Scott Hanselman

We moved your ASP.NET website cheese, in a good way

March 11, '10 Comments [43] Posted in MSDN
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We've just pushed live an update to the http://www.asp.net site. This is the first of a series of updates to the site we'll be making this year.

ASP.NET Website

The home page for the site was getting bogged down with info and was too visually busy. It was too complex for beginners and too intense for advanced folks. Our focus with today's update is to make it easy for new folks to get started, but still make it easy for advanced people to get what they want in few clicks.

Getting Started

The Get Started section is completely new and we'll be adding even more content and samples from Joe Stagner and Jon Galloway in the coming weeks. Both guys are working on complete applications for ASP.NET WebForms 4 and ASP.NET MVC 2, as well as tutorials and videos for each.

WebForms and MVC

Both the WebForms and MVC sections have been completely reorganized with two things in mind. First, there's a lot of videos on the site, but they were poorly categorized and hard to find. Second, we weren't ordering the videos in a way that's conducive to learning. Every video on the site has been re-categorized and been organized in a more logical way. Videos are short, to the point and their lengths have been included on the listing pages. We'll continue to make improvements with the goal to make everything easy to find with upcoming changes including tagging, ranking, etc.

Community

We've added lots of content to the Community page in an active widget that aggregates news, blogs, podcasts, videos, forum activity and more. We've also added widgets to suck in content from Twitter, Digg and Delicious.

Open Source

Jon has also added an Open Source section to the site with a list of frameworks, applications, and tools that ASP.NET developers might be interested in. They're hand-picked by Jon, so if he missed one that he should consider, let him have it.

Hosting

You'll hear more soon about how it's easier to deploy ASP.NET applications to hosters, and we've added a "Find a Hoster" page that will showcase hosting deals, like Shared, Virtual, or Dedicated hosts.

There's lots of fun to come, but here's Step 0. I hope it help! Thanks to everyone, Cyra, Othmane, Laurence, Jon, Joe, Terri, KevinG, and to ScottGu for kicking us all in the butt daily. Please sir, may I have another? ;)

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. I am a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Thursday, March 11, 2010 12:11:37 AM UTC
I like it how in not IE browsers theres text-shadows and other CSS3 goodies :)
Darko Z
Thursday, March 11, 2010 12:11:47 AM UTC
What I think about the new site? I think Microsoft should hire some talented Graphic Designers!
junior programmer
Thursday, March 11, 2010 1:14:07 AM UTC
I have to agree about the design critique. The top of the page looks like a bad copy of the ruby on rails home page and the rest is not even close to what Microsoft has done on other sites. I love ASP.NET and don't like to thing that someone is going to think the framework is stodgy because the site looks so stodgy.
Thursday, March 11, 2010 1:17:47 AM UTC
Shouldn't it be "Find a Host"?

Don't think "Hoster" is a real word.
Thursday, March 11, 2010 1:58:38 AM UTC
I will cite Charlie Kindel's (the guy responsible for Windows Phone 7 developer experiences) words here:

We will do a few things and do them very, very well; we are better off not having a capability than doing it poorly. There are always future versions.

I understand there will be future iterations of the site like you mentioned, but doing it poorly is worse than doing it later. You aren't obligated to have a new version of EVERYTHING for the sake of MIX10. Sorry pals, I really hoped to say "Good job"!!
Thursday, March 11, 2010 2:25:14 AM UTC
Hi Scott,

Could the team possibly relax the password requirements? Currently it's set to at least one uppercase char and at least one number. The problem is I can never remember the pesky password! I can understand the these kind of password requirements for internet banking websites but surely not for a forum site?

Thanks
wololo
Thursday, March 11, 2010 2:27:17 AM UTC
Congrats on getting it released!

I'm sure it was a big undertaking having seen the old infrastructure behind the site. I agree there could be some improvement in the future (for ex the header still looks like the old version), but overall it's definitely an order of magnitude better than the old design/layout. I like the increased white space and simplification of the home page too.
Thursday, March 11, 2010 4:35:06 AM UTC
With due respect to your work, I must say that this design sucks. Why dont you guys give this site a modern lift over with visitmix website like style?. At least give asp.net MVC a modern looking separate website.
Thursday, March 11, 2010 4:47:24 AM UTC
Hi Scott

it's kinda creepy and weird how you do this kinda-joking ass-kissey stuff about Scott Guthrie all the time. Podcast, webcasts, etc there's always some comment by you where you're elevating him in some tounge and cheek way. I'm certain Scott would never cone out and say this to you but I've been in the corporate culture long enough to know that your each of your constant allusions to his "greatness" probably make him feel uncomfortable in some (maybe small) way. This is no different than you making some joke to your rich neighbor about how much money he has. Comments like this just tend to make people uncomfortable...
Joey
Thursday, March 11, 2010 4:54:39 AM UTC
Does the page have to have those big flashy ads? It makes it look tacky.


