I should clearly be more careful when I contribute to threads...

A colleague of mine emailed me last weekend to tell me I'd been quoted in the blogosphere. Patrick Tisseghