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MSDN Classic View vs Lightweight

    General discussion

  • I am utterly disappointed by the decision to eliminate Classic View of MSDN library:

    This view of the MSDN and TechNet Libraries will be replaced soon with the Lightweight view. Try it now by clicking the Lightweight link above.

    The classic view is not only essential for developers because of its smaller font and ability to resize the left navigation tab, but also for the fact that it allows to browse for similar topics under the same category, or find related classes in the same namespace.

    Is there any way to keep the classic view as the configuration option?

    Thursday, December 20, 2012 6:57 PM

All replies

  • I heartily agree.  That pale, washed out design is difficult to read.  The navigation is less than useful.  I am utterly disappointed.  Seriously, the MSDN Library was one of the best things about Microsoft Development.  This design change is a major step backward.

    Thursday, December 20, 2012 10:09 PM
  • I agree completely. I don't know what Microsoft are thinking? Lightweight view is very difficult to work with.
    • Edited by matsu9900 Friday, December 21, 2012 4:31 PM
    Friday, December 21, 2012 4:31 PM
  • I add my vote to this discussion.

    I consider this a serious loss. When I'm researching something I want to be able to see the entire lists, not just a selection supposedly pertinent to the currently selected topic. I've had to struggle with the "lightweight" view in the Office section of MSDN for far too long! It may be fine for just looking something up, but not for researching an unfamiliar technology. And at the rate new technologies are being introduced, this is not "trivial".

    If we still had Help in books, or in useful Help files, it wouldn't be a problem. But Microsoft has done away with those. Pretty soon it's going to be impossible to get an overview and find information!


    Cindy Meister, VSTO/Word MVP, my blog

    Saturday, December 22, 2012 8:47 AM
  • Absolutely agree! The lightweight view completely stinks!

    No contrast, grey text, light blue hyperlinks, useless navigation tree. I can't read it for any length of time as the text just hurts my eyes. This is becoming the disaster that VS2012 UI already is, seriously. What's wrong with BLACK text? What's wrong with the normal dark blue hyperlinks? Why must everything be light text? Who does this serve? NOT us.

    The classic view is essential for my work and forcing this lightweight design on us is simply pure arrogance. We all like the classic view, it 'just works' and works well. We are developing using your technology stack and so are promoting your products/services. If you keep this up I can guarantee you, that many of us will leave in masses. I'm just tired of Microsoft not listening to the customer.

    WE are the CUSTOMER so listen to us. WE are the target audience NOT your marketing/design group.

    You do not know better. I do not care what your marketing people think, nor your new graphic design people. THEY ARE NOT programming 12 hours a day nor researching hours on end using MSDN. Come on, give it a break already. Just leave the CLASSIC view in place and be done with it. But are you going to listen?

    This is extremely aggravating and I'm very dissatisified.

    Tom

    Saturday, December 22, 2012 7:03 PM
  • Hi Art

    I notice that you created this thread as a "Comment". It might get more attention from the MS folks if it were a "Question". You, as the original poster, should be able to change the Type?


    Cindy Meister, VSTO/Word MVP, my blog

    Sunday, December 23, 2012 7:29 AM
  • I absolutely agree with the OP.  Lightweight view has been the bane of my existence ever since that became a frequent result from google -- every time I hit one of those I have to figure out how to edit the URL to get to classic view so that I can get what I really need, which is a properly working navigation tree to all neighboring topics. 

    The lite tree on Lightweight is useless.  When a page initially arrives, the tree is opened in such a way that it shows only topics on the path leading to the current page, and no neighbors. If you open and close various nodes to reveal neighbors the tree forgets the path to the current page, so you're totally lost.

    Even if it worked properly, the font is too large, so only a portion of what you want to see fits on screen. Same goes for the actual page content.

    Furthermore, the sizing widget that moves the border on the tree is idiotic -- the only sizes it offers are "Excessively wrapped items", "way too wide", and "no tree".  Furthermore, in the process of clicking multiple times on the control that moves after each click (WTF?) it's way too easy to click on whatever tree item is next to, thereby accidentally navigating to some place you don't want to go. GRRRRRRR!

    Doing away with classic nav will make MSDN library virtually unusable.  This is not just a speculation, it's already demonstrated by Lightweight.

    Graham Wideman

    Former Visio MVP (and continuing developer and frequent user of MSDN library)

    Wednesday, December 26, 2012 9:27 AM
  • I want to concur with the sentiments expressed. I use classic view for the nav tree. It is so helpful for learning new topics and discovery of stuff I didn't know existed. I shudder to think of MSDN without it. Lightweight view feels like examining the wide panorama of Microsoft APIs through a microscope. Please don't take it away!
    Thursday, December 27, 2012 7:57 PM
  • @bl439 "feels like examining the wide panorama of Microsoft APIs through a microscope."

    It's also like trying to read a laptop screen in bright sunlight - I.e. totally washed out.

    I really wish someone, somewhere could explain to me what the actual benefit is, of using grey text and light blue hyperlinks, instead of black text and the normal blue hyperlinks? How is this helpful? Has anyone seen any book reader apps that intentionally use light grey text? Or magazine articles?

    Also just tried printing out a page to see how it actually looks on paper, and it's just as poor. Had to set the printer option to print all text as black so that I could read it without straining.

    Thursday, December 27, 2012 9:28 PM
  • Microsoft really seems to be taking steps to alienate it's developers or just make our work harder.

    First the help viewer that used to come with visual studio is replaced with a BS version.

    Then they ruin the Visual Studio user interface, and now they want to make the online help even worse to work with?

    Unbelievable.


    MCPD

    Sunday, December 30, 2012 1:53 AM
  • If the rumor why Steven Sinovsky was fired is because he wasn't a team player, I can totally see why he wasn't.

    The internal MS "team" doesn't seem to consider the larger "team" that is us developers. No matter what our opinion seems to be, the products continue to get worse.

    • Edited by Kev-ster Sunday, December 30, 2012 1:58 AM
    Sunday, December 30, 2012 1:57 AM
  • People:

    Here's a thread I created over on uservoice about this:

    http://visualstudio.uservoice.com/forums/121579-visual-studio/suggestions/3483906-do-not-eliminate-the-classic-view-of-msdn

    General rant because I honestly do care what happens to Microsoft:

    One major thing that has always differentiated Microsoft from others may be summed up in one word: CHOICE. They have always been about choice, but now it seems they are systematically removing that choice from their products/services; And in so doing, seriously alienating the masses. Why remove people's choice, especially from dev prods/services? It just makes no sense - I mean let people work the way they want to work, let people choose.

    For example, what's wrong with leaving the classic-view option? Why did Microsoft remove all the color from VS2012 and replace the awesome icons of VS2010 with flat lifeless pale dreadful icons and not leave us the option to revert back? Why did Microsoft remove the START button from Windows 8 w/o the option to put it back? Why did they then further proceed (and apparently go out of their way once someone discovered it) to remove the ability to set a registry key to restore the start button (which was available in Win8 Beta)? Why remove the option for rounded window corners? Why remove Aero? And yes I can understand that some of these decisions are based on performance for WinRT, but really shouldn't we have the choice, especially for Win8? 

    Microsoft is going down a very unfortunate path, and as much as I have defended them over the past 30 years, I can no longer do so because of what I see as absurd decisions which are seemingly based on poor marketing by those who do not actually use the products on a daily basis.

    Some probably believe that by 'standardizing' things across the board, that they will win back market share from the likes of Apple and Google. But I'll tell you what will win back market share: Persistence, Choice, Consistency and Listening. I have no problem with change so long as the option remains for us to configure something the way we want (within reason of course). Up until now Microsoft has had a reasonably nice balance between two extremes: 1) the strict rigid envt that is Apple, 2) the complete 'openness' of Linux. It is that balance which has earned my respect and determined my tech stack choice over the years. But now I just don't know...

    The whole situation just depresses me.

    Tom


    • Edited by ITMAGE Thursday, January 10, 2013 5:12 PM
    Thursday, January 10, 2013 5:10 PM
  • Lightweight View is really difficult to use.

    It's practically impossible to quickly scroll through a topic and pick out the relevant things quickly. If you have to start reading every MSDN topic from top to bottom MSDN becomes practically unusable.


    bgx

    Monday, January 14, 2013 1:38 PM
  • Thanks everyone for your feedback.  As the Program Manager responsible for the MSDN and TechNet Library experiences, I would like to take this opportunity to try to address some of the concerns you have raised. 

    The concern voiced most frequently appears to be about the navigational tree on the left (the TOC). It is true that when it was released a couple of years ago the lightweight TOC was not as rich as the TOC in the classic view.  Since then however, and especially with a release just completed in December, we have enhanced the lightweight TOC to enable many of the capabilities formerly available only in classic, while at the same time preserving the performance characteristics of lightweight.    Most notably as shown below, you can now use the arrows in the TOC to ‘peek’ or forage around in the TOC without losing the context of your current topic. 