Thursday, March 11, 2010 5:13:36 AM UTC
i love the new design but there is one thing i dont like the old site kinds separate videos, tutorials and the others im just not comfortable with the new page under webforms why don't you make separate sections for videos, tutorials, and books
Thursday, March 11, 2010 6:07:13 AM UTC
This is a much needed update for ASP.NET site :).

Regarding "Find a Host" I think it can be very helpful if you can add specifics for ASP.NET like : "Support Full-Trust applications" or "Support MVC" etc. Traditionally this always required a support call to the hoster to confirm the details. Once done, for a mISV like me, all we have to do is point the client to this page and they choose hosting (I can specify them to select one which support Full-Trust applications etc.
Thursday, March 11, 2010 8:11:28 AM UTC
From the icon, I think 'find a hoster' should say 'find a fallout shelter'.
Will
Thursday, March 11, 2010 9:24:57 AM UTC
In the past I have found www.asp.net to be a great learning resource. I have spent many hours on the website reading articles, watching videos and participating in forum discussions. However, in recent month my motivation to visit www.asp.net has definitely dropped for a number of reasons including those mentioned in this post. I totally agree that it was about time the website had a good makeover and was excited by the idea of the "new look" website. Unfortunately, I have to agree with a lot of the comments above. The "new look" website just doesn't do it for me. It looks like the re-design has been done by a programmer not a graphics designer. The website performance was also below par. At the moment for me the benchmark in terms of programmer resource websites has to be www.stackoverflow.com. I don't think I am ready to abandon www.asp.net altogether yet, but there is certainly room for improvement.
Andrew
Thursday, March 11, 2010 10:21:23 AM UTC
Hi Scott,

Incredibly chuffed to find a link to my ASP.NET Cometh post series on the front page of the new site. Thanks very much for that. It's going to be a lot more than ten posts by the time I've finished. A couple of questions for you though.

1. Can I send you a mugshot so it can be up against the link rather than the .NET wave?
2. Could I suggest adding Programming ASP.NET 3.5 to the list of webforms books and removing the old .NET 2.0 version that's further down the page?

Thanks again,
Dan Maharry
Thursday, March 11, 2010 12:37:22 PM UTC
Hi Scott,

When trying to access the overview video it initially gave my an XML parsing error, then it loaded the page and the video didn't work. This is in Firefox. Also the page is not displayed properly.

I probably won't return to the site anytime soon, so this overview will never be seen by me. I think its important that for things where you are trying to get new users/developers that they work as you only get one chance. Hope it gets fixed eventually.

Also, the design of the website needs a lot of work. I see Microsoft as too large and essential to be worrying about inconsistent standards of design across products, but it would be nice and i'm sure they could pick up a few more users.

Cheers
Reckoner
Thursday, March 11, 2010 4:02:12 PM UTC
After few attempts www.asp.net home page showed up (very slow now, which was not the case earlier).
But when I clicked on 'Get started' I was taken to a blank page.
This might just be for me :(
I will try again later

Murali
Murali
Thursday, March 11, 2010 4:11:10 PM UTC
Apparently the site has been Hansel-dot'ed
Rich
Thursday, March 11, 2010 4:20:02 PM UTC
The main thing I noticed or felt is the site is too slow.The old site was much faster than the current one.Please fix the performance asap...In terms of appearance I do not see a lot of difference and there is nothing that noticeable or commendable compared to the old site. At least the old site was mush faster in loading.
yuvan
Thursday, March 11, 2010 5:10:25 PM UTC
In short... it blows. Everytime a change occurrs to make things simpler for the end user on MSDN and now ASP.net it is worse. The site seems slower, it is hard to find stuff, and the 1st thought I had when I saw the site was.. could you speak louder I do not think he speaks english so well. The #1 item a look forward to are the MVP tips and now where are they? Although news papers are dying the layout was outstanding. That is what should be applied to this and other sites trying to deliver content. Thank G-d you left the header links in place.
Thursday, March 11, 2010 5:10:43 PM UTC
What's up with the new site? Waiting upwards of 30-45 seconds per page load, and during that wait, it's just a blank, white screen. Can't change the avatar, it just has that patterned looking one. When I try it on IE8 (thinking hey, at least it'll work on IE instead of Chrome/FF), it won't let me log into my personal account, and instead is trying to use my work's MSDN Windows Live account.

If this is Umbraco, ehm... better get your money back. Oh wait. Open source.
jess
Thursday, March 11, 2010 5:18:30 PM UTC
Ya, we're getting hammered right now...everyone's on it.
Thursday, March 11, 2010 5:29:31 PM UTC

- The site is so slow I gave up. For now I am going to attribute it to probable high traffic from the curious. But the Who's Online section says 672 members and 0 guests. 672 is not a huge number. I am not signed in so why does it say 0 guests? Am I not considered a guest when I am not signed in? I don't believe all the current visitors are signed in.

- The 4 buttons are huge and take prime real estate above the fold for no good reason and pushes down the spotlight section much of it below the fold. Once one visits the site more than once, we know about the buttons. Make something big when it changes frequently. Buttons don't change.

- This is an old problem and many sites with forums suffer from it. Why when I am in a sub forum, the basic search function return results from ALL the forums. I am just interested in the forum I am in. I have to resort to using more search functions and click at least 4 times to filter down. What if I live in a forum? The site should remember my settings. Google's site advanced search has a save settings feature without even logging in.

Sorry but I am not impressed. With the very slow performance, the experience was agonizing.
abdu
Thursday, March 11, 2010 5:35:32 PM UTC
Why does a Microsoft page have ads? This makes no sense - do you REALLY need the revenue? It makes for a poor page.
Thursday, March 11, 2010 6:27:09 PM UTC
I like the look of the home page.

The ads are lame, most of the other web frameworks don't use ads and they are open source.

While I'm sure the load is high, you guys aren't helping your cause by not following the most basics of web optimizations. You are loading 13 external javascript files, your "light" homepage is 400kb. You are serving a 170Kb css file (which is HUGE) and aren't even gzipping it....
Thursday, March 11, 2010 7:51:50 PM UTC
I kinda wonder whether the Rails culture and the ASP.NET culture are in similar enough circumstances to benefit from similar user experiences. The tip of the hat to RubyOnRails.org is nice, but I think it would have been much more classy and honorable to specifically point out where the www.asp.net team took its inspiration. There's something not just a little cowardly and sleazy about copying RubyOnRails.org and then not paying it the tribute that it deserves. Nonetheless, the design has worked well for the Rails community and so maybe it'll do good things for the ASP .NET community - if, and only if, the ASP .NET community has needs of the same kind of service that the Rails community has.
Thursday, March 11, 2010 9:38:04 PM UTC
LOOOOOOVE the new ASP.NET site design!!

SIMPLE AND TO THE POINT!

Glad to see the links to offsite content finally gone. Most of the time it seemed the off site articles were crap.
Thursday, March 11, 2010 10:02:12 PM UTC
abdu's post says it all for me and the experience I had with the new site.
Steve S
Thursday, March 11, 2010 11:20:50 PM UTC
Oh Christ, another re-design of www.asp.net? Another epic fail? You can't even call this a re-design, really. This entire web site, which happens to be chalked full of high-quality content, has an atrocious mind-numbing design. It's a complete eyesore. It's such a shame that I don't even visit the site any more (nor refer people to it) because it depresses me. How can so much good stuff look so bad? You've really out-done yourself this time though; calling it a complete re-design when all you really did is organize a few sections, and then added some big confusing icons on rounded-corner buttons to the front page with a hover effect. Microsoft really needs to get rid of whoever is in charge of designing this crud and hire a company that knows what the hell they are doing.

And I fully agree with Bellware on the similiarities with the RoR site. Are you going to follow RoR in terms of scalability as well? At least you are getting the important part right - the runtime. Do you really want to have a site that is as attractive as RoR? You could start by removing the annoying advertisements! RoR is open-source, and they don't need a huge section of the site dedicated to this nonsense to help cover hosting expenses. They also didn't weasel me out of $200 to get a "service pack" to Vista (also known as Windows 7). Care to elaborate?

