Attention was drawn yesterday to the mess that Microsoft is making migrating the MSDN blogs to their new platform, when Eric Lippert tweeted that his blog had been taken down. Although his blog has now been restored, much of what was a rich archive is still missing and what remains difficult to navigate.
The decision to update the MSDN blog is yet another example of design considerations over functionality and effectiveness, and the experience of carrying it through should be used as an object lesson in how meddling with something this intricate and fragile is bound to lead to loss and ultimately to recriminations.
"provide a clean design and powerful features that will make it easy for you to discover and share great content".
However there have been lots of casualties along the way and far from making it easy to discover and share content, unless you have a very clear idea of what you expect to find, looking for it is difficult and time consuming.
Even before October there had been a current of discontent among developers with blog content on MSDN who feared that they were no longer going to be accommodated on the new platform and soon the rumour that personal MSDN blogs were being retired was confirmed.
On December 31st, 2018 a post with the title "Moving the cheese" by Steve Lasker explained that as a result of Microsoft's new policy he had moved all his blog content to: https://SteveLasker.blog.
It's not just personal blogs that have had to find new homes. Recently more and more posts provide details of where previous content can be found. For example, yesterday Brian Smith posted "A new Blog home for Project Support!" explaining that the content from the Project Support blog on TechNet has been moved to to a brand new Blog at: https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/Project-Support-Blog/bg-p/ProjectSupport
Be warned that the migration will have left us with some bad links in the migrated posts.
He also noted:
Also another casualty of the move were the great comments that many of you may have contributed over the years. I do plan on seeing if I can incorporate some of best of these in the body of the appropriate post.
Yesterday also saw a post from Sebastian Roettel with the title: In Hamburg sagt man Tschüß, informing its followers that the German-speaking Microsoft Dynamics NAV / Business Central Team were saying goodbye after 10 years and teaming up with English speaking colleagues. Replying to a comment Sebastian says existing entries in the blog should still be available,
Somewhat ironically, earlier this week came news of the migration of the Microsoft Data Migration blog:
To return to Eric Lippert, yesterday he posted on his own blog, Fabulous adventures in coding:
For reasons unknown to me, my MSDN blog has been deleted without warning. (Microsoft, I would have appreciated a heads-up. It’s not like you don’t know how to reach me!)
This is unfortunate, since there are literally thousands of links to it spread over the internet that are now dead. And there was a lot of good historical content there. This is very disappointing.
This led to a good outcome in that within hours Microsoft's Scott Hanselman had informed Lippert that there had been a “hiccup” during migration, and that the intention had been to archive the MSDN blogs in a read-only format with the same links. Before the day was out Lippert posted that his MSDN blog was back.
The problem now with both the archived MSDN blogs site and the new Microsoft Dev Blogs is that you encounter far too many "Oops, that page can't be found messages".
If you select one of the links you'll get to its contents page with the ten most recent posts listed. The problem is that with only ten entries per page some sections have dozens, or hundreds of pages, so browsing through available articles is too time-consuming to undertake,
If you don't know the name of a blog the chances are you'll think it is missing when it isn't since the the menu structure is incomplete. From the list provided back in October and included in our report, we knew, for example that the blogs of both Brian Harry and Beth Massi were to be moved to the new platform. They don't appear in the menu structure but putting "/bharry" or "/bethmassi" in place a category after https://devblogs.microsoft.com lets you access them. Try typing "somasegar/" and you'll find a familiar blog that spans 2004 to 2015. Like the Brian Harry and Beth Massi blogs you are left wondering why these are in ongoing blogs and not assigned to the archived site? Certainly these blogs need to be preserved so that the past can inform the future - standing on the shoulders of giants is how we make progress - but surely only blogs that will be added to should be part of the new platform.