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Idea: New Look for MSDN Help

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

At some point, I hope the traditional help viewers, like dexplorer.exe for MSDN local help, can evolve beyond the traditional tree view of categories into a view with the ability to display more information.

For example, it might be useful to have a 3D look where each node could contain more information than just a category or item title. In the diagram below, each node contains some information about what is contained below (category counts, item counts, content ratings (pulled from the online site), and a star if you have a favorite underneath the node. The color coding could indicate where you spend most of your time, or where you have been most recently.

I know this could use a tremendous amount of screen real estate, but judging from Scott Swanson’s blog, most developers have moved well past 1024x768. In fact, I’m starting to wonder if I’ll be the last developer to start using dual 21 inch monitors.

Wolfgang Wednesday, March 31, 2004
Don't worry, I'm still stuck developing (professionally, no less) on a laptop (!) with a single screen 15" LCD setup that can handle 1024x768 at most... My coworkers seem to be happy with it, but I'm not... Working at home on my 17" 1280x1024 CRT feels like heaven compared to this... So, I think probably _I_ will be the last to have a decent setup :(
Wolfgang Wednesday, March 31, 2004
As to your article: if you're going to make this a 3D interface, why not shrinking inactive and enlarging active parts? That would help reduce screen real estate going to waste on inactive parts and would emphasize the active parts even more...
Scott Allen Wednesday, March 31, 2004
That's a great idea. I was also thinking the interface could be similar to mapping software, where you could zoom around and hover over areas for more information. I'm sure in Longhorn someone could pull off a really fancy interface to do these things.
cardssolutions.com Wednesday, June 22, 2005
Hi! This is realy good blog.
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