     

    http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms668604.aspx(lightweight)

    New TOC in action image

    The behavior is not identical to classic, but we believe strikes a good balance between enabling the most frequently used classic TOC capabilities and paying the cost of pre-loading the entire tree.   I encourage you to try this new lightweight TOC and give us your feedback.

    Fundamentally the decision to retire the classic view came down to this.  As much as we like to give options to our customers,  we also need to be responsible about investing in and maintaining those features that create the most value.  Use of the classic view of the library has continued to shrink and now makes up only 1% of the total library traffic.    As we continue to evolve the platforms, infrastructure and features of MSDN, the use of classic simply no longer justifies the cost and complexity of maintaining it.

    We realize that for some who still prefer the classic experience this change is unwelcome.  The good news is that by consolidating down to a single library view we will be able to focus our resources on making that experience great for everyone.  For example, based on the comments in this thread we will be taking a look at:

    •    Making the new lightweight TOC behavior more discoverable
    •    Enabling a continuously resizable TOC (not just the 3 stops)
    •    Smaller or configurable font sizes
    •    Higher contrast text and link styling

    We know the library is key to how you learn and are productive as developers on our platforms, and we appreciate your feedback and your partnership in making it great.

    Thanks!

    Thursday, January 24, 2013 12:03 AM
  • Thanks Victor for your reply, that's encouraging. 

    We can all appreciate the desire to focus resources for best results.  And your four bullet points are indeed ones often mentioned in these discussions.  However, the bullets don't seem to address the biggest issue of all, which is to be able to see as much of the hierarchy as the user desires, with 100% confidence of completeness (there's nothing more to waste time hunting for), as context for the current topic, while maintaining the user's ability to remain oriented.

    First off, your metric regarding the importance of Classic is suspect:

    > Use of the classic view of the library has continued to shrink and now makes up only 1% of the total library traffic.

    How much of that decline is due to Google by default returning the Lightweight view pages, and it being extremely non-obvious that Classic view is a possibility, and equally non-obvious as to how to get to Classic view even if you know about it? 

    Next, your screenshot of a richer Lightweight display looks promising, but doesn't match what I see when I tried the link.  Instead, what I see is a mess, primarily because the left column is some hodgepodge of hierarchy muddled together with random items from the hierarchy "surfaced" up to the top level with no indent, including the parent of the current page. Ie: The tree fails to consistently use indent to indicate hierarchy, and fails to display the current topic within the hierarchy.

    In this example, your link returns a tree where ObservableCollection(T) Class is shown under System.Collections.ObjectModel, a top-level node in the display tree tacked on the bottom of the column, NOT subordinate to .NET Framework 4.5 [... more descendants...]

    If the user wants to see ObservableCollection(T) within its broader context, there's no visual cue to indicate that .NET Framework 4.5 is the node/branch to open, though if the user guesses that's where to look then the tree does open all children to ObservableCollection.  But if the user has made any other intervening moves, and then attempts to pursue the .NET Framework 4.5, the just-mentioned open-to-current-topic behavior may or may not happen, and in addition the original System.Collections.ObjectModel branch disappears from the tree, leaving the user completely adrift.

    I've also noticed * that even when I attempt to use the tree "completely hierarchically" starting with the top-level MSDN Library node, as I dig down, the list of subsidiary nodes varies from visit to visit, even within seconds.  For example, under .NET Development, usually .NET Framework 4.5 is there, sometimes not.  Under .NET Framework 4.5, usually .NET Framework Class Library is there, sometimes not. Under .NET Framework Class Library the System.Collections.Namespaces took a few minutes and repeated open-closes of the parent to get it to appear. (And all these issues in just a few minutes of using the example page as a test).  This appears to be a bug, or at least reduces my confidence in completeness (this being a reliable means to discover a desired topic) to zero.

    In short, in its current incarnation, the Lightweight display is a complete failure.

    If you guys are bound and determined to abandon the classic view, then one feature that would greatly ameliorate the intractability would be a button that syncs the tree to the current content page topic.  That is to say, press this button and

    • the tree always opens up all nodes in the branch down to the current page/topic
    • AND it makes sure that the current page's node in the tree is visually distinct, and scrolled into view
    • AND it preserves whatever nodes are open -- never make things disappear when there's no "back" functionality to make them reappear!

    A sync button would substantially alleviate Lightweight's chronic problem with disorientation.  It might give you more leeway to experiment with some efficiencies, while breeding less hostility to Lightweight's modes of unsatisfactoriness.

