MSDN



  • I'm a java programmer, I've taken several credits of Java programming and read several of the books for java programming (and threw away one (Java Hardcore, it's crappy and not even correct)). I switched to VB .NET simply to fill the empty class in high school that I'm not allowed to have (sense our school offers (elective wise) Math, ag, and vocational (automotives, keyboarding, Desktop Publishing...), and I have the math). Coming from the wonderfuly easy to navigate and find information Javadocs, I can never find anything in MSDN, never. Sure I can find a few articals on how something works but it's no where near as good as JavaDocs and sometimes (most of the time) down right unusable.

     Has anyone else noticed it?



  • @malfist said:

    I'm a java programmer, I've taken several credits of Java programming and read several of the books for java programming (and threw away one (Java Hardcore, it's crappy and not even correct)). I switched to VB .NET simply to fill the empty class in high school that I'm not allowed to have (sense our school offers (elective wise) Math, ag, and vocational (automotives, keyboarding, Desktop Publishing...), and I have the math). Coming from the wonderfuly easy to navigate and find information Javadocs, I can never find anything in MSDN, never. Sure I can find a few articals on how something works but it's no where near as good as JavaDocs and sometimes (most of the time) down right unusable.

     Has anyone else noticed it?

    Are you using the online version of MSDN? I can never find anything on the site quickly. I always need the version in the help file. What exactly have you been looking for?



  • I use google to search msdn - it works pretty well for me.



  • Yeah, I've noticed that as well.  The JavaDocs are excellent; and while I wouldn't say the MSDN is unusable, it is far more difficult to use.

    Speaking of getting help on .NET, I've noticed something else.  How-to articles or blogs about .NET rarely include the "Using" statements needed to actually run the code snippets that are in the article.  Which means that searching for how to do something usually involves at least two searches.  One to find the code snippet, and one to find out which namespaces the classes are in.



  • @malfist said:

    I can never find anything in MSDN, never.

    If you have MSDN stored locally, just highlight what you need info on and hit F1.  I only use MSDN for the gory details though, if I need a high-level overview of some aspect of .NET I just search for it in google (which usually finds smoe good blog posts about it). 



  • IMO MSDN is hardly more difficult to use than Javadoc. But since they support more than one language, they have to break things down more into detail.



  • You seem (in my (humble) opinion (which doesn't mean much)) to be (or possibly could be) more of a Lisp programmer (but I could be (and probably am) wrong).



  • @MJG said:

    Speaking of getting help on .NET, I've noticed something else.  How-to articles or blogs about .NET rarely include the "Using" statements needed to actually run the code snippets that are in the article.  Which means that searching for how to do something usually involves at least two searches.  One to find the code snippet, and one to find out which namespaces the classes are in.

    I know that annoys the crap out of me too, it's not hard to find the namespace on google but seriously if you're giving an example that uses less common namespaces they should be included in the example code.

    I do know what you mean with the online msdn documentation, they certainly made some interesting choices when laying out the API, i wouldn't say it was unusable but it always takes more clicks and time to find something than it does in the java documentation.  Luckily though i find the intellisense in vs is usually good enough that you don't need to visit the docs too often. 



  • @MJG said:

    Speaking of getting help on .NET, I've noticed something else.  How-to articles or blogs about .NET rarely include the "Using" statements needed to actually run the code snippets that are in the article.  Which means that searching for how to do something usually involves at least two searches.  One to find the code snippet, and one to find out which namespaces the classes are in.

    It can be annoying, but VS 2005 at least offers to add in the using declarations for you, or turn the type name into a fully qualified type name. I don't know if it would work with copy-and-paste from MSDN though. 



  • @rmr said:

    I use google to search msdn - it works pretty well for me.

    +1. When I need something from msdn I search google for "site:msdn2.microsoft.com whatever". Works much better than msdn search. (and faster, and more accurate, ...)



  • Ah ... back in '97 I just couldn't believe it when I got the MSDN CD's. I never saw such an exhaustive documentation before, so easily searchable and fast. javadoc html files were not so good ( as I looked them up offline ), and I was a real ( already outdated but still so useful )  unix man page's fanboy, and used delphi and borland help files ( it was no too bad either ). In fact, I felt some remorse every time I had to remove the msdn CD from the CD tray.

    Since then, I don't work in these environment anymore, so I can't say. I just find it real old school when I lookup javadoc-generated pages ; rubydoc is more or less the same. I think these online docs could use some of today's navigation paradigms, such as tags and the like. As a counter-example I just hate it when I have to check the scriptaculous wiki and other messed-up, outdated, almost-worse-than-reverse-engineering documentation. When looking for HTML/css/javascript documentation, google always directs me to stupid, beginner's documentation with awful examples ( w3schools are one of them ... ). I'd better organize myself with nice bookmarks, you'd say, and erm, well, you'd be right. I'm lazy. Still, as you might have guessed, I didn't choose my current programming environment for its documentation. Bad doc is probably endemic to an ever changing and free-as-in-beer world. So I pay the price, and that's not so bad.



  • It's easiest to browse MSDN from Visual Studio, but I don't have a problem with it online, you get used to the layout, and can find what you want very quickly after you become accustomed to it. There's just a LOT of info on there.


Log in to reply
 

Looks like your connection to What the Daily WTF? was lost, please wait while we try to reconnect.