On docs.microsoft.com

Before you judge the new docs.microsoft.com you should ask if TechNet is a good experience for you, as a consumer of information. You could maybe answer that yes, 10 years ago TechNet was a modern site. It still has great content, but the format, the organization, and the frequency of content being updated? Calling it poor today would be generous.

I don’t think docs is a slam dunk, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction. Formatting the text for improved readability is a tremendous improvement on its own and simply being able to use the site on a mobile device without having to pinch, zoom, and scroll the navigation section is another really big win.

Outside of the visual adjustments there appears to be a major change in the approach to content. TechNet has always been Microsoft’s final word for what is considered “supported,” but it was never a great source for how you would configure something in the real world. If you needed a walkthrough or help on getting started with a product you were much better off finding a series of blog posts from some random author via your favorite search engine. Docs seems to be geared much more towards providing that how-to guidance and not just the why.

The new URL scheme has significant advantages, but it’s still unclear how Microsoft will handle the TechNet URLs many writers, including myself, have linked to at some point. There doesn’t seem to be a public comment from Microsoft on the plans here, but this is pretty black and white – not maintaining the TechNet links as content moves to Docs would be a major failure. I hope they do the right thing here.

Lastly, it’s really hard to take the community edits functionality as anything other than Microsoft waving the white flag on trying to maintain their own content. The pace of change in their services combined with the diminishing technical documentation staff makes keeping the content up to date an impossible task. Increasing the number of technical writers on staff clearly doesn’t make sense for Microsoft, but you have to wonder how quality of the content will hold up over time if it’s being maintained by the community.


Recent content I've written for you—just for you!— to enjoy while you're here.


Quick commentary and links to other sources you'll find interesting. I promise.


Some personal background, links to related projects, and other ways to connect.

Hi there. My name is Tom Pacyk and this is my small home on the web. I love the intersection of design, technology, and communication, which is a combination that led me to a career in sales and marketing roles at places like Zoom and ServiceNow. They're a bit old now, but I also had the opportunity to publish a couple of books along the way.

Portland, Oregon is home for me, my wife Beth, and our three kids, but I'm actually a Midwestern transplant—I grew up in the Chicago suburbs and went to school at Purdue and Illinois. When I find some free time I'm probably going to concerts, rooting for the Portland Timbers, or working on my Sunshine Burn Photography project.