And you should know that I don't need help finding a "hoser". Oh wait, that says hoster. Haha, strange brew. Hmmm, what's a hoster?! EPIC FAIL!
Friday, March 12, 2010 12:03:54 AM UTC
Honestly, the design doesn't look that bad to me, it definitely looks better, and better is good. Also, I like how the videos are kind of ordered from beginners to advanced topics. Two things I thing can improve:

- I know it's hard, but there should be a C# and VB version of each video. I am a C# developer and sometimes I can follow on VB videos, but sometimes I find myself spending more time figuring out what something means than learning the actual topic of the video. This may be hard for large videos, but for 5-15 minute videos it could be possible right?

- The intro noise of every video has really hurt my ears for years. I don't know if it's just me, but the tone is too high and the volume is usually higher than the voice person doing the video. As I said, maybe is just me but there is something to consider for future videos
Friday, March 12, 2010 9:42:50 AM UTC
Site looks great :-)

One comment though, most pages don't have a title.
Leyu Sisay
Friday, March 12, 2010 11:08:26 AM UTC
I think the advertising above the footer is the single biggest negative in terms of the new look and feel.
Andrew
Friday, March 12, 2010 3:41:40 PM UTC
The simpler site design makes a lot of sense for those viewers who are new to ASP.NET. The intro videos that give the 30,000 ft view of WebForms & MVC are great for getting people acquainted with the big picture before diving into the details within Visual Studio, where quite frankly it can be overwhelming at first. Getting new developers into ASP.NET is essential for Microsoft's success in this key area, so I'm impressed with this new site.

As for the site design comments above, this is a perfect example of why I hate web design - everyone's a critic but precious few could better in a way that addressed the entire audience, not just their particular perspective.

Good work, and keep the iterations and improvments coming!
Ian
Friday, March 12, 2010 3:47:21 PM UTC
Definitely cleaner. Glad to see some of the tutorials/docs being made easier to find. A good start

Paul
Paul Blamire
Friday, March 12, 2010 7:04:52 PM UTC
Sigh... You update a web site, change its backend framework, provide help and tutorials, spend your time trying to organize things so that your users can find stuff quicker. This process will obviously pass through some iterations... BUT when users see the new site, what do they see? "A Big Button? I don't like big buttons! And why is it so blue? I prefer green..."

The basic rules of Web Designers are always fulfilled:

1. when you change your site, 50% of your users will like it, the other 50% will be pissed off about the new design

2. you will always get lots of EPIC FAIL flames, no matter what you do :-)

Ignore the flamers, extract the criticism (between the LOLs and the EPIC FAILs), keep it in mind for your next iteration, and keep having fun :-)
Monday, March 15, 2010 8:16:51 AM UTC
As one said, WHY commercial banners on a Microsoft page? Do Microsoft need the 10 dollar extra income nowadays? And yes, the "new" design looks OLD.
Max
Monday, March 15, 2010 8:21:11 AM UTC
It's quite good actually. Only tabs at top doesn't look like tabs at all.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010 1:37:42 AM UTC
Hi,
Is it me or I've been noticing that Microsoft is again in Copy mode.
Widnows 7 Phone: no copy & paste, similar market place as apple, no multi tasking like iphone....etc..
ASP.NET following in the same direction as RubyOnRails website



Wednesday, March 17, 2010 4:35:13 PM UTC
Finally!!!! Microsoft decided to pay someone $20 to create the website design. Congrats MS $20 well spent!!

Solution:

Host a competition where users/groups from all around the world will design the website. We the users will vote on the best design. Everyone wins! ... everyone except the person who received $20 from MS for creating this PUKE of a design.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010 8:40:31 AM UTC
HI Scott,

I am a great fan of yours and I always love what you do. But I must say new asp.net design is good but its not futuristic.

ASP.NET is great technology itself you should go modern look. This look is good but not best. There should be new fresh look rather then blue everywhere and it should web3.0 standard

Also i have suggestion for forums. Please add voting section on forums just like stackoverflow guys are doing so people submitting answers can get what they deservers

Regards,
Jalpesh
Thursday, July 01, 2010 7:50:49 AM UTC
The 4 buttons are huge and take prime real estate above the fold for no good reason and pushes down the spotlight section much of it below the fold. Once one visits the site more than once, we know about the buttons. Make something big when it changes frequently. Buttons don't change.
Friday, August 20, 2010 9:28:15 AM UTC
thanks really thanks.I was looking for this kind of infos on the net.finally after my some search I found here.this article is the right place I search mostly.I read your article.The things you have written sound very sincere and nice topics i am looking forward to its continuation.
Sunday, October 03, 2010 1:42:51 PM UTC
Great design guys! You will make it!

firewire
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.