggaloBrotha's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Lansing, MI; USA
    Posts
    4,283

    Re: Do You Use the MSDN Documentation and If Not, Why Not

    Quote Originally Posted by Joacim Andersson View Post
    Oh, and here's a macro I use. I've mapped it to Ctrl+F1 in Visual Studio, instead of opening the MSDN library, which takes ages to load, it simply does a Google search for the selected text or the current word the text caret is on. I usually find what I search for in the first couple of links.
    Code:
      Public Sub SearchWord()
        Dim textDocument As EnvDTE.TextDocument
        Dim selection As EnvDTE.TextSelection
        'Get the active text document        
        textDocument = CType(DTE.ActiveDocument.Object, EnvDTE.TextDocument)
        selection = textDocument.Selection
        If selection.IsEmpty Then
          'If no selection exists then select the word under the text caret
          selection.WordLeft(False, 1)
          selection.WordRight(True, 1)
        End If
        System.Diagnostics.Process.Start("http://www.google.com/search?q=" & selection.Text)
      End Sub
    I have VS configured to use the online docs, so pressing F1 opens my web browser and takes me right to the control/method/etc.. @ msdn.com

  21. #21
    Karen Payne MVP kareninstructor's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    6,523

    Re: Do You Use the MSDN Documentation and If Not, Why Not

    My first language was C and had many questions from my mentor who said I can answer these questions for you but he suggested I read the manual first, not the entire manual but pointed out fundamental sections. I still had questions but had a much better understanding and could ask questions better. Next language was Nantucket Clipper where other than advance topics could figure out solutions from the manual. Borland Delphi was next which had one manual for language basics and like languages before was great for providing a good grounding in the language. I remember hitting forums where this one guru would post RTFM when he encountered people asking questions that were so basic that if the person had spent less than two hours before jumping into Delphi they would not be asking the question. Jumping to .NET, manuals have become much more complex but that should not stop developers from reading basics as the online manuals do a good job of documenting basics.

    Currently my idea of starting a new language is to first read basics in the manual, find good solid resources for language specifics like http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/vbasic/bb688088.aspx or http://devhood.com/tutorials/tutoria...utorial_id=633 which for some are good starting points. Neither may be correct but they get you started.

    Many of my fellow developers come from VB6 land where I do not and they began life in .NET without reading manuals and stayed the course with VB6 mentality, struggled with many issues that they would not have if they had read the manuals.

    One thing that really assisted me in the beginning with .NET documentation is adding items to help favorites which makes it easy to find things I might want to come back too.

  22. #22
    New Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    10

    Re: Do You Use the MSDN Documentation and If Not, Why Not

    I use it, but I don't find it to be to user friendly, especially in terms of GUI. There isn't a clear information hierarchy, nor does it make good use of typefaces. Also, it would be a real help if there was a search function of some sort.

    I've always wondered why Microsoft can't seem to incorporate better design. They certainly have the resources to hire some real talent. Microsoft constantly seems to ignore some basic design rules, as seen here on msdn.

    I'll reserve my other complaints because, they might just be bothering me because of my lack of coding experience.

  23. #23

    Thread Starter
    .NUT jmcilhinney's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Sydney, Australia
    Posts
    104,705

    Re: Do You Use the MSDN Documentation and If Not, Why Not

    Quote Originally Posted by hodge View Post
    I use it, but I don't find it to be to user friendly, especially in terms of GUI. There isn't a clear information hierarchy, nor does it make good use of typefaces. Also, it would be a real help if there was a search function of some sort.

    I've always wondered why Microsoft can't seem to incorporate better design. They certainly have the resources to hire some real talent. Microsoft constantly seems to ignore some basic design rules, as seen here on msdn.

    I'll reserve my other complaints because, they might just be bothering me because of my lack of coding experience.
    I think you must be talking about some other MSDN because both the online and offline versions that I use provide a hierarchical table of contents, including a full hierarchical reference for the .NET class library, and both also provide a search engine.

  24. #24
    New Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    10

    Re: Do You Use the MSDN Documentation and If Not, Why Not

    Quote Originally Posted by jmcilhinney View Post
    I think you must be talking about some other MSDN because both the online and offline versions that I use provide a hierarchical table of contents, including a full hierarchical reference for the .NET class library, and both also provide a search engine.
    When I say hierarchical, I am not talking about the navigation to individual articles, but the articles itself. Good design when dealing with things of this nature generally employ the use of different typefaces, colors, weight etc to convey the importance of information. They do this to an extent, but not nearly as much as I'd like. As the site stands now, each article is a chaotic, cluttered, and honestly a pain to read.

    About the search function, isn't it just a Bing search form? I'd like a search function similar to that in the object browser.

