Part #1 of "You think this is better. Really?"

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2010/12/31 07:01 -05:00, original URI:

This is a story of a site. Well, half a story about a site. Part 2 is already written, and will be published tomorrow.

Regular reader Yuhoing Bao told me via the Contact link:

Go to GlobalDev and find one of the DBCS codepages. On these pages there will be hyperlinks on DBCS lead bytes. Click these links and see what you get

Okay, I am going to disobey the suggested directive here, as I need to start somewhere else in order to give the narrative, the history of how we got here.

Gather round!

Once upon a time, Microsoft put up the Global Software Development website at for everyone to enjoy. Here is what was on the home page:

Welcome to Microsoft's revamped /globaldev site! Although it seems to have taken us forever to update these pages, we've finally managed to get around to it!

We've added, and will continue to add, content aimed at helping you develop software that meets the language and locale needs of all your users. Check out our FAQ pages, dealing with subjects such as locale support and the Multilanguage Version of Windows 2000. Look up your favorite Windows Codepages. Or relax with our checklist of recommendations for software globalization.

If you're a creature of habit, you'll be glad to find that our ARCHIVES contain all of our previously available material, some of which is sure to remain useful and relevant to your work.

Of course, to make this site truly useful we need your feedback. Please email us to let us know what you think about these pages, and what kind of information you'd like to see posted here in the future. We'll do our best to oblige.

That was from February of 1999.

The site was a wonderful resource for many years.

I briefly had a stake in it myself, when I was Dr. International (as I mentioned here).

Now I am not going to say i wass the biggest, most important part; I wasn't. And neither were many of the random articles.

Like with the first edition of Developing International Software, the mot important piece for many people was the data -- the code pages, the keyboards, the languages, the locales. the concrete things people could look at and count and reference.

Anyway, the problems started in I guess late 2007 or perhaps early 2008. But I think it was late 2007.

Everybody was talking about how the big problem with International was that nobody knew about it. And that the GlobalDev site was hard to discover.

Even then I disagreed -- the problem with their premise was that most people out there really didn't care. And for the people who did, there were only two real problems:

But I only mentioned these two points occasionally, because people were often bitchingcomplaining about my attitude about the project.

Anyway, everyone was convinced that a new location would make a huge difference. Some people even expanded on that and gave reasons like "IT Pros don't want to go to a site call GlobalDev-- because they are not devs."


Or to quote a Windows Phone 7 commercial I like a lot,


Like I said, people simply need search to properly index the content. Assuming the content is provided, that is all anyone needs!

 As far as I was concerned, if you are an IT Pro who is looking for an answer who refuses to go to a site called GlobalDev because it says GlobalDev, then you are a whiny little biatch who deserves to get firedperson who needs to seriously rethink your career choice. That disastrous year where they split TechEd in two between dev and itpro even though the ones who self identified in group often had interests in the other.

The IT Pros I know never mind things being hard to find after they have found it, because now  they are inherently more valuable than some random person who doesn't know; they are not that much more valuable. I mean, c'mon!

But the move itself scared me beyond that, in practical terms. I was worried about links being missing, content not getting found. I was worried about the way MSDN didn't use regular, predictable URLs and tended to move around from time to time -- GlobalDev was in the same place for that whole time. I was also worried whether the International Fundamentals team could own such an effort, lacking the long-term ability to provide all of the content. I know I wasn't interested in more writing than I did here, in a more formal style where I couldn't say what I really thought. And I was worried about the core teams who weren't sitting on the hands doing nothing eager to do lots of writing -- so where would the content come from?

I was assured by many people that I was being overly pessimistic. That those problems could be solved.

You might have heard about the new site. I mentioned its soft opening in March of 2008 in Yesterday was GlobalDev; Tomorrow is GoGlobal! and its hard opening in July of 2008 in GoGlobal NOW!.

The site was okay.

I often got complaints that they couldn't find stuff looking at the site. I would help them by figuring out where the content was and giving them the new link. I didn't scream loudly at the problems on the site at this time, because the core stuff was still findable at least.

None of the teams that own the technologies on that site spend much time as owners of content there -- of updating it, fixing it, of providing new stuff. There was the one huge push to get a bunch of new MUI content up and that was nice. But as if desiring to prove me right, they didn't do anything after that and no other team jumped in to that degree.

Try going to the only two things that most people care about -- the code pages and the keyboards. Those links aren't on GoGlobal's home page, and there is no easy way to divine how to get to them. Search works okay here at least, but search also finds KB articles that point to the old site. Oops.

The most active thing on the Go Global Development Center used to be the links on the home page to my blog -- it was subscribed to the feed, but those were taken out recently. The blog links there right now are other people's blogs from 2009! No other interesting new content and hard to find the stuff you do need -- you have to use the search, which is what they should have had in the first place, like I said when all this started....

This blog will be continued in Part 2, found here, tomorrow. Unless you are me, the link will not be active until January 1, 2011 at 7:01am....

Andrew West on 31 Dec 2010 8:14 AM:

Are you teasing us? The link to Part 2 works for me, and it's still today where I am, and I am still me I think.

Michael S. Kaplan on 31 Dec 2010 9:08 AM:

Minor malfunction, fixed now. You didn't read it, did you? ;-)

Yuhong Bao on 31 Dec 2010 3:47 PM:

BTW, I also reported this via the feedback link, and they replied with a email saying that "I have forwarded your comments to the content owners for the page, and I hope we'll be able to find a solution to the broken links.".

Michael S. Kaplan on 31 Dec 2010 3:49 PM:

Perhaps the blog tomorrow will help explain what will be involved.... :-)

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referenced by

2011/04/07 You Go Girl^H^H^HoGlobal! Bring It!

2011/01/01 Part #2 of "You think this is better. Really?"

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