Volume 34 Number 9
All Good Things
By Michael Desmond | September 2019
If you haven’t heard the news already, I’ll just come out and say it: Microsoft has announced that MSDN Magazine will close its doors after the publication of its November issue.
As you can imagine, this is an emotional moment, both for the editors, columnists and authors who work on each issue of the magazine, and for the thousands of developers who rely on it to stay up-to-date with Microsoft’s evolving tool stack. For 33 years, going back to its origins as Microsoft Systems Journal (MSJ) in 1986, this publication has provided hands-on technical guidance and insight to developers. Charles Petzold taught us how to program for Windows, Dino Esposito untangled the complexities of ASP.NET and James McCaffrey illuminated the workings of Microsoft’s fast-changing machine learning tool stack.
From MS-DOS to Microsoft Azure, the scope and scale of our work has certainly changed, but the role of MSDN Magazine in enabling that work never wavered. The magazine has been there to shine a light in the darkness—to make clear the opaque nature of new tooling, to render simplicity out of complexity, and to provide inspiration to developers anxious to learn, master and create.
But it’s emerged also as living history. Scan the covers of old issues of MSDN Magazine and MSJ before it, and you see the parade of products, tools, frameworks and languages that have populated and defined the Microsoft ecosystem over the years. In providing timely code-level guidance to developers, the magazine chronicled the evolution of Microsoft from its days as a PC-focused upstart.
MSDN Magazine will soon be history, but that doesn’t mean the important work of enabling and educating developers will stop. Far from it, Microsoft has worked to unify and streamline its code-level guidance around the docs.microsoft.com portal, which provides a comprehensive repository of wisdom for developers across the Microsoft ecosystem. Microsoft also intends to migrate archived MSDN Magazine content to docs.microsoft.com, so that wisdom, too, will be discoverable on the site.
They say all good things must come to an end. And so, the long story of MSDN Magazine draws at last to a close, and the common thread it wove among developers across three decades of breakneck advancement closes with it. I would say it’s been my honor and privilege to helm MSDN Magazine for the past eight years, but I know that the work remains unfinished. We have issues to publish in October and November, and they will carry forward the full spirit, tradition and mandate of MSDN Magazine going back to 1986—to provide actionable, code-level guidance to developers using Microsoft tools, frameworks and languages.
I’ll see all of you next month.
Michael Desmond is the Editor-in-Chief of MSDN Magazine.