Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) is the portion of Microsoft responsible for managing the firm's relationship with developers and testers, such as hardware developers interested in the operating system (OS), and software developers developing on the various OS platforms or using the API or scripting languages of Microsoft's applications. The relationship management is situated in assorted media: web sites, newsletters, developer conferences, trade media, blogs and DVD distribution. The life cycle of the relationships ranges from legacy support through evangelizing potential offerings.
|Microsoft Developer Network|
Type of site
MSDN's primary web presence at msdn.microsoft.com is a collection of sites for the developer community that provide information, documentation, and discussion that is authored both by Microsoft and by the community at large. Recently, Microsoft has placed emphasis on incorporation of forums, blogs, library annotations and social bookmarking to make MSDN an open dialog with the developer community rather than a one-way service. The main website, and most of its constituent applications below are available in 56 or more languages.
MSDN Library is a library of official technical documentation content intended for developers developing for Microsoft Windows. MSDN Library documents the APIs that ship with Microsoft products and also includes sample code, technical articles, and other programming information. It is available free on the web and on CDs and DVDs for paid MSDN subscribers. Initially, the disc version was only available as part of an MSDN subscription and was released on a quarterly basis (January, April, July and October). However, in recent times (2006 and later), it can be freely downloaded from Microsoft Download Center in form of ISO images for CD/DVD releases are no longer published quarterly. Instead, its release schedule is now aligned with major software releases (major Visual Studio release, major Windows release or service packs), (up to Visual Studio 2008).
Visual Studio Express edition integrates only with MSDN Express Library, which is a subset of the full MSDN Library, although either MSDN edition can be freely downloaded and installed standalone.
In Visual Studio 2010 MSDN Library is replaced with the new Help System, which is installed as a part of Visual Studio 2010 installation. Help Library Manager is used to install Help Content books covering selected topics.
In 2016, Microsoft introduced the new technical documentation platform, Microsoft Docs, intended as a replacement of TechNet and MSDN libraries.   Over the next two years, the content of MSDN Library was gradually migrated into Microsoft Docs.  Now most of MSDN Library pages redirect to the corresponding Microsoft Docs pages.
Each edition of MSDN Library can only be accessed with one help viewer (Microsoft Document Explorer or other help viewer), which is integrated with the then current single version or sometimes two versions of Visual Studio. In addition, each new version of Visual Studio does not integrate with an earlier version of MSDN. A compatible MSDN Library is released with each new version of Visual Studio and included on Visual Studio DVD. As newer versions of Visual Studio are released, newer editions of MSDN Library do not integrate with older Visual Studio versions and do not even include old/obsolete documentation for deprecated or discontinued products. MSDN Library versions can be installed side-by-side, that is, both the older as well as the newer version of MSDN Library can co-exist.
MSDN Forums are the web-based forums used by the community to discuss a wide variety of software development topics. MSDN Forums were migrated to an all-new platform during 2008 that provided new features designed to improve efficiency such as inline preview of threads, AJAX filtering, and a slide-up post editor.
MSDN blogs is a series of Microsoft blogs hosted under
blogs.msdn.com domain name. Some blogs are dedicated to a product – e.g. Visual Studio, Internet Explorer, PowerShell – or a version of a product – e.g. Windows 7, Windows 8 – while others belong to a Microsoft employee, e.g. Michael Howard or Raymond Chen.
Social bookmarking on MSDN Social was first launched in 2008, built on a new web platform that has user-tagging and feeds at its core. The goal of the social bookmarking application is to provide a method whereby members of the developer community can:
The initial release of the application provides standard features for the genre, including a bookmarklet and import capabilities. The MSDN web site is also starting to incorporate feeds of social bookmarks from experts and the community, displayed alongside feeds from relevant bloggers.
Social Bookmarks was discontinued on October 1, 2009.
MSDN Gallery is a repository of community-authored code samples and projects. Launched in 2008, the purpose of the site is still evolving to complement Codeplex, the open-source project hosting site from Microsoft.
MSDN has historically offered a subscription package whereby developers have access and licenses to use nearly all Microsoft software that has ever been released to the public. Subscriptions are sold on an annual basis, and cost anywhere from US$1,000 to US$6,000 per year per subscription, as it is offered in several tiers. Holders of such subscriptions (except the lowest library-only levels) receive new Microsoft software on DVDs or via downloads every few weeks or months. The software generally comes on specially marked MSDN discs, but contains the identical retail or volume-license software as it is released to the public.
Although in most cases the software itself functions exactly like the full product, the MSDN end-user license agreement prohibits use of the software in a business production environment. This is a legal restriction, not a technical one. As an example, MSDN regularly includes the latest Windows operating systems (such as Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1), server software such as SQL Server 2008, development tools such as Visual Studio, and applications like Microsoft Office and MapPoint. For software that requires a product key, a Microsoft website generates these on demand. Such a package provides a single Microsoft enthusiast with access to nearly everything Microsoft offers. However, a business caught with an office full of PCs and servers running the software included in an MSDN subscription without the appropriate non-MSDN licenses for those machines would be treated no differently in a software licensing audit than if the software were obtained through piracy.
Microsoft's MSDN license agreement makes a specific exception for Microsoft Office, allowing the subscription holder to personally use it for business purposes without needing a separate license — but only with the "MSDN Premium Subscription" and even so only "directly related to the design, development and test and/or documentation of software projects" as stated in the MSDN licensing FAQ. As would be expected, any software created with the development tools (like Visual Studio), along with the runtime components needed to use it, isn't restricted in any way by Microsoft either — such software can and regularly is used for business production purposes. The license agreement refers to several other items in the subscription and grants additional similar exceptions as appropriate.
An MSDN subscriber is entitled to activate as many copies as needed for his/her own development purposes. Therefore, if a computer enthusiast has 20 computers (actual or virtual) for software development (and aren't acting as part of a business, for example, a server farm), one subscription allows all 20 of those computers to be running their own separate copy of Windows, Office, and any other Microsoft product. After a few installations, the activation keys will stop allowing automatic product activation over the Internet, but after a telephone call to the Product Activation hotline to confirm that the installations are indeed legitimate and consistent with the license agreement, the activations are granted over the phone.
Even though an MSDN subscription is on an annual basis (for retail subscriptions—volume licensing subscriptions can be multi-year), the license to use the software, according to the agreement, does not terminate. However, the individual will no longer be entitled to any upgrades after the subscription has expired. An MSDN subscription also allows access to legacy Microsoft products. Although they aren't included in the regular CD/DVD shipments, subscribers can download older software such as MS-DOS 5.0 and Windows 3.1 from MSDN Subscriber Downloads. Such software usually comes in the form of ISO or floppy disk image files that allow the subscriber to reproduce the original installation media after the download.
The division runs an information service provided by Microsoft for software developers. Its main focus is on Microsoft's .NET platform, however it also features articles on areas such as programming practices and design patterns. Many resources are available for free online, while others are available by mail via a subscription.
Universities and high schools can enroll in DreamSpark Premium program, which provides access to some Microsoft developer software for their computer science and engineering students (and possibly other students or faculty as well). A DreamSpark Premium account cannot be used to access the subscriber's section of the MSDN website or its downloads.
Microsoft provides the editorial content for MSDN Magazine, a monthly publication. The magazine was created as a merger between Microsoft Systems Journal (MSJ) and Microsoft Internet Developer (MIND) magazines in March 2000. MSJ back issues are available online. MSDN Magazine is available as a print magazine in the United States, and online in 11 languages.
MSDN was launched in June 1992 as a quarterly, CD-ROM-based compilation of technical articles, sample code, and software development kits, as well as a 16-page tabloid newspaper, Microsoft Developer Network News, edited by Andrew Himes, who had previously been the founding editor of MacTech, the premiere Macintosh technology journal. A Level II subscription was added in 1993, that included the MAPI, ODBC, TAPI and VFW SDKs.
MSDN2 was opened in November 2004 as a source for Visual Studio 2005 API information, with noteworthy differences being updated web site code, conforming better to web standards and thus giving a long-awaited improved support for alternative web browsers to Internet Explorer in the API browser. In 2008, the original MSDN cluster was retired and MSDN2 became msdn.microsoft.com.
