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

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2011/01/01 07:01 -05:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2011/01/01/10110567.aspx


This is a story of a site. Well, the second half a story about a site. Part 1 is already written, and was published yesterday.

PART 1 can be found right here. If you have not read it, do yourself a favor and either READ IT or skip PART 2.


Looking at the new site, not much was happenng. I think there are like somewhere between 10 and 30 pages that Google and Bing still think are at the old location because it doesn't realize the redirects are there (no 302 inserts?). But that's it.

Anyway, guess what?

I was right. I was freaking right.

And this is where Yuhong Bao's comment comes in.

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

You see, when the site first migrated, they left lots of the old site up.

This was good since most of the stuff that was migrated still pointed to stuff on the old site -- especially keyboards and keyboard graphics and code page tables and code page subtables.

After they started taking stuff down, it did break the keyboards, at the time I helped the site owner get those fixed up.

So if you go to http://www.microsoft.com/globaldev/reference/sbcs/1251.htm it will redirect you to http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/goglobal/cc305144.aspx which is where code page 1251 is now.

And now we get to the problem.

If you go from Code pages supported by Windows to 932 (Japanese Shift-JIS) then you get to the Windows Codepage 932 page. All the sublinks there for lead bytes, like 84? They have links to places like:

http://www.microsoft.com/globaldev/reference/dbcs/932/932_84.mspx

Yes, the stuff that was taken down from the GlobalDev subweb that was taken down.

Note there are places that point to links, like for example a comment from this external blog. We broke any/all of those people. And with the non-human readable links that the new site was migrated to, there is no way for an external person to find the actual link -- the MSDN pages like have no predictable page names (assuming these pages were even migrated). 

And then as I mentioned earlier if you search microsoft.com for "GlobalDev" you will see quite a few  links in KB articles and other places that reference the old site. Only some of them foward; most of them bring up the "can't find that" search page microsoft.com falls back to.

Now subverting a web site's overall usefulness is hard. But obviously it isn't impossible.

Some would argue that this blog's"offtopic" posts destroy its overall usefulness, too. For what it's worth.

But I digress....

Now in theory I have a commitment to provide myself and encourage the core teams themselves to provide new, fresh, and relevant content for GoGlobal, though:

In practice, I have no real site permissions and am not set up for microsoft.con publishing, and haven't been for years. I have not used pubweb (an internal tool one used years ago to use to publish to Microsoft sites and maybe people still do use it) etc. for years, since the last MSKLC update. And I really only ever managed downloads for MSLU and MSKLC. Someone else is the owner of the GoGlobal subweb, and when bug reports come in on the pages I help her resolve the problem when she asks, or at least triage it. So that's all stable enough. If unsatisfying. I suppose I am on track with this GoGlobal commitment, technically, as well as I can.

For the record, there is at least in theory a chance that I might be no longer working at Microsoft later this year, since I will in all likelihood quit if I am given the job owning this mess despite having neither time to do it nor permissions to it, and would likely not be permitted to do what I want to do: globally move everything back when it was -- GlobalDev -- and tell anyone who complains that THEY can own it themselves or they can shut the hell uppolitely nod at my wisdom and leave me alone about it.

I'll let you know how that goes, if anything happens on that front.

The one thing that may be lost in such a move back to the old siteis the localization framework provided by MSDN (if you look you will see that GoGlobal has been localized into several different languages and it follows the MSDN language settings. This is something that may or may not be set to carry over to the old location (I suspect not; the localization methods across all of the ms.com web properties are not all the same). But it may be a question of working well in one language vs. being broken in several, and besides if the site is going to stay as static as it has been, we could just keep the various languages as separate pages and call it a day....

And yes, as I'm sure you have guessed, I am a little crabby about all of this. Duh.

To summarize the problems/issues I see here:

I threw that last one in because I have been thinking about whether that might be a way to solve the immediate problem related to keyboards and code pages. Perhaps then I might be tasked with doing the keyboard updates again! :-)

Now that I have put all this up, next week I will send mail to the site owner about the problem of the missing pages, with these other suggestions. And I'll be talking to my manager to about how much the status quo bites and whether or not I can and/or should take a more active role in improving the destiny of the site so many know as GlobalDev.

If you agree or disagree or care in any way at all and wish to say what you think about should be done, plesae feel free to say so, either in comments to this blog or by contacting me. If this information helps build a strategy for how things eventually happen then you can be like that Windows 7 commercial and talk about how much you love the site, and that it was your idea!

If you don't care you can say that as well; all data is useful (if no one has any reaction then that too is valuable data!).


John Cowan on 1 Jan 2011 11:26 AM:

Regarding the data: The data is valuable and should be available.

Regarding you: Never accept a position of responsibility without authority.

Michael S. Kaplan on 1 Jan 2011 5:23 PM:

I was hoping you'd have thoughts less generic than that, John!

Alex Cohn on 2 Jan 2011 2:52 PM:

KB links suck.  Even when the web admins decide to put everything in new shining order, they should keep the old links working - don't forget that people still buy books with printed urls.

Michael S. Kaplan on 2 Jan 2011 4:24 PM:

You mean broken links suck, right? I assume they are good when they work.... :-)

Cheong on 2 Jan 2011 6:26 PM:

I'm thinking that if resources can be arranged, all the links of valuable materials should be converted to fwlink type (i.e.: go.microsoft.com/fwlink ) links. Afterall, I think Microsoft created this mechinism exactly for this purpose.

Next time if that change it to GlobalWhatever.com, the link updatea would be easier and more efficient. (Diff-ing sitemap and then database update)

Mihai on 3 Jan 2011 4:17 PM:

I was very familiar with the old site, not so with the new one.

In fact, most of the useful info is/was in GlobalDev (except for MUI, as you mentioned).

It is indeed a loss if the old info becomes inaccessible.

So for me anything works:

  1. keep the old info frozen (and working), keep adding to the new site
  2. migrate the old info to the new site, making sure it works
  3. reverse to the old site completely

The main thing is making sure the info is there, no personal preferences :-)

Michael S. Kaplan on 3 Jan 2011 8:25 PM:

I don't know how happy they'd be if every single link were made into an fwlink, with forwarders from the old site to boot. There are a *lot* of links there.

I am currently thinking that code pages and keyboards should move back where they were (they are not localized), at a minimum....

This will in no way damage the new site's goals; he fact that those goals should also be assessed is a minor issue that can be looked at later.


referenced by

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

2010/12/31 Part #1 of "You think this is better. Really?"

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