    -- Graham

    * Firefox 18.0 on Win 7 64

    Thursday, January 24, 2013 3:07 AM
  • Hi Victor

    I concur with Graham on all points: Thanks for coming by and discussing this with us. Your statistics are suspect, as the default anyone is taken to is lightweight. The logic behind the decision is understandable. But...

    Sorry, the way things stand, Lightweight is simply no where near as useable as classic.

    Testing with the link you give us:

    1. If I want to scroll through what I'm seeing in the TOC, the entire page scrolls, not just the TOC. So I can't "keep my place" on the page. That's disorienting. Usually, if I'm scrolling and researching I want to keep the current page right where it is/was. Most of the time, I'm going to right-click any link I'm interested in in addition and open it in a new window or a new tab.

    2. I can see that the hierarchy to the topic is listed in the top part of the main page I'm reading. If I say to myself, "OK, let's go to the top level and see what's there" and click on the arrow next to .NET 4.5 in the TOC, I lose all orientation. All I see in the TOC is the next-level in the hierarchy and if I click it again it doesn't go back to where the focus actually is (the page on the right). If I was lucky, I managed to notice and retain that I started in .NET Framework Class Libaray, so I click on that arrow. I don't see System.Collections. I get the entry before (System.CodeDom) and the entry after (System..ComponentModel) - I know these are before and after because I opened the link in a new window and switched back to Classic view.

    And, as Graham says, with indentation being haphazard, it's difficult to figure out where you are in the overall scheme of things.

    Lightweight view is useable if you're only interested in reading the one page, but it's still close to worthless for reasearching a topic. It's just not possible to get a complete overview.


    Cindy Meister, VSTO/Word MVP, my blog

    Thursday, January 24, 2013 2:15 PM
  • I don't have anything new to add to the discussion above, and so I'll reiterate the items most important to me:

    1) Text color: Should be black for the text and dark blue for the hyperlinks, or perhaps make the text color configurable. The grey text is just too hard on my eyes as is the font 'weight' which is too thin for me.

    2) TOC should be independently scrollable from the content

    3) The 'print' version of the page, prints with thin grey text and is hard to read when printed. Makes it look like a toner problem. I had to explicitly indicate to print all text as black, but then lose the colored text.

    Other things I dislike (but are not deal breakers) include the new search bar which has a grey background with grey text - I see no reason for this and believe it should be black text on a white background. Also the icons (e.g. prefs, printer) are grey instead of coloured, again what is gained here?

    Overall the lightweight view is just washed out and unappealing to the point I really don't want to use it.

    Thanks.

    Tom

    Monday, January 28, 2013 8:59 PM
  • I want in on this too!  :-) 

    I can't stand the lightweight.  I think that traffic is going to it because Microsoft forced it a while back as the default and you had to switch to classic if you wanted it. 

    I just looked at the lightweight again and I can't believe it doesn't scroll independently and the resizing is 3 "tab stops".  Using my screen resolution, there is wasted space on each side where there could be more content and less scrolling.  I also agree with a lot of the points stated in this thread.

    Lightweight is just as bad as when the local Visual Studio help was changed with 2010.  You would think Microsoft would have learned from that lesson when there were so many complaints, enhancements had to be quickly rolled out.

    I don't know of anyone who asked for lightweight.  If you don't want to maintain 2 versions, don't create the second one to start with.

    We will just have to start www.classicMSDN.com with an iframe that has a good TOC and loads the content from the lightweight one telling people to turn their TOC off. :-)


    Philip Wolfe http://www.philipwolfe.com

    Thursday, January 31, 2013 4:08 AM
  • Victor: Any update on Microsoft's position regarding this? Is there anything we (the community) can do to help promote the case for retaining the classic view?

    Thanks.

    Tom

    Tuesday, February 05, 2013 6:10 PM
  • It seems Microsoft has added a 'Related Resources' section to the lightweight view, and so I ask you all: Do any of you find this helpful? Do you feel it's better in some way than the classic view tree structure? I find the 'related resources' section to be incredibly unhelpful and more of a distraction than anything else. It seems to be a 'quick-fix' type response to our complaints and something that was bolted on, rather than designed properly. I dislike it.

    Microsoft should just drop lightweight view and continue to invest in the classic view which we all agree is excellent. And if it costs a great deal of money to maintain, then so be it - it's certainly worth it. And how much could we possibly be talking? Consider how many other projects are heavily invested in which yield questionable value. MSDN is perhaps THE most important dev tool available to us and it needs to be invested in and treated as one of the top priorities.

