Visual Studio Magazine Online 2.0
by Patrick Meader
August 1, 2007
A magazine is much more than a collection of articles about a given set of topics. It is a community, and it draws its strength as much from its readers as the people who write for it or assign its content.
We at VSM are extremely proud of the community that exists around this magazine. And we're also extremely proud to unveil the next step in the magazine's evolution: the relaunch and redesign of the magazine's associated Web site.
Sometime within the next month, we'll be debuting the new-and-improved Visual Studio Magazine Online. The site will feature a comprehensive overhaul, in both its design and the content it contains. These changes are intended to make it easier to access and take advantage of the magazine's content, all of which will continue to appear online. But the changes also extend the nature and amount of content you see in the magazine.
One of the common complaints we've heard through recent years concerns the diminished number of edit pages in the magazine. It's true: VSM, like most development (and other) magazines, runs at fewer pages than in the past. However, we've been adding ever more exclusive content online that augments the content you see in the magazine. The magazine isn't just the articles you see in its printed pages, but also the exclusive content that appears regularly on its Web site.
In addition to regular online-only columns, you can find exclusive videos taken from 1105's VSLive! conferences. We have also introduced a new polling feature, where we ask you to weigh in on topics relevant to developing applications using Visual Studio. And now that VSM is part of the larger 1105 family, we'll also be able to provide daily developer-related news stories from other Redmond Media publications.
Visual Studio Magazine has debuted three online-only columns so far, and we have a couple more in development. These columns are updated anywhere from twice to four times a month. The columns we've introduced already include one by Dan Fergus on mobile device development; another by Dan Wahlin on Web technologies such as ASP.NET, XML, AJAX, and so on; and one more by Jeff Levinson that explains how to take advantage of Visual Studio Team System and other enterprise-related technologies such as the Visual Studio 2005 Team Edition for Database Professionals. These online-only columns enable us to cover niche topics that are relevant to our audience—topics we wouldn't otherwise be able to cover in the magazine proper due to space limitations.
In the near future, we intend to debut a new column by longtime magazine contributor, Karl Peterson. He will be providing a regular column that provides tips and tricks for getting more out of classic Visual Basic (read: pre-.NET versions of VB). We think there remains tremendous interest in this subject area, and we look forward to providing regular content for people who still use pre-.NET versions of VB.
The changes go deeper than a pretty new interface and new columns. On the back end, we've moved the site over to set of new servers. This should translate to improved site performance. It should also help us address one of the current site's most fundamental issues: the search engine. At this time, you stand a much better chance of using Google to find an article on the VSM Web site than by using the site's own search engine.
Of course, we're not done yet. Like the magazine, the online site associated with VSM is a work in progress. I've mentioned several of the changes you'll find in the redesign, but there's more on the way. The most important of these upcoming features revolve around making it easier to involve you more seamlessly in the process of creating and improving the magazine. Your feedback is tremendously important to us, and we want to hear from you. To that end, we'll be adding a new set of forums where you can discuss the magazine's content. We'll also be adding a special comments section to all articles we run, where you can comment directly in response to any given article.
We hope you enjoy version 2 of the VSM site. We look forward to hearing how we might serve you better.
Talk back: How do you feel about the announced changes to the Web site? How might the Web site help you better? Write us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
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