Hands up if you've read every page of a patterns & practices guide such as Improving .NET Application Performance and Scalability or Security Guidelines for Applications and you have confidence that you could find the appropriate guidance for a given problem. Hmmm, not many it seems.

Now put your hand up if you've looked through some of these guides and found some valuable content. Great, lots more people. Keep your hand up if you wish it were easier to search through these kinds of knowledge libraries to help with problem solving and reviews.

If you've still got your hand up, keep reading. The patterns & practices team has released an experimental tool called Guidance Explorer which aims to help you search, organize and extend guidance libraries including content that was previously made available in 1000 page PDFs :-). Here's what J.D. Meier has to say about Guidance Explorer:

Guidance Explorer is a client-side tool that lets you find, filter, and sort guidance. You can organize custom guidance collections into persistent views and share these views with others. You can also save these custom views of the guidance as indexed Word or HTML documents. You can browse guidance by source, such as the patterns & practices team. You can also browse by topic, such as security or performance, or by technology, such as ASP.NET 1.1 or ASP.NET 2.0. Within a given topic or technology, you can then browse guidance within more fine-grained categories. For example, within security, you can browse by input/data validation, authentication, authorization .. etc.

Again, this is an experimental project and at this stage we aren't sure what direction to take it or how much we should continue to invest. You can help us make the right decision by joining the Guidance Explorer community, downloading the preview and playing with it, watching the video tutorials and providing us with feedback.

It may not look as impressive on your bookshelf as some of our printed guides, but if it helps you find the guidance that lets you produce better solutions, that may count for something too.