    A note on 'change' below

    The UI of MSDN's classic view is excellent, as is the UI of VS2010, yet Microsoft chose to change both to the point that thousands of developers are taking the time to voice their discontent. Now after all this wouldn't a normal person just say to themselves: 'Hmmm it looks like we tried something that didn't quite turn out as expected and so let's revert back to what we know works and continue to refine that gently over time'.

    Change is NOT always a good thing, and sometimes you get to a point where you've reached an apex of near perfection, and it should be recognized for what it is. Take automobiles for example, there's a trend now to eliminate all of the buttons/knobs and replace them with the touch panel. But seriously is this a good idea? Does it help me while I'm driving to not be able to 'feel' the button I want? Now I have to look down and take my eyes off the road if I want to change something - it's bad. Or monitors, do any of us like having to drill down into a menu to change the brightness/contrast? Or do we prefer a simple knob or wheel? Or Windows 8, do we find it's advantageous to NOT have a start button? Does having the start button degrade our user experience in some way? When I'm working and launching my tools, I like to see them grouped in one small area of the screen, not fill my entire screen with icons. I was at Best Buy the other day, almost every person was baffled and aggravated at not having the start button. Point is Microsoft needs to take a step back or it's going to find itself in a real pickle.


    • Edited by ITMAGE Friday, February 08, 2013 3:46 PM
    Friday, February 08, 2013 3:45 PM
  • Victor,

    One feature that I do not see in the new skin's is the informatin that is at the right hand side of the library home page - the community content frame containing the tag cloud, most active users (todate/recent) and the statistics. As a most active user, I'm disappointed that this information has gone away.

    Can you bring this information back to the library home page with the lightweight skin?

    And for what it's worth, I do not like the new skins - I find them hard to read and use and they lack the ease of use (for me) of classic.


    Thomas Lee <DoctorDNS@Gmail.Com>


    • Edited by Thomas Lee Monday, February 11, 2013 4:43 PM
    Monday, February 11, 2013 4:42 PM
  • I would like to add my voice to the general consensus here. I'm willing to wait for the topic tree in classic view to load because of the functionality it provides (the wait time is generally not noticeable anyway).

    I occasionally look at the lightweight view, but it is just that - lightweight -  and I immediately change to classic view before navigating any further through MSDN.

    I understand the points that Victor has made about retiring this view, but I totally agree with all the counter arguments presented here.

    Having used MSDN for over 15 years, I'm very disappointed by this decision; please please please do not retire the classic view.

    Tuesday, February 12, 2013 4:14 PM
  • I remember when the lightweight view first came out--I tried it once then got lost so I reverted back to classic view.  And through the years periodically I would try lightweight view again to see if there was something I wasn't doing right about it until finally I decided I just didn't like lightweight view and stuck on classic view. 

    I had spent two years in tech school studying to get an MCTS and I got to know the navigation structure pretty well--where certain topics were located and where I should go to look up the highest point in the hierarchy.  But now the navigation tree looks completely foreign to me so I'm wasting time trying to find topics I know should exist somewhere (over the rainbow). 

    Companies seem to have the misguided opinion that things have to be constantly changing in order to be better.  We are going to "constantly change" ourselves into lives that are too complicated to live anymore.  I believe all this change is driven by the need to fuel sales, pure and simple.

    To find this forum I googled, "I want classic MSDN back".

    Sherry

    Thursday, February 14, 2013 7:43 PM
  • Thanks everyone for your feedback.  As the Program Manager responsible for the MSDN and TechNet Library experiences, I would like to take this opportunity to try to address some of the concerns you have raised.

    As you can see, if you are watching this thread, virtually all of the posters here are asking you to think again about this move. NONE of us like the light weight skin and ALL of us seem to value the classic one. Please can you re-consider the decision.

    And if you have to kill off the classic skin, can you please make sure that ALL the information that used to be on the classic skin is retained in the new skins. At present this is not the case.


    Thomas Lee <DoctorDNS@Gmail.Com>

    Friday, February 15, 2013 10:28 AM
  • Hi Victor,

    Occasionally I stumble upon the Lightweight view of MSDN, and I can only say: Please, please keep the classic one around.

    The new TOC really, really doesn’t work for me – even after the latest updates. A tree-view with both horizontal and vertical scrollbars should not be considered an abomination, as it has worked tremendously well for a long time.

    I like being able to scroll whatever I’m reading independently of the TOC, as it facilitates quick navigation to related content.

