Where to Find Forums on Microsoft Development

There are many good places to ask questions about Microsoft Development technologies. In fact, there are so many that it can become confusing. This article will be my start at clearing up the confusion. This is not the final form of the article: I hope to hear from you in the comments about how you think I should change it.

The Starting Point – MSDN

The central source of information on Microsoft technologies from a Developer’s point of view is the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN). Some of you may think that MSDN is only the magazine or the subscription service, but that’s very far from the truth. The MSDN web site at http://msdn.microsoft.com/ is the place to start when you’re looking for information. It now includes more than just information from Microsoft, and links out to blogs and other sources of information outside of Microsoft.

Part of the MSDN site is the MSDN Forums. I recommend everyone to click that link, then click the “collapse all” button and scan the list of categories – there’s a huge number of individual forums there, having to do with .NET, Visual Studio, SQL Server and SharePoint development, Office development, and even native Windows development.

Other Microsoft Forums

Some groups at Microsoft have their own “center” sites, and some of these have forums of their own:

Area Site Forums
http://www.asp.net/ http://forums.asp.net/
http://silverlight.net/ http://silverlight.net/forums/
http://www.iis.net/ http://forums.iis.net/
http://windowsclient.net/ http://windowsclient.net/Forums/

 

Stack Overflow

Of course, there are many places outside of Microsoft where you can get help and ask questions about Development issues. One of those is http://stackoverflow.com/, which is actually not a discussion forum. StackOverflow is a question and answer (Q&A) site: you can do a quick search to see if someone has already answered your question, and if not, click “Ask a Question” to get started.  StackOverflow is community-managed: community members may comment on your question, asking for clarification of your question; you should clarify it by editing the original question, not by making a new post: a new post would be an Answer, not a question. If your question, subject line or tags are not clear, someone may edit your question to make it clearer.

For this and more about how StackOverflow differs from other discussion forums, please read the faq: http://stackoverflow.com/faq.

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