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Changing SQLServerCentral - Initial Thoughts


Changing SQLServerCentral - Initial Thoughts

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Sqlraider
Sqlraider
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Thank you for providing such a great site! I've learned so much from this site, not to mention the links to various blogs, free training, webcast, SQLSaturdays, etc.

I hope you don't have to pick between users of smartphones and traditional PC users. I happen to be a traditional PC user, I do all my work/training from a PC with a good size monitor.

I consider this site a "work site" and I do not see myself ever trying to work with SQL Server from a smartphone, but that is my choice and I may be in the minority.

I hope for my eyes' sake you can find a comprimise that works for both device types.

Thanks again.
Steve Jones
Steve Jones
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Thanks for all the comments. It's not just change for change's sake, but because some things are hard to find and it isn't easy for new users to find things. We also want to highlight items, like the Stairways, which aren't easily understood by many people.

Believe me, some of you may think this is easy to use, but that comes from a place of experience, not good design.

I agree on a few of your points, and will be tackling them in a few more pieces.

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jake_church
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I consider myself a newbie developer, and I use SSC quite a bit because, in general, there is a good mix of code and fully formed English sentences. I like the fact that much of the page real estate is dedicated to content, but appreciate the fact that the lights are turned on by the flashing gizmos on the page. :-) My favorite content formation is the stairways. I find those to be a very nice packaging of a series of useful information, and I have on multiple occasions used those sets of content to greatly expand my knowledge in an area.

If I was going to request a feature that would be very useful to me, I would like to see a tool that integrates / provides some of the articles on SSC as help / suggestions directly in Management Studio when i am writing code. I can see where newbies benefit from the syntatic suggestions, but I think seniors in coding could benefit from tools that recognize a coding construct and get suggestions around new coding constructs that are more efficient etc.

Second, if you were making a choice between having developers create more content and having developers make a UI modern, my vote would be for the content, specifically more stairways. Even time spent taking existing articles and packaging them into a stairway would be a great use of time in forming real knowledge. Someday the scales will put enough need on a UI to require its update, but for now I would prefer the content!

Just my $.02... OH and by the way, whatever you do. Just keep doing it because what you do is appreciated!
PHYData DBA
PHYData DBA
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Steve - I have only had two things that over 12 years of use I would recommend in any new updates to the site. These things are not IMHO driven by any UI Fad but items that are on other sites similar to this one that seriously add to their functionality.

1. For the question and answer forum posts a way to Vote or Mark the answers that work. The ability to see what answer actually worked for a poster is invaluable. The ability to see if it worked for or was voted on as a good answer by others is an amazing thing when trying to find the best answer/solution for your question. stackoverflow.com and social.msdn.microsoft.com forms do this and it is a huge help for those that need to use it when validating a solution that has been posted.

2. Ability for persons posting QOTD questions to see exactly what the site users will see and test that it works as expected. I have used this site to post QOTD (not as PhyDataDBA obviously) several times in the past. Many times my question was published with text and selections that showed and operated in way that was very different than what I expected. I know that I am not the only person that has experienced this.

These are the only things that I have ever seen lacking in this site. I must say that I wish other sites that are used as much as yours is daily worked as well.
Steve Jones
Steve Jones
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jake_church (8/5/2013)

If I was going to request a feature that would be very useful to me, I would like to see a tool that integrates / provides some of the articles on SSC as help / suggestions directly in Management Studio when i am writing code. I can see where newbies benefit from the syntatic suggestions, but I think seniors in coding could benefit from tools that recognize a coding construct and get suggestions around new coding constructs that are more efficient etc.


We've experimented with a script plug in for SSMS. I need to check where this is in deployment.


Second, if you were making a choice between having developers create more content and having developers make a UI modern, my vote would be for the content, specifically more stairways. Even time spent taking existing articles and packaging them into a stairway would be a great use of time in forming real knowledge. Someday the scales will put enough need on a UI to require its update, but for now I would prefer the content!