  25. #25
    PowerPoster VBDT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    CA - USA
    Posts
    2,922

    Re: Do You Use the MSDN Documentation and If Not, Why Not

    When I started programing I used the MSDN very frequently. I specially like the Dynamic Help of VS; just highlight the word and you can click the relevant link in the dynamic help window and get the information you need, even get some code examples.
    Now I use it whenever I need it, not very frequently as I used to though. Even though this forum helped me a lot but getting technical and right info from MSDN is my first chose.

  26. #26
    I'm about to be a PowerPoster! Joacim Andersson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 1999
    Location
    Sweden
    Posts
    14,649

    Re: Do You Use the MSDN Documentation and If Not, Why Not

    Quote Originally Posted by JuggaloBrotha View Post
    I have VS configured to use the online docs, so pressing F1 opens my web browser and takes me right to the control/method/etc.. @ msdn.com
    I use online docs too but they are opened within the MSDN Library.

  27. #27
    Learning .Net danasegarane's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    VBForums
    Posts
    5,834

    Re: Do You Use the MSDN Documentation and If Not, Why Not

    I mainly use online MSDN Stuffs only
    Please mark you thread resolved using the Thread Tools as shown



    www.techreceipe.tk


  28. #28
    Fanatic Member Megalith's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Secret location in the UK
    Posts
    879

    Re: Do You Use the MSDN Documentation and If Not, Why Not

    I will click F1 if i get some error i don't understand and if i'm not sure which intellisense property i need,Like others here i think google is my best friend, top of the list almost always is msdn on my google searches and often there is good examples (codeproject or here).

    Sometimes however i don't have a lot of success or what i find is misleading (or wrong in some places) so i ask a question. As a human being i'm essentially lazy and once i have asked a question i will use the thread i started as my primary help method but often members here will give links or snippets that make more sense and are a lot more relevent to my specific issue than google and msdn have provided.

    I voted primarily online msdn...
    If debugging is the process of removing bugs, then programming must be the process of putting them in.

  29. #29
    Lively Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    70

    Re: Do You Use the MSDN Documentation and If Not, Why Not

    To me MSDN is good for specific information if you already understand a concept. But if you want to do one thing that involves a whole new area that you only have a vague idea about, it's much easier to Google or ask in a forum where you can get focussed down to what you need without spending days teaching yourself a huge topic.

    Examples of where I've had to gain a deep understanding to do apparently simple tasks:
    How do I make a deep clone of an object?
    How do I take a screen capture from DirectX?
    What registry entries are needed to register a COM server?
    How do I make an MSI installer?

  30. #30

    Thread Starter
    .NUT jmcilhinney's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Sydney, Australia
    Posts
    104,705

    Re: Do You Use the MSDN Documentation and If Not, Why Not

    Quote Originally Posted by Kallog View Post
    To me MSDN is good for specific information if you already understand a concept. But if you want to do one thing that involves a whole new area that you only have a vague idea about, it's much easier to Google or ask in a forum where you can get focussed down to what you need without spending days teaching yourself a huge topic.

    Examples of where I've had to gain a deep understanding to do apparently simple tasks:
    How do I make a deep clone of an object?
    How do I take a screen capture from DirectX?
    What registry entries are needed to register a COM server?
    How do I make an MSI installer?
    I agree wholeheartedly with this. While MSDN can certainly help with broader topics, its strength is as a reference. One issue I have is when people ask questions on broader topics, you provide them with the names of the types and members that they need to use in order do what they want to do and then, instead of looking up those types and members, they ask you to write the code for them. If you don't know what class or method to use to get a job done then finding the answer on MSDN is probably going to be difficult. Once you know exactly what class and method to use, you should be looking those up in the documentation to find out as much as you can for yourself, then only asking for more help if you still can't solve the problem.

  31. #31
    Master Of Orion ForumAccount's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    2,802

    Re: Do You Use the MSDN Documentation and If Not, Why Not

    Didn't read the whole thread, I like the MSDN. It's good, provides decent examples to get you started. It's detailed, commented, explanatory (usually) and functional, and I also find it fairly easy to understand.

  32. #32

    Thread Starter
    .NUT jmcilhinney's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Sydney, Australia
    Posts
    104,705

    Re: Do You Use the MSDN Documentation and If Not, Why Not

    It's interesting to see that of the 40 votes cast so far, 39 have been for the first 2 options. I guess the people who would vote for the other 4 are generally either too embarrassed to do so or they don't feel confident enough to contribute to a thread of this nature. Ah well, hopefully some of them will see these posts and think that maybe they should use the documentation more.

    Thanks to all who have contributed so far.

  33. #33
    Hyperactive Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    307

    Re: Do You Use the MSDN Documentation and If Not, Why Not

    I guess the people who would vote for the other 4 are generally either too embarrassed to do so or they don't feel confident enough to contribute to a thread of this nature.
    I have a question. Why are you displaying each respondents name and how they voted? If this were an anonymous poll, you'd probably get a much bigger response.

