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Documentation... Documentation... Documentation!

Well, the MVP Summit calmed down at about 3:30pm today and, although I'm extremely tired, I have to say my Microsoft batteries are recharged.  But...

I'm really hoping that Microsoft will work harder to improve the documentation for Visual Studio.  Obviously the product is very close to being released, so I don't expect it to improve much from this point.  Now let me say that it has improved over previous versions so far, but it definitely still has a ways to go.  I've run into a couple of sections that *only* contained sample code written in C# (although that's just an annoyance) and the documentation on the subject is rather lacking in substance.  Albeit what I'm talking about may not be a mainstream portion of the release, to me it is very critical to one of my applications (XboxFriends); so to me it is a big deal ;-).  Let me explain.

I decided to take a look at the WebBrowser control that is new to VS2005 to see if it would do everything that I needed it to do for the purposes of XboxFriends.  It was easy to get about 80% of the functionality done in a very short amount of time (about 30 minutes, including reviewing documentation)... and honestly this would probably cover 99% of the needs of most of the developers wanting to leverage the component.  So what of the other 20%?  Well, it's not a lot of fun to use trial and error after spelunking through the documentation to take guess after guess when trying to get the other 20% working... but in the end, that's what it took.  After asking a few of the Microsoft folks about how to solve the specific issue(s), they didn't know off the top of their heads how to solve the problem either.  The offer was made to follow up and get me the answer... which is great... but I just could let it rest and wait until next week for an answer.  Hey... I got a few hours to kill while waiting to catch a 6am flight... so I kept plugging away until trial and error yielded results. ;-)

In the end, it's clear that something needs to happen to improve documentation.  Hopefully some of the things I saw at the Summit will come to fruition... (those at the Summit may know what I'm talking about).

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