    >> Use of the classic view of the library has continued to shrink and now makes up only 1% of the total library traffic.

    That’s probably because most traffic comes from search engine links … and you probably know that as well as I do ...


    Espen Harlinn

    Monday, February 18, 2013 1:05 PM
  • So is the classic view now completely gone? Say it isn't so Microsoft.

    This really makes things difficult on me now.

    Wednesday, February 20, 2013 5:06 AM
  • This finally happened and they has eliminated the Classic Theme. A day of sorrow then.
    Wednesday, February 20, 2013 7:01 AM
  • So is the classic view now completely gone? Say it isn't so Microsoft.

    This really makes things difficult on me now.


    Oh, [expletive]. You have to wonder what MSDN does with all the money people pay for their subscriptions.

    Cindy Meister, VSTO/Word MVP, my blog

    Wednesday, February 20, 2013 7:24 AM
  • This is a really sad day - I've blogged about it: http://tfl09.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/msdntechnet-librarythe-classic-skin-is.html.

    [edited based on feedback from Microsoft]

    Victor: you really need to reconsider your approach to the community and the paying customers. You made a decision that not one person in this thread supports. You failed to listen to the voice of the community and just took what most of us here consider a sub optimal decision. As I say in my blog post: if I were your boss, reading this, I'd be asking you some hard questions.

    I am very, very disappointed - I thought Microsoft could do better for their customers and supporters.


    Thomas Lee <DoctorDNS@Gmail.Com>



    • Edited by Thomas Lee Wednesday, March 06, 2013 1:30 PM Changed based on feedback from Microsoft.
    Wednesday, February 20, 2013 1:08 PM
  • People:

    Here's a thread I created over on uservoice about this:

    http://visualstudio.uservoice.com/forums/121579-visual-studio/suggestions/3483906-do-not-eliminate-the-classic-view-of-msdn

    General rant because I honestly do care what happens to Microsoft:

    One major thing that has always differentiated Microsoft from others may be summed up in one word: CHOICE. They have always been about choice, but now it seems they are systematically removing that choice from their products/services; And in so doing, seriously alienating the masses. Why remove people's choice, especially from dev prods/services? It just makes no sense - I mean let people work the way they want to work, let people choose.

    For example, what's wrong with leaving the classic-view option? Why did Microsoft remove all the color from VS2012 and replace the awesome icons of VS2010 with flat lifeless pale dreadful icons and not leave us the option to revert back? Why did Microsoft remove the START button from Windows 8 w/o the option to put it back? Why did they then further proceed (and apparently go out of their way once someone discovered it) to remove the ability to set a registry key to restore the start button (which was available in Win8 Beta)? Why remove the option for rounded window corners? Why remove Aero? And yes I can understand that some of these decisions are based on performance for WinRT, but really shouldn't we have the choice, especially for Win8? 

    Microsoft is going down a very unfortunate path, and as much as I have defended them over the past 30 years, I can no longer do so because of what I see as absurd decisions which are seemingly based on poor marketing by those who do not actually use the products on a daily basis.

    Some probably believe that by 'standardizing' things across the board, that they will win back market share from the likes of Apple and Google. But I'll tell you what will win back market share: Persistence, Choice, Consistency and Listening. I have no problem with change so long as the option remains for us to configure something the way we want (within reason of course). Up until now Microsoft has had a reasonably nice balance between two extremes: 1) the strict rigid envt that is Apple, 2) the complete 'openness' of Linux. It is that balance which has earned my respect and determined my tech stack choice over the years. But now I just don't know...

    The whole situation just depresses me.

    Tom


    "Depressing" is quite an appropriate word for it. After investing a lot of years learning Microsoft's technology, one can't help but feel depressed at the deliberate self-destruction happening right now.

    MCPD

    Friday, February 22, 2013 7:04 AM
  • Extremely well said Tom! I agree 100%

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    Friday, February 22, 2013 12:42 PM
  • Hey Victor:

     

    After a few weeks of being left with no choice but to use the lightweight view, I must say that the only way I can even remotely bear it (albeit just barely) is to set the browser background color to black, and foreground to yellow or green. The grey text continues to cause my eyes difficulty in focusing, and so the accessibility of this design, is in my opinion rather poor. And of course the TOC is next to useless for me, as it's just annoying to use for a number of reasons including: a) it's not independently scrollable, b) it's only resizable to three 'stops', c) clicking on a topic often changes the ENTIRE TOC and so is quite disorienting to put it mildly, and so on,,, it's just a wee bit of mess. But all these have already been enumerated in other posts.

