June 2010

Volume 25 Number 06

Editor's Note - We're All Ears

By Keith Ward | June 2010

Keith WardOne of the most important parts of my job as editor in chief is listening to you. As in, You the Readers. This magazine’s value is in presenting the kind of information that helps you better do your primary job; for most, that means sharpening your software development skills. Over the past half-year or so, I’ve been talking to readers, and, especially, reading your e-mail comments about ways to improve the magazine (keep those comments coming to mmeditor@microsoft.com). I’ve gathered enough information from various sources now to get an idea of what many of you are looking for. The next step is to ask you which of these things you’d most like to see in the magazine.

More coverage of non-C# languages. Our core coverage, at least for the foreseeable future, will feature C#. Of course, we do have articles that use other languages like F#, where those languages are the most appropriate to use for a given task. And we have regular coverage of Visual Basic through our Basic Instincts column.

A number of readers, however, have stated their desire to have more regular coverage of C# alternatives, particularly C++.

What do you think: Would you like to see a regular column covering C++ programming, or are you fine with the occasional C++, like the one we ran in April on new C++ features in Visual Studio 2010 (msdn.microsoft.com/magazine/ee336130)? Or do you feel we have the right mix?

Articles targeted toward beginning or inexperienced developers. Numerous readers have expressed their frustration that too much of our content is over their heads, and they’d like to see more coverage of basic development or coding practices.

This is a tricky problem. The reason is that people who are dissatisfied with something are much more likely to speak up than those who aren’t. So, even though our coverage is properly targeted toward more-experienced developers, we’re hearing more often from the minority, making that group seem larger than it is. The other possibility, of course, is that the response properly reflects our readers, and we do need more articles dealing with lower-  level topics. Again, this is something we cover in the magazine; the question is how often we should dip into that well.

Existing products/technologies vs. new/future products and technologies. Do you prefer more coverage of products and technologies you’re using day-to-day, or more looking-ahead coverage so you can get an idea of what else is out there that you’d like to try out?

Also, remember that we won’t be totally upending the ship if we change a little rigging. What I mean is that any changes we make in our coverage will be gradual and incremental. If we add some more C++ articles, we won’t be doing drastically fewer C# stories, for example. This is a fine-tuning process, to make sure this is your must-read magazine each month. I encourage you to take a little time when you can and let us know your feelings on these topics. To paraphrase the inimitable Frasier Crane: We’re listening.

One final note: I’ll be at Tech·Ed this June, and would love to chat with you in person. Look for me in the 1105 Media booth, and other places. If you see me, please grab me (gently) so we can talk a bit. I hope I get a chance to speak with many of you there. If you’re unable to make it, be sure to drop me a line at mmeditor@microsoft.com.