Tiny Victories Inside Microsoft - SmallestDotNet makes headway
Sometimes there's little victories, tiny victories that make me happy. It's a big*ss company, Microsoft is, and
sometimes it's hard to get stuff done. But sometimes I get something small done that might make a larger difference.
Remember SmallestDotNet.com (blog post) from August? Well, that kicked off a number of discussions about how it was hard to find and install the .NET Framework. It was hard for end users and it was hard for developers to get it.
We put together to small "swat teams" and fixed two small things.
First, the brouchureware. The site http://www.microsoft.com/net/ has a nice URL, non-threatening clipart dude, and some marketing stuff, but had no way to get the .NET Framework it was talking about. Now it also has an unambiguous button that links directly to the small 2.6 meg .NET Framework bootstrapper. Directly. No download interstitial page. Magical. Duh.
Second, the .NET Framework page on MSDN. It's at http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/netframework, is linked to all over and gets a lot of traffic.
However, when you visited it before it had a bunch of generated links like "Popular Downloads" that were either old or stupid and would point folks to .NET 2.0 redists that were old. It was hard to find nearly everything.
We redesigned it to include (as above) a giant and unambiguous Install It Now button. However, if you click More Info you get a nice list of other versions to download. Madness!
I say some of this with some slight sarcasm because I've learned that there are tens of thousands of pages out there in Microsoft-world and like any garden, you'd be surprised that some sections just aren't tended to as often as they should. Pages that you look at all the time might not be looked at as often as they should from the inside.
It also includes a link to the Full Package just under the link to the bootstrapper. It's generally a lot tidier, IMHO. There's also some talk about taking my SmallestDotNet.com detection code, or code like it, and putting it on these sites to make everything as easy as possible.
I believe there's talk of tending to a lot of these gardens in the coming months and I'm hoping to
stick my nose in get involved with those layouts as well.
Anyway, this was a tiny victory and it made me smile. I hope it helps you, as there were a lot of people involved in what appears to be small changes.
Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.
"It is simple to be difficult but it very difficult to be simple ".
Tiny victories stack, they multiply like compound interest. This is true for usability, performance, and for features.
Even better than clicking a single button to install, is having it installed on users' machines already :-)
Is there a list anywhere detailing what's going to be fixed in the update? There was a bug introduced in SP1 that caused the datset visualizer to only display red exclamation marks, so really hoping a fix for this is included in the upcoming update.
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Opportunity for more happiness: the Azure pages :-)