Just my $.02... OH and by the way, whatever you do. Just keep doing it because what you do is appreciated!


thanks, but as I mentioned in the piece, developers don't create UI stuff. Nor do we have them building content. Developers are changing the code on the sites only, though mostly on Simple Talk lately. It's not a resource allocation in that perspective. If it were, I'd agree with you that them doing UI work would not be good.

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Steve Jones
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PHYData DBA (8/5/2013)
Steve - I have only had two things that over 12 years of use I would recommend in any new updates to the site. These things are not IMHO driven by any UI Fad but items that are on other sites similar to this one that seriously add to their functionality.

1. For the question and answer forum posts a way to Vote or Mark the answers that work. The ability to see what answer actually worked for a poster is invaluable. The ability to see if it worked for or was voted on as a good answer by others is an amazing thing when trying to find the best answer/solution for your question. stackoverflow.com and social.msdn.microsoft.com forms do this and it is a huge help for those that need to use it when validating a solution that has been posted.

2. Ability for persons posting QOTD questions to see exactly what the site users will see and test that it works as expected. I have used this site to post QOTD (not as PhyDataDBA obviously) several times in the past. Many times my question was published with text and selections that showed and operated in way that was very different than what I expected. I know that I am not the only person that has experienced this.

These are the only things that I have ever seen lacking in this site. I must say that I wish other sites that are used as much as yours is daily worked as well.


1. On my list, but not simple since this forum code is complex. The other issue is that my former developer was a C# person and this was VB.NET. That was more of a personnel issue than a technical one.

2. I agree. I'd like some preview capability here, since that is problematic for me as well. I have ways around it, but they are cumbersome.

Follow me on Twitter: @way0utwest
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Peter Schott
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I mentioned this in the other thread, but I think that any massive changes would benefit from either a publicly viewable mockup prior to releasing (or even a new skin to existing content, though that's a bit harder). In my experience UX people tend to think very much along the lines of "this looks great" rather than always considering "this is what people actually do".

I had several long discussions with our UX team in the past explaining that their changes may look pretty but ignored the way users actually use our software. I got several "they shouldn't do that" responses before someone more senior finally explained that that wasn't a valid argument. It sadly got to the point where we wouldn't even bother trying to point out bad UX designs because we didn't want to deal with the arguments. :-P I even had one long discussion when someone wanted to reduce the number of buttons so made them change context on the fly rather than just adding radio buttons or some other selection mechanism. He eventually realized that the design would not be good for the user, but still maintained that it was cool (which it was - just not user-friendly).

Anyway, if there are any major changes coming down, releasing them in some sort of preview might help alleviate some of the concerns before they're released or even point out things that the users don't like (no matter how great the UX people may think they are). Smile



Tom_Hogan
Tom_Hogan
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I wouldn't mind seeing some talk about forum organization. It can be fairly intimidating to determine under which categories to post or find answers. Even broken down but SQL Server version, the categories aren't close to consistent.
Glen Cooper
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I like the current design, but I wouldn't object to trying some incremental changes.

But keep the advertising to an absolute minimum.

R Glen Cooper
JaviLopez
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Hi Steve. First of all thanks for the dedication you put on SSC. Your work is appreciated.
I'm a tester with ~6 years of experience and wanted to mention that although SQL has not been my foremost priority, the material in SSC that I've used has definitely helped me get on with the job in a very enjoyable, practical way.

My 2 cents on the site's design, structure: Please do not make an all-thorough change to your site. I think that the site's identity has to be maintained (or even enhanced) by the changes. Not only for your site, but for any other good entrepreneurship. Another good investment would be the ability to find stuff much faster and easier than before. Maybe organize stuff in some way according to topics / processes that more experienced DBAs / DB devs can determine should be grouped together (i.e. Get in one view some articles, videos, scripts, Stairways, books, etc. that are useful for i.e. data scraping from excel into a DB, etc).

Thanks again,
Go


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