In 1996, Bob Gunderson began writing a column in Microsoft Developer Network News, edited by Andrew Himes, using the pseudonym "Dr.GUI". The column provided answers to questions submitted by MSDN subscribers. The caricature of Dr. GUI was based on a photo of Gunderson. When he left the MSDN team, Dennis Crain took over the Dr. GUI role and added medical humor to the column. Upon his departure, Dr. GUI became the composite identity of the original group (most notably Paul Johns) of Developer Technology Engineers that provided in-depth technical articles to the Library. The early members included: Bob Gunderson, Dale Rogerson, Rüdiger R. Asche, Ken Lassesen, Nigel Thompson (a.k.a. Herman Rodent), Nancy Cluts, Paul Johns, Dennis Crain, and Ken Bergmann. Nigel Thompson was the development manager for Windows Multimedia Extensions that originally added multimedia capabilities to Windows. Renan Jeffreis produced the original system (Panda) to publish MSDN on the Internet and in HTML instead of the earlier multimedia viewer engine. Dale Rogerson, Nigel Thompson and Nancy Cluts all published MS Press books while on the MSDN team. As of August 2010, only Dennis Crain and Dale Rogerson remain employed by Microsoft.
Andrew Himes (born 1950) was the founding executive director of the Charter for Compassion, launched in 2008 by TED.com and Karen Armstrong, with the mission of supporting the emergence of a "global compassion movement". He is the author of The Sword of the Lord: The Roots of Fundamentalism in an American Family. Himes' grandfather was John R. Rice, dean of American fundamentalists for decades until his death in 1980, and mentor to many younger Baptist preachers including Billy Graham and Jerry Falwell, as well as founding editor of The Sword of the Lord newspaper. Himes' great-grandfather, Will Rice, was a preacher, a Texas State senator, and a leading member of the Ku Klux Klan in Texas during the 1920s.
In 1989, Himes was founding editor of MacTech, a journal of Macintosh software development. In 1992, he was founding editor of the Microsoft Developer Network, and then led the first web development project in the history of the company, a project dubbed the MSDN OffRamp, aimed at making articles, resources, and technical information available on the Internet to an audience of software developers. Beginning in 1994 Himes managed Microsoft's platform web team producing the sites for all of Microsoft’s operating systems, browsers, development tools, and technologies. After leaving Microsoft, he founded Project Alchemy, a non-profit company providing technology assistance, training, consulting, database and web solutions to hundreds of grassroots organizations working for social justice in the Pacific Northwest.
Himes was co-founder in 2003 of the international movement, Poets Against the War, and produced the 2005 documentary Voices in Wartime an exploration of the trauma of war through the lens of poetry. In 2004, Himes founded Voices Education Project, a web site dedicated to "teaching peace and compassion", now the education program of the Charter for Compassion. In 2008, Himes was a member of the organizing committee for the Seeds of Compassion event in Seattle, WA.Asynchronous method invocation
In multithreaded computer programming, asynchronous method invocation (AMI), also known as asynchronous method calls or the asynchronous pattern is a design pattern in which the call site is not blocked while waiting for the called code to finish. Instead, the calling thread is notified when the reply arrives. Polling for a reply is an undesired option.CAPICOM
CAPICOM is a discontinued ActiveX control created by Microsoft to help expose a select set of Microsoft Cryptographic Application Programming Interface (CryptoAPI) functions through Microsoft Component Object Model (COM). It was intended to enable every environment that supports ActiveX to use Microsoft Cryptographic technologies, including web pages that are opened with Microsoft Internet Explorer or any other web browser that supports ActiveX.CAPICOM can be used to digitally sign data, inspect, verify and display their digital signature or digital certificate, add or remove certificates to or from the certificate stores, and finally, to encrypt or decrypt data.CAPICOM Version 188.8.131.52, the latest and last version of CAPICOM, is officially supported on Windows Vista. However, Microsoft has announced that CAPICOM is discontinued and is no longer being developed. Microsoft suggests replacing CAPICOM with .NET Framework's X509 Cryptographic Classes and a number of other alternatives.CAPICOM was not included in Windows 7. The linked Microsoft article goes into detail.Chakra (JScript engine)
Chakra is a JScript engine developed by Microsoft for its 32-bit version of the Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) web browser.
DirectWrite is a text layout and glyph rendering API by Microsoft. It was designed to replace GDI/GDI+ and Uniscribe for screen-oriented rendering and was shipped with Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2, as well as Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 (with Platform Update installed). DirectWrite is hardware-accelerated (using the GPU) when running on top of Direct2D, but can also use the CPU to render on any target, including a GDI bitmap.Eric Sink
Eric Sink is a software developer and writer. He is the author of Eric Sink on the Business of Software (2006), a collection of essays from his blog and the "Business of Software" column for the Microsoft Developer Network. He founded SourceGear, which sells Vault source control software for Windows and started the AbiWord project. Before that, he led the browser team at Spyglass. His article "Exploring Micro-ISVs" is credited with introducing the term micro-ISV. He is also known for his spoof on a Microsoft ad campaign featuring "software legends", which is embodied in the site not a legend.Glob (programming)
In computer programming, glob patterns specify sets of filenames with wildcard characters. For example, the Unix Bash shell command mv *.txt textfiles/ moves (mv) all files with names ending in .txt from the current directory to the directory textfiles. Here, * is a wildcard standing for "any string of characters" and *.txt is a glob pattern. The other common wildcard is the question mark (?), which stands for one character.Indexing Service
Indexing Service (originally called Index Server) was a Windows service that maintained an index of most of the files on a computer to improve searching performance on PCs and corporate computer networks. It updated indexes without user intervention. In Windows 7, it has been replaced by a newer Windows Search indexer. The IFilter plugins to extend the indexing capabilities to more file formats and protocols are compatible between the legacy Indexing Service how and the newer Windows Search indexer.JPEG XR
JPEG XR (JPEG extended range) is a still-image compression standard and file format for continuous tone photographic images, based on technology originally developed and patented by Microsoft under the name HD Photo (formerly Windows Media Photo). It supports both lossy and lossless compression, and is the preferred image format for Ecma-388 Open XML Paper Specification documents.
Support for the format is available in Adobe Flash Player 11.0, Adobe AIR 3.0, Sumatra PDF 2.1, Windows Imaging Component, .NET Framework 3.0, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Internet Explorer 9, Internet Explorer 10, Internet Explorer 11, Pale Moon 27.2. As of August 2014, there were still no cameras that shoot photos in the JPEG XR (.JXR) format.Microsoft Management Console
Microsoft Management Console (MMC) is a component of Windows 2000 and its successors that provides system administrators and advanced users an interface for configuring and monitoring the system.Microsoft POSIX subsystem
Microsoft POSIX subsystem is one of four subsystems shipped with the first versions of Windows NT. (The other three being the Win32 subsystem which provided the primary programming API for Windows NT, plus the OS/2 and security subsystems.)
This subsystem implements only the POSIX.1 standard – also known as IEEE Std 1003.1-1990 or ISO/IEC 9945-1:1990 – primarily covering the kernel and C library programming interfaces which allowed a program written for other POSIX.1-compliant operating systems to be compiled and run under Windows NT. The Windows NT POSIX subsystem did not provide the interactive user environment parts of POSIX, originally standardized as POSIX.2. That is, Windows NT did not provide a POSIX shell nor any Unix commands like ls. The NT POSIX subsystem also did not provide any of the POSIX extensions that postdated the creation of Windows NT 3.1, such as those for POSIX Threads or POSIX IPC.
The NT POSIX subsystem was included with the first versions of Windows NT because of 1980s US federal government requirements listed in Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 151-2. Briefly, these documents required that certain types of government purchases be POSIX-compliant, so that if Windows NT had not included this subsystem, computing systems based on it would not have been eligible for some government contracts. Windows NT versions 3.5, 3.51 and 4.0 were certified as compliant with FIPS 151-2.
The runtime environment of the subsystem is provided by two files: psxss.exe and psxdll.dll. A POSIX application uses psxdll.dll to communicate with the subsystem while communicating with posix.exe to provide display capabilities on the Windows desktop.
The POSIX subsystem was replaced in Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 by "Windows Services for UNIX", (SFU) which is based in part on technology Microsoft acquired by buying Interix. SFU was removed from later versions of Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012. SFU is logically, though not formally, replaced by the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) in the Windows 10 Anniversary Update and Windows Server 2016 Version 1709 respectively.SQL Server Integration Services
SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) is a component of the Microsoft SQL Server database software that can be used to perform a broad range of data migration tasks.
SSIS is a platform for data integration and workflow applications. It features a data warehousing tool used for data extraction, transformation, and loading (ETL). The tool may also be used to automate maintenance of SQL Server databases and updates to multidimensional cube data
First released with Microsoft SQL Server 2005, SSIS replaced Data Transformation Services, which had been a feature of SQL Server since Version 7.0. Unlike DTS, which was included in all versions, SSIS is only available in the "Standard", "Business Intelligence" and "Enterprise" editions. With Microsoft "Visual Studio Dev Essentials" it is now possible to learn how to use SSIS with Visual Studio 2017 for free for development and learning only purposes.Server Core
Server Core is a minimalistic Microsoft Windows Server installation option, debuted in Windows Server 2008. Server Core provides a server environment with functionality scaled back to core server features, and because of limited features, it has reduced servicing and management requirements, attack surface, disk and memory usage. Andrew Mason, a program manager on the Windows Server team, noted that a primary motivation for producing a Server Core variant of Windows Server 2008 was to reduce the attack surface of the operating system, and that about 70% of the security vulnerabilities in Microsoft Windows from the prior five years would not have affected Server Core. Most notably, no Windows Explorer shell is installed. All configuration and maintenance is done entirely through command-line interface windows, or by connecting to the machine remotely using Microsoft Management Console (MMC), remote server administration tools, and PowerShell.Universal Windows Platform
A universally unique identifier (UUID) is a 128-bit number used to identify information in computer systems. The term globally unique identifier (GUID) is also used, typically in software created by Microsoft.
When generated according to the standard methods, UUIDs are for practical purposes unique, without depending for their uniqueness on a central registration authority or coordination between the parties generating them, unlike most other numbering schemes. While the probability that a UUID will be duplicated is not zero, it is close enough to zero to be negligible.
Thus, anyone can create a UUID and use it to identify something with near certainty that the identifier does not duplicate one that has already been, or will be, created to identify something else. Information labeled with UUIDs by independent parties can therefore be later combined into a single database or transmitted on the same channel, with a negligible probability of duplication.
Adoption of UUIDs and GUIDs is widespread, with many computing platforms providing support for generating them and for parsing their textual representation.Web storage
Web storage, sometimes known as DOM storage (Document Object Model storage), provides web application software methods and protocols used for storing data in a web browser. Web storage supports persistent data storage, similar to cookies but with a greatly enhanced capacity and no information stored in the HTTP request header. There are two main web storage types: local storage and session storage, behaving similarly to persistent cookies and session cookies respectively.
All major browsers support Web storage, which is standardized by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).Windows API
The Windows API, informally WinAPI, is Microsoft's core set of application programming interfaces (APIs) available in the Microsoft Windows operating systems. The name Windows API collectively refers to several different platform implementations that are often referred to by their own names (for example, Win32 API); see the versions section. Almost all Windows programs interact with the Windows API. On the Windows NT line of operating systems, a small number (such as programs started early in the Windows startup process) use the Native API.Developer support is available in the form of a software development kit, Microsoft Windows SDK, providing documentation and tools needed to build software based on the Windows API and associated Windows interfaces.
The Windows API (Win32) is focused mainly on the programming language C in that its exposed functions and data structures are described in that language in recent versions of its documentation. However the API may be used by any programming language compiler or assembler able to handle the (well-defined) low-level data structures along with the prescribed calling conventions for calls and callbacks. Similarly, the internal implementation of the API's function has been developed in several languages, historically. Despite the fact that C is not an object-oriented programming language, the Windows API and Windows have both historically been described as object-oriented. There have also been many wrapper classes and extensions (from Microsoft and others) for object-oriented languages that make this object-oriented structure more explicit (Microsoft Foundation Class Library (MFC), Visual Component Library (VCL), GDI+, etc.). For instance, Windows 8 provides the Windows API and the WinRT API, which is implemented in C++ and is object-oriented by design.Windows Journal
Windows Journal is a discontinued notetaking application, created by Microsoft and included in Windows XP Tablet PC Edition as well as select editions of Windows Vista and later. It allowed the user to create and organize handwritten notes and drawings, and to save them in a .JNT file, or export them in TIFF format. It can use an ordinary computer mouse to compose a handwritten note, as well as a graphics tablet or a Tablet PC.