SQL Server Web Site Discussion

Host Guide_KenM:
The Lower Room is where guests can enter questions for our Hosts today. We will read them and select questions to answer. The questions and answers will be posted in the Upper Room.

Host Guide_KenM:
Please feel free to begin posting your questions in the room below. Please begin your questions with a Q:, this will help us quickly identify the questions.

Host Guide_KenM:
We will make an effort to answer as many questions as he can. There may be times when a question may be asked that we do not have an immediate answer for or cannot get to. We encourage you to post any of these questions in the TechNet newsgroups.

Host Guide_KenM:
I'll have the Hosts introduce themselves.

Host Guest_ty_MS:
Hello and thanks for coming to the SQL Server Web site chat. My name is Tai and I am the Site Manager for the SQL Server Web site, http://www.microsoft.com/sql/.

Host Guest_ty_MS:
Khiota (Khithe_MS) is our Technical Editor for the site. We are very excited to discuss with you how we can improve or change the current Microsoft SQL Server Web site.

Host Guest_ty_MS:
The purpose of the site is to be a portal to SQL Server-related content; we want to make sure we are getting you to content you need. During today's chat, we would like to hear your questions on our site and to find out what areas you like, what content is missing and how we can make improvements

Host Guide_KenM:
And I'm Ken McGrath, TechNet/MSDN Web and Communities Producer.

Host Guide_KenM:
We're ready to start taking your questions. Fire away!

**Host Guest_ty_MS:
Q:**BrentO: I'd love to see a "Starter DBA" section of the site with fast tutorials on the primers, not all in-depth white-papers.

**Host Guest_ty_MS:
A:**thanks Brent. That is a good suggestion. Our Site seems to be geared towards experienced DBAs, could use some more content for new users.

**Host Guest_khithe_MS:
A:**heslate: Good feedback. It would help us to know where you would intuitively look for that information on the site.

**Host Guest_mariannes_ms:
A:**heslate: We will be releasing a site map for SQL Server soon. This will give a view to the content areas on the site as well as content of specific importance. Are there some types of content that you are looking for in particular?

**Host Guest_ty_MS:
Q:**BrentO: if 3rd party hardware mfrs like Dell or IBM can put SQL server hardware guidelines on their site, then MS should as well.

**Host Guest_ty_MS:
A:**thanks again Brent. To clarify, are you saying recommended hardware configurations?

Host Guest_ty_MS:
BrentO: I see, thanks for the example

Host Guest_khithe_MS:
heslate: Information about MSDE can be found here: http://www.microsoft.com/sql/msde/default.asp

Host Guest_khithe_MS:
heslate: We post links to SQL Server downloads on the main downloads page: http://www.microsoft.com/sql/downloads/default.asp

**Host Guest_ty_MS:
Q:**Eddie: The site is hard to navigate. I feel like I have to go through too many menus to find information. Especially when looking for non-sales information.

**Host Guest_ty_MS:
A:**Do you mainly use the left navigation tool or Search?

**Host Guest_khithe_MS:
A:**What SQL Server-related topics are you most interested in (for example, BI, XML, MSDE, etc.) and can you find content for it on the site?

Host Guest_ty_MS:
We also have some questions for you all

**Host Guest_mariannes_ms:
A:**heslate: We're working on making the site easier to navigate for newcomers. Would you have some suggestions based on your student's reactions?

**Host Guest_ty_MS:
Q:**VJ : I would like to see information on security bulletins displayed more prominently maybe in a different color or flashing. Seems some of the external sites(zdnet) do a better job in notification.

**Host Guest_ty_MS:
A:**thanks VJ. The Latest Security Bulletin is always linked towards the top of the right side of the Home Page, is this not prominent enough?

Host Guest_mariannes_ms:
A:
heslate: The big challenge is to come up with content labels that make sense to multiple audiences, IT Professionals, Developers, students, etc.

Host Guest_mariannes_ms:
A:
BrentO: Good to know. We've changed the links to MSDN and TechNet to reflect your suggestions. We have our Technical Resources section divided into Developer and IT professional catagories. However, that does not seem to be enough to help people find th

**Host Guest_khithe_MS:
Q:**marketeer Re: what SQL topics...I'd like to see more around the connection between SQL and Data Analyzer - is that product going to get another version?

**Host Guest_khithe_MS:
A:**marketeer Data Analyzer is a Microsoft Office product. I am not sure whether they plan to release future versions. Both SQL Server and Data Analyzer are Microsoft business intelligence offerings. We are working on clarifying the relationship between Microsoft business intelligence offerings in the future.

**Host Guest_mariannes_ms:
A:**BrentO: continued: the content and there is a lot of it there.

**Host Guest_mariannes_ms:
A:**BrentO: If technical content was split between MSDN and TechNet, would there be a reason for you to visit the SQL Server product site?

**Host Guest_ty_MS:
Q:**hdsmis01 : I think the site should have more real-world solutions.

**Host Guest_ty_MS:
A:**Could you please specify what you mean by a "real-world solution", give an example?

Host Guest_mariannes_ms:
How about licensing information? Does that section work for you?

**Host Guest_ty_MS:
Q:**VJ : Security Resources is formatted just like top downloads. I feel security of ones existing SQL Servers is much more critical and deserves to be prominently displayed on the site.

**Host Guest_ty_MS:
A:**I see. thanks for the feedback. We are always looking to make improvements.

**Host Guest_mariannes_ms:
A:**BrentO : With regard to the clustering issues, did you consider the Community section? Some newsgroups on the subject? Is Community a useful way of getting information not found on the site?

**Host Guest_mariannes_ms:
A:**suet : Yes, this is exactly what we need and want to hear.

**Host Guest_ty_MS:
Q:**heslate : I would like to have, available to download, either a db, or scripts to create a large database for hardware testing, student experimentation, stress testing, etc. Or links to the TPC databases.

**Host Guest_khithe_MS:
Q:**hdsmis: Most talk too much about what big business is doing. What about small business?

**Host Guest_ty_MS:
A:**that's a good idea, thanks.

**Host Guest_khithe_MS:
A:**for hdsmis: What type of information would you like to see targeted for small businesses?

**Host Guest_mariannes_ms:
A:**BrentO : There are many opportunities to solve these issues...more chats, using the Can't Find or Contact Us links to give us an idea of content to look for.

**Host Guest_mariannes_ms:
Q:**heslate : Back to the large database idea - could include preformance optimization profiles so that we could learn how to use the tools by example. A: Sounds to me like there is a need for more access to training resources, content, and samples.

**Host Guest_mariannes_ms:
A:**Sounds to me like there is a need for more access to training resources, content, and samples.

**Host Guest_ty_MS:
Q:**BrentO: And this one's just a basic usability tip, but at the top left, you have flyout menus for Product Info and Tech Resources. It would make sense to have flyouts for the rest, because Lord knows there's enough content.

**Host Guest_ty_MS:
A:**That's true. But we also have usability study feedback indicating that people like not having the flyout because they don't have to make a decision about which sub-item to choose.

**Host Guest_ty_MS:
A:**t may be a matter of pleasing 50% of people either way (with/without flyouts).

**Host Guest_khithe_MS:
Q:**heslate : Active links to third party tools, e.g., LogExplorer

**Host Guest_khithe_MS:
A:**heslate: So you would like to see a single page with links to third-party resources that enhance the functionality of SQL Server?

**Host Guest_ty_MS:
Q:**BrentO : ty_ms - if you're going to have flyouts at all, then you just invalidated your argument. By having flyouts on only some of the items, you're pleasing NEITHER side.

**Host Guest_ty_MS:
A:**Yes, we are looking at changing the nav structure.

**Host Guest_mariannes_ms:
Q:**JTKane : Sorry, if this has been previously discussed, as I joined late.. On the SQL Server web site, has there been any discussion on how to improve the search facility? Specificly, by adding SQL Server Full-Text Search (FTS) as an example of a prod-l

**Host Guest_khithe_MS:
Q:**BrentO: yes, especially ones that are MCSP's or similarly long-term engaged with the product.

**Host Guest_khithe_MS:
A:**BrentO, heslate: Excellent feedback. Where would you look for that resource on the SQL Server Web site?

**Host Guest_mariannes_ms:
A:**We are actively looking at improvements in the search functionality. The SQL Server onsite search has recently been scoped to pull up site specific content.

**Host Guest_mariannes_ms:
A:**Working with this is Best Bets-editorially programmed links that allow our editors to associate content with certain search terms or phrases.

**Host Guest_mariannes_ms:
A:**Working with this is Best Bets-editorially programmed links that allow our editors to associate content with certain search terms or phrases.

**Host Guest_mariannes_ms:
A:**It it doesn't exist, that is good information for us to take to the product team for consideration.

**Host Guest_khithe_MS:
Q:**BrentO : khithe_ms: under Technical Resources. From there, none of the links seem right.

**Host Guest_khithe_MS:
A:**BrentO : Again, this is wonderful feedback. Can you clarify? What seems out of place? What else do you want to find there that isn't there?

**Host Guest_mariannes_ms:
Q:**JTKane : The fact is that most customers use Google's search today and can get a more relevant search results via Google with +site:microsoft.com/sql/default than on MS.com!

**Host Guest_khithe_MS:
Q:**BrentO : khithe_ms: Partners doesn't imply software solutions. Since MS extensively uses the link "For Partners", the word "Partners" alone suggests a link for us MCSP's to click on.

**Host Guest_khithe_MS:
A:**BrentO: So the information you see in the Partners section you would expect to find in a section called something like "Third-Party Solution Providers?"

**Host Guest_mariannes_ms:
A:**Please do not think that has gone unnoticed at this end. :) Microsoft is working on a next generation of search which is very exciting in the user's abiltiy to scope their own search for more relevant results.

**Host Guest_mariannes_ms:
Q:**Would you find a "new content" notification service useful?

**Host Guest_ty_MS:
Q:**JTKane: Of course, checkout the many case studies with SQL Server as the backend of eCommerce websites - IF you can find them on MS.com!

**Host Guest_ty_MS:
A:**Have you seen the new Case Study Finder tool at http://www.microsoft.com/resources/casestudies?

**Host Guest_khithe_MS:
Q:**BrentO: khithe_ms: or just relabel it as something other than "Partners", because that's so heavily tied into the rest of the site as "For Partners".

**Host Guest_khithe_MS:
A:**BrentO: That is valuable information to us Web folks. Thank you.

**Host Guest_ty_MS:
Q:**BrentO: YES! Content notification would be great, like the product newsletters for Windows & Office.

**Host Guest_ty_MS:
A:**I think a newsletter is a good idea. A way for folks to be alerted of new content posting to the site.

Host Guest_mariannes_ms:
JTKane : Thanks, mariannes_ms, if you intersted I can give you some pointers as I'm writing a book on FTS in all .NET Servers including Yukon!

**Host Guest_mariannes_ms:
A:**Most definitely. Ty_ms and Khithe_ms will attest that I am very interested in solving search issues.

Host Guide_KenM:
We are going to have to wrap up this chat in about 10 minutes. We will continue to work on answers to questions. If you asked a question earlier that we missed, please go ahead and repost it now.

**Host Guest_khithe_MS:
Q:**heslate: How about a referral tool under 'Partners' for those needing 3rd party assistance.

**Host Guest_khithe_MS:
A:**heslate: A way to help you sort through the listing to find partners that address specific business needs?

**Host Guest_khithe_MS:
Q:**heslate: Yes - find a partner with specific expertise, skill, or training.

**Host Guest_khithe_MS:
A:**heslate: Can you give a couple of quick examples of the categories you would find useful?

**Host Guest_ty_MS:
Q:**heslate : ty_MS - Performance Optimization, Automation, Using tools such as Profiler, Web services, Notification services

**Host Guest_ty_MS:
A:**Heslate, have you seen the Notification Services section at http://www.microsoft.com/sql/ns/? As we get more Notification Services content, that is where it will be added.

Host Guest_khithe_MS:
heslate: Thank you! This is very helpful.

Host Guide_KenM:
We are going to have to wrap up this chat in about 3 min. We're working on the final answers for today.

**Host Guest_ty_MS:
Q:**heslate : How about adding date/time infor as a byline to each item listed on the page. Easier to know if it is new material or re-hash.

**Host Guest_ty_MS:
A:**The Web pages already have a Posted Date. But keep in mind that even older content may still be relevant and useful.

**Host Guest_ty_MS:
Q:**JTKane : Final question: How about some feedback about when and what changes will be implemented? and on ms.com/sql's front page!

**Host Guide_KenM:
Q:**I'm gonna go out on a limb and guess that Guide_KenM is a robot, since there's no answers for this session? <chuckle>

**Host Guest_ty_MS:
A:**We don't have any dates yet, but we will definitely use the information gathered here to help make decisions about what areas on the site need improvement, what content to get developed, and so forth.

**Host Guide_KenM:
A:**Guide_KenM is a real human <click> Guide_KenM is a real human <click> Guide_KenM is a real human <click> Guide_KenM is a real human <click> ....

Host Guest_ty_MS:
Thank you all very much for your participation. We learned a lot about what you think of the site and got some great suggestions. I found this, my first Chat, to be very worthwhile.

Host Guest_khithe_MS:
Your questions and comments have been extremely helpful. Thank you for taking the time to help us improve the SQL Server Web site.

Host Guide_KenM:
Thanks for joining us today and thanks for the questions. It's time for us to go now. You'll be able to find the transcript of this chat soon on the TechNet Web site at http://www.microsoft.com/technet/community/chats/trans/default.mspx. Please see the chats schedule for upcoming topics.