     

    So,,, is Microsoft reconsidering this decision?

    If not, and at least for the interim, can you please: a) make the fonts black (not dark grey but black #000000), and b) increase the font weight so that it's not a complete and total eye strain? I think this is a reasonable request and would help to alleviate some of the accessibility issues. And yes,, I do agree that the current dark grey text is very close to black, however it definitely is noticeable to those of us with eye conditions. And I must stress that the font weight should be increased. Note that it would also be a good idea to also make this forum text black, and to increase the font weight as well.

     

    Bottom line: Developer tools need to be ACCESSIBLE so that they are USABLE - otherwise they will serve to frustrate the very people which Microsoft needs to promote/develop their products.

     

    Tom

     

    Tuesday, March 05, 2013 7:21 PM
  • My guess is that msft will not reconsider. They have considered, made their decision and that's the end of it. IN the old days, people at msft were more considerate of the community - as a monopoly, these days, they don't have to be. So even though the new skin stinks, I see no evidence that MSFT management care and no evidence they will re think. I'd like to be wrong.

    Thomas Lee <DoctorDNS@Gmail.Com>

    Wednesday, March 06, 2013 12:56 PM
  • Please, return the classic view back!

    Victor Nijegorodov

    Wednesday, March 06, 2013 12:58 PM
  • Victor - I suggest you tell your MVP lead and ask her/him to forward on both this thread and your displeasure. I KNOW some folks at MSFT are reading this (I had two semi-anonymous comments on my recent blog post). But unless and until enough of us complain nothing will happen.

    For customers, complain to your MS reps. And as he's fond of saying, you can always email Steve at Steveb@microsoft.com.


    Thomas Lee <DoctorDNS@Gmail.Com>

    Wednesday, March 06, 2013 1:29 PM
  • Hey guys.

    I totally agree with all being said above. We cannot work with Ligthweight view, it's simply terrible.

    Yesterday, about 14 days of Classic View of MSDN being replaced with the Ligthweight view, I got really angry (politely said). I create my custom user stylesheet which transforms MSDN library into a more usable design. The stylesheet is really not perfect and is very simple, but yet it helps me a lot.

    I thought you might also find it useful or even improve it a little bit. So I put it on github: https://github.com/mancze/MSDN-Library-Better-View/

    I have described how make it work in Opera browser. I believe there are other similar ways to install it in other browsers.


    • Edited by mancze Wednesday, March 06, 2013 3:33 PM
    Wednesday, March 06, 2013 3:32 PM
  • The "Developers! Developers! Developers!" meme is officially dead. It's a shame really--the one-stop MSDN Library is one of the main advantages that MS has over FOSS stacks... it's sad to see that advantage slipping away with boneheaded decisions like this.
    Tuesday, April 16, 2013 10:07 PM
  • I don't like this "Lightweight View" at all. Sure, it looks "pretty", but is way less functional than the "Classic View" was. I particularly dislike that when I click on a subject, it's like going down the proverbial rabbit hole. It's such a hassle to get back up to the sibling subjects of what I originally clicked on.

    There's a very worrying trend emerging throughout Microsoft, that favors "looking pretty" & above all being "simple", whether it's "functional" or not. While it might suit tablet users, developers do NOT develop applications on a tablet. MDSN is supposed to be for developers, is it not? Not for the people playing at being developers, creating "apps" on their tablets.

    For goodness sake, where's the support for real developers, who do this for a living?!


    Yann Duran
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    Wednesday, April 17, 2013 4:21 AM
  • I am not sure if the meme is actually dead - but the MSDN team are doing a pretty bad job of showing love here.

    Given the level and feroicity of comments in this thread, I'd have expected someone from the MSDN team to explain them selves better. The new skin is very poor, as we all know. But what is the alternative? Somehow being, in effect, told to suck it up and learn to love this new interface seems wrong.

    So Microsoft - can you do one of both of:

    1. Explain how you are going to help to make MSDN less useless as a resource? Taking away the full skins robbed your PAYING subscribers of good information and so far, no one posting here likes it. IMHO, it's even worse than no start button in Win8. Others may think less hightly of the decision.

    2.  Bring back the full skin, or something closer than what we have now. Please make MSDN as useful as it used to be.

    I close with the thougth that if Billg were still running MSFT, this probably would have been fixed a long time ago. Sadly, the current msnagement seems to not care what the paying customer wants.




