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Tell Us What You Want in Visual Studio Magazine

Working developers are often forced to multitask. Whether it's banging out code or assessing new tools or managing teams of developers, the people who read this Web site and our magazine are doing a lot more than just programming for a living. The question I have is, what are you looking for from Visual Studio Magazine when it comes to these multi-faceted challenges?

Late last year we conducted our annual reader survey, which helps us understand who our readers are and what they are interested in. This survey confirmed a lot of standing assumptions and challenged a few others. For instance, despite VSM's deep roots in Visual Basic (going back to our Visual Basic Professional Journal days), only one-quarter of our readers actually code primarily in Visual Basic (another 4 percent report using VB6 or earlier). By contrast, just under half of survey respondents reported working mainly in C#. And nearly 10 percent said their primary programming language was C or C++.

But beyond the questions of what languages we should cover and how heavily we should cover them, is the issue of what we should be featuring at all. Just over two years ago Visual Studio Magazine merged with Redmond Developer News, the twice-weekly publication for .NET development managers. That merger shaped our editorial positioning, introducing more news, analysis and issue coverage to VSM. Today, each issue of VSM includes hands-on product reviews (VS Toolbox), expert analysis columns (Andrew Brusts' Redmond Review) and often broad cover stories that investigate strategic products like Visual Studio, Silverlight and Entity Framework.

The idea is that developers need both expert tutorials and insightful analysis to best do their jobs. But is that really case?

We're looking for your input. What languages, frameworks and programming technologies deserve regular coverage in our Web and print pages? How important to you are our monthly reviews of developer tools? Did you find broad cover features like recent ones we've done on Silverlight (Silverlight Futures, December 2010) and Entity Framework (Get Ready for the Entity Framework, September 2010) useful? Or would you like to see those marquee features focused tightly on how to work with these and other tools and technologies?

We're also interested in your take on our VS Toolbox reviews. Every month we review a pair of third-party tools, most recently Infragistics' Silverlight-based Data Visualization package and the Amethyst/WebOrb Flash development solution for Visual Studio. In addition, VSM Tools Editor Peter Vogel provides a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the workings of these products in his ToolTracker blog. He also highlights the best free dev tools, such as the Data Debugger Visualizer and VSCommands 2010 Lite. Are these reviews and insights useful to you, and are there specific tools you'd like to see us review?

At the end of the day, Visual Studio Magazine is doing its job if it helps you do your job better. I urge you to help us know how we can best go about doing that. Email me at mdesmond@1105media.com, or let us know in the Comments section below.

Posted by Michael Desmond on 02/17/2011 at 1:15 PM


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