  34. #34

    Thread Starter
    .NUT jmcilhinney's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Sydney, Australia
    Posts
    104,705

    Re: Do You Use the MSDN Documentation and If Not, Why Not

    Quote Originally Posted by dkahn View Post
    I have a question. Why are you displaying each respondents name and how they voted? If this were an anonymous poll, you'd probably get a much bigger response.
    Maybe. I thought perhaps only I could see the names but I guess not. I thought that when I created the poll I did set the options such that names wouldn't be displayed but either I didn't or something else went wrong. I'll see if I can change it or get a mod to. Thanks for pointing it out.

    That said, if people don't want to take ownership of their vote, is that an indication that they know they're doing the wrong thing?

  35. #35

    Thread Starter
    .NUT jmcilhinney's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Sydney, Australia
    Posts
    104,705

    Re: Do You Use the MSDN Documentation and If Not, Why Not

    Quote Originally Posted by dkahn View Post
    If this were an anonymous poll
    Which it now is.

  36. #36
    I'm about to be a PowerPoster!
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Everywhere
    Posts
    13,651

    Re: Do You Use the MSDN Documentation and If Not, Why Not

    I'm not working in .NET at the moment, but when I am, I use the online documentation all the time.

    Right now I'm working with Adobe Flex. One thing I like about Adobe's online documentation is that the tutorials and articles are distinctly separate from the technical reference.

    For example, here's the reference page for the State type:
    http://livedocs.adobe.com/flex/3/lan...tes/State.html

    Here is the documentation on using states:
    http://livedocs.adobe.com/flex/3/htm..._states_3.html

    And here is a "Quickstart" tutorial:
    http://www.adobe.com/devnet/flex/qui...e_transitions/

    All three can be found by searching livedocs.adobe.com, and they tend to be cross-referenced as well.

    MSDN has all of that sort of content and much more but I find it much harder to navigate. The structure of the documentation is quite abstruse. (For example, their categories don't convey much helpful information — what's the difference between ".NET Framework Class Library" and ".NET Framework Programming"? And what's the "General Reference for the .NET Framework"?) Veterans know how to find the information they need but the structure of the site is offputting to newcomers. I think this is why a lot of people come straight to the forums instead of using MSDN.

  37. #37
    Lively Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    70

    Re: Do You Use the MSDN Documentation and If Not, Why Not

    I reckon. I used to bookmark the sections I frequently used because I could never find them again by navigating the tree.

    I think half the problem is there's such a huge volume of often similar material they have to document.

    Quote Originally Posted by penagate View Post
    their categories don't convey much helpful information what's the difference between ".NET Framework Class Library" and ".NET Framework Programming"? And what's the "General Reference for the .NET Framework"?)

  38. #38

    Thread Starter
    .NUT jmcilhinney's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Sydney, Australia
    Posts
    104,705

    Re: Do You Use the MSDN Documentation and If Not, Why Not

    It's a fairly rare thing that I use the table of contents. I primarily use the offline version and I almost exclusively use the Index, because I almost always use it to look up a specific type or member. When using the online version I almost always use the search feature and then navigate using in-topic links or, very occasionally, a link in the ToC that is in the same section as the one I'm currently viewing.

  39. #39
    Lively Member eatmycode's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Kingston upon Hull
    Posts
    74

    Re: Do You Use the MSDN Documentation and If Not, Why Not

    The MSDN Library is an absolute credit to Microsoft. The fact I have gone from a beginner to somewhat of an intermediate programmer adds testament to that. I have worked my way through the library, which is installed on my pc, starting with the keywords and into the .NET development.

    It's such an incredible resource that you can become lost in its immensity. And perhaps that is its caveat for beginners, that you can end up becoming lost and confused trying to understand elements that are way beyond your understanding. But if you stick to the TOC format you should gain a sufficient structure to progress further and further.

    I don't like the on-line version as it's a bit overwhelming with all the versions and the download time. But I do use it if there is added information that isn't in the off-line version.

    Excellent resource. I can't stress it enough, for beginners at the least.

  40. #40

    Thread Starter
    .NUT jmcilhinney's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Sydney, Australia
    Posts
    104,705

    Re: Do You Use the MSDN Documentation and If Not, Why Not

    Quote Originally Posted by eatmycode View Post
    The MSDN Library is an absolute credit to Microsoft. The fact I have gone from a beginner to somewhat of an intermediate programmer adds testament to that. I have worked my way through the library, which is installed on my pc, starting with the keywords and into the .NET development.

    It's such an incredible resource that you can become lost in its immensity. And perhaps that is its caveat for beginners, that you can end up becoming lost and confused trying to understand elements that are way beyond your understanding. But if you stick to the TOC format you should gain a sufficient structure to progress further and further.

    I don't like the on-line version as it's a bit overwhelming with all the versions and the download time. But I do use it if there is added information that isn't in the off-line version.

    Excellent resource. I can't stress it enough, for beginners at the least.
    Woohoo!

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  



Featured


Click Here to Expand Forum to Full Width