J.D. Meier's Blog

Software Engineering, Project Management, and Effectiveness

New Release: Guidance Explorer is Now on MSDN

New Release: Guidance Explorer is Now on MSDN

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This is a significant release for Guidance Explorer (GE).  Our online "guidance store" is now hosted on MSDN.  To take advantage of this, you need to download the new version of Guidance Explorer (release 20071206)

What Is the Guidance Store
Our guidance store is a catalog of reusable guidance nuggets for helping you build applications.  The catalog is organized by the following:

  • Types (e.g. principles, patterns, practices, guidelines, checklists, how tos, Q&A, app scenarios, code examples ... etc.)
  • Topics (e.g. security, performance., project management, reporting, build, ... etc.)
  • Technologies (e.g. .NET Framework, ADO.NET, ASP.NET, XML, SQL Server, Visual Studio Team System, Web Services ... etc.)
  • Techniques (e.g. security inspection, performance inspection, threat modeling, performance testing ... etc.)

At a high-level, you can think of the catalog as a collection of application scenarios, "building codes" and engineering practices.

What is Guidance Explorer
Guidance Explorer is a smart client application that talks to the Guidance Store over a Web service.  You can use GE to create, organize and share your favorite guidance nuggets.

Key Usage Scenarios
The key usage scenarios are:

  • Find relevant patterns & practices guidance.
  • Build customized checklists for your development scenarios.
  • Build customized guidelines for your development scenarios.
  • You can build custom sets of guidance and share with your team as recommended practice.

To put it another way, you can use GE to slice and dice the patterns & practices catalog, tailor the guidance, or build your own guidance. 

What's New in the Latest Release
What you can expect in Guidance Explorer version 20071206:

  • MSDN now hosts the guidance store (the guidance catalog is now hosted in MSDN labs)
  • Improved catalog of guidance (it's more than 3,000 nuggets)
  • Improved general usability, reliability, performance, and security
  • Improved view structures in My Views and the patterns & practices Library
  • Improved authoring/editing experience (tweaked the UI to feel better, improved reliability, fixed copy+paste from Word and added image support)
  • Improved pushing down guidance types (if we do a new guidance type, you’ll get it now)
  • Improved pushing down new views (if we change our views, you’ll get them)
  • Improved deploying guidance stores (if you are a hosting your own guidance store, you can deploy it more reliably)

How's that for guidance as a service?  (Personally, I think the next step is relevant guidance feeds for guidance mash up scenarios.)

Getting Started

  1. Download Guidance Explorer.
  2. Unzip to a directory.
  3. Run the .EXE file from the \bin file.

When you run GE the first time, let it synch for about 10 minutes.  It's downloading more than 3,000 items from our catalog.

Test Driving Guidance Explorer
Here's a few of the first things to try

  1. Build your own playlist of guidance (create a new view under My Views and then drag your favorite guidance nuggets into it.)
  2. Build your own guide on the fly (create a view of your favorite nuggets and save the view to a Word doc.)
  3. Tailor an existing guidance nugget (double-click an item, click Edit, make your modifications then save to My Library.)
  4. Write your own guidance (right-click My Library and add a new Item.)
  5. Create a new focused library (right-click Libraries, click New Library, name your library then add some new items.)

Key Links

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