Often when I talk to developers, they tell me they can never find anything on Microsoft’s websites. “It’s too big” or “it’s too complicated.” “Stuff gets buried”. And on and on, and so forth…
Having been here a while, I can testify to the truth of that. Luckily, the advent of search engines like Google & Bing make this a little less of an issue (if you know what you’re looking for).
But, it would be nice to have an easy to navigate guide to the Microsoft Universe handy. With over 90K employees, a gazillion products, and product websites, keep dreaming! It’s just not going to happen.
Although, in December, the new WindowsAzure.com website took a pretty good stab at the problem. The new site re-organized all of the Azure documentation into one place that makes it easier to navigate and surface various content. This includes the new Developer Centers I wrote about recently. Kudos to the Azure team on that!
But, as good as the site overhaul is, there is still good stuff that gets buried. Every now and then, you find a gem via Google or Bing and then the next thing you know, you’re hot on the trail of good information like Fred and Velma connecting all the dots at the end of a Scooby Doo episode! You bookmark the gem, and then look for similar content from the author or the location it is published.
Yesterday, I came across a post from Avkash Chauhan’s blog on Twitter referencing an MSDN whitepaper on Troubleshooting Best Practices for Developing Windows Azure Applications.
The whitepaper, by William Bellamy, is a good in-depth read with a lot of real-world lessons included. You should probably bookmark it for later reference if you’re planning on deploying an application to Windows Azure. I skimmed it over and added it to Instapaper myself.
But what caught my eyes was this list on the left of the page:
Zoinks Scoob!!! Real World Azure Guidance?! That sounds cool. I thought, “What else is around here?” and navigated up a level. That tipped me off to a whole treasure trove of ‘top secret’ Windows Azure documents. Really impressive stuff in there, like:
As I navigated through each of these topic areas, I felt like Julian Assange stumbling upon something I wasn’t meant to see, and now it’s my job to tell the world about it! Except, I think I was meant to see it?
You see, there’s nothing “secret” about these documents at all! They’re all publicly available documents buried within the bowels of MSDN. Not sure why they’ve been hidden away like top secret sensitive information, but hopefully this post can shine a little light on them!
Each of the topics under the Real World Windows Azure Guidance have a collection of sub-topics under them too.
Especially of note here is the “Windows Azure Field Notes” put together by the folks in Microsoft Services like William Bellamy. This is top quality stuff that you don’t find everyday. These folks are usually the rangers out there implementing these cutting edge “n+1” technologies & services with Microsoft’s larger enterprise customers. I should know, I used to work there!
If you really want an in-depth knowledge of Azure from folks who have used it extensively, then here’s your key. And so I present you with…
I can hear the folks at MSDN now…
“and those documents would have stayed hidden if it weren't for those stupid kids and their dog!”