    Thomas Lee <DoctorDNS@Gmail.Com>

    Wednesday, April 17, 2013 3:08 PM
  • I understand that the skins were changed to suit Microsoft not to further empower MSDN customers. It's pretty clear from this thread, MSFT have made up their minds and short of a major law suit will change that easily. Heck, if MSFT refuse (well so far) to put the start button back into Win8, they are hardly likely to want to use better skins for MSDN (and TechNet.

    The worst part of this whole sorry saga is the lack of consultation or discussion. We had one post from MSFT which in essence said: we're changing this so have a nice day. There has been no follow up, no interaction, nothing. Now I know my words are read in Redmond (as I have had feedback from a couple of people from Redmond). But so far, nonting has been said or done in public.

    While removing key features that developers (and IT Pros) rely on and use is sub-optimal, the lack of public reply by Microsoft is sad. There was ondce a time when MSFT genuinely seemed to care about what folks like us thought. It looks like the caring MSFT is a thing of the past.  I, for one, find that really sad.

    Thomas Lee <DoctorDNS@Gmail.Com>

    Thursday, April 18, 2013 6:22 AM
  • @bl439 "feels like examining the wide panorama of Microsoft APIs through a microscope."

    It's also like trying to read a laptop screen in bright sunlight - I.e. totally washed out.

    I really wish someone, somewhere could explain to me what the actual benefit is, of using grey text and light blue hyperlinks, instead of black text and the normal blue hyperlinks? How is this helpful? Has anyone seen any book reader apps that intentionally use light grey text? Or magazine articles?

    Also just tried printing out a page to see how it actually looks on paper, and it's just as poor. Had to set the printer option to print all text as black so that I could read it without straining.


    Actual benefit = Marketing Department checks 'completed' next to Project:  "Change All Products Appearance to Meet New Logo and Branding Compliance Standards."  C-level leaders are in for a rude awakening from letting Marketing call the shots in UI design.  Neither group knows jack about writing software that has high usability.  This garbage that's been done to MSDN is just another example of this utter stupidity.

    Ironically, Microsoft itself has published some well researched guidelines on UI design, which they have now soundly contradicted to the detriment of their users (aka paying customers)
    Thursday, July 25, 2013 4:20 AM
  • I understand that the skins were changed to suit Microsoft not to further empower MSDN customers. It's pretty clear from this thread, MSFT have made up their minds and short of a major law suit will change that easily. Heck, if MSFT refuse (well so far) to put the start button back into Win8, they are hardly likely to want to use better skins for MSDN (and TechNet.

    The worst part of this whole sorry saga is the lack of consultation or discussion. We had one post from MSFT which in essence said: we're changing this so have a nice day. There has been no follow up, no interaction, nothing. Now I know my words are read in Redmond (as I have had feedback from a couple of people from Redmond). But so far, nonting has been said or done in public.

    While removing key features that developers (and IT Pros) rely on and use is sub-optimal, the lack of public reply by Microsoft is sad. There was ondce a time when MSFT genuinely seemed to care about what folks like us thought. It looks like the caring MSFT is a thing of the past.  I, for one, find that really sad.

    Thomas Lee <DoctorDNS@Gmail.Com>

    Top Management is deferring to Marketing at their own peril.  That's my determination.  The engineers that haven't left can't afford to care anymore, and the other engineers never did care.

    The whole 'flat UI' thing that started with the logo change is truly bad for usability and will cost them lost revenue in the long-run.  It may already be part of the slide in their most recent quarterly report.

    Get a grip, Microsoft (and others in the industry).  Reign in your marketing departments.  Let them sell what you HAVE, not try to make your product into an advertising showpiece.  Remember the old adage:  if it ain't broke (and MSDN classic wasn't broken at all), don't fix it!

    Word of mouth is priceless.  Read that again.  Repeat it to yourself (Victor).  Change Visual Studio back to the VS2010 look with icons, etc.  Change MS Office 2013 back to MS 2007 look, and bring back the MSDN classic.  Make Windows 8.5 without 'Metro' and just use the Win7 or WinServer2k8 shell.  Drop 'flat UI all together, and tell Marketing they do not call the shots.  Seriously.  Do this, and it can save MSFT.  Don't do it, and... ?  Focus on your business users and your developers.  We will sing your praises, promote your products with ours, and the money will be spent by our mutual customers.  In the absence of your accommodation, we will leave.  We will compile our code with other tools, and for other platforms.  Our customers will no longer need to purchase your licenses, nor will we.  This is your choice.  Make it well.

    Remember, karma is one of the few things you get to keep forever.  A company can have karma.  How's yours?

    Thursday, July 25, 2013 4:54 AM