In a decision that many would classify as long overdue, Microsoft announced on December 7, 2017, that it was moving all of the great technical content found on the old TechNet website to the more contemporary-styled Microsoft Docs website. With an up-to-date navigation system, the new website's design should make finding the hidden gems of educational information often associated with TechNet easier to find for IT professionals and users alike.
SEE: Windows 10 power tips: Secret shortcuts to your favorite settings (Tech Pro Research)
TechNet versus Microsoft Docs
TechNet was, and still is, a repository for all sorts of tips, tricks, techniques, and code snippets published by employees of Microsoft to answer specific customer questions or solve problems discussed in the various discussion forums over the years. Because publication was random and a bit haphazard, TechNet was notorious for being unorganized but at the same time for being a treasure trove of valuable information.
Microsoft Docs, on the other hand, is more a curated stockpile of documents, manuals, tutorials, code snippets, tips, and tricks that is organized by Microsoft product. If you need to know how to do something using a Microsoft product or service, Microsoft Docs is where you go to find it. The website link should be on everyone's favorites list.
SEE: Open source champion Munich heads back to Windows (free TechRepublic PDF)
By moving all of TechNet's tidbits of useful information to Microsoft Docs and associating each item with its specific product or service, the information should be more findable and therefore more useful to everyone in the enterprise, ranging from CEO to mailroom clerk.
As you can see in Figure A, the Microsoft Docs website is prominently organized by product and service. Finding information specific to Office 365 Business, for example, is as easy as clicking or tapping the link. On the next page, visitors can drill down further by clicking one of the links that separate users from IT admins. Navigation is about as simple as simple gets.
Besides the obvious navigation improvements, Microsoft Docs also supports GitHub, so experts both inside and outside Microsoft can edit and comment on items listed on the website. This feature will allow these experts to interact and collaborate directly with other IT professionals and users. Modern advanced collaboration should make finding answers to pressing problems with Microsoft products and services in your enterprise easier and faster to deal with.
If you are at all familiar with TechNet, you know there are thousands of items located on the website, so it is understandable that the transfer will take some time. According to the announcement, Microsoft intends to be finished with the move by the end of June 2018.
And if you have links to an important TechNet tip or code snippet, don't worry about losing it during the move. Microsoft said that the old TechNet will remain even after the move to Microsoft Docs is complete.
Housing all documentation for Microsoft products and services on one website, with an emphasis on navigation and ease of use, has always been a great idea. Adding the technical solutions complied by TechNet contributors over many years to Microsoft Docs only improves the usefulness of this concept. Once the move is complete, Microsoft Docs will be the one and only place IT professionals and the users they support will need to go to learn the ins and outs of any Microsoft product or service.
- Microsoft Office 365: The smart person's guide (TechRepublic)
- Microsoft has set itself up for success—now it's time to make something happen (TechRepublic)
- 10 tips to make you a Microsoft Excel power user (TechRepublic)
- Microsoft opens up its Windows 10 Whiteboard app for public preview (ZDNet)
Have you ever taken advantage of TechNet? What about Microsoft Docs? Share your thoughts and opinions with your peers at TechRepublic in the discussion thread below.
Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to BreakingModern.com, aNewDomain.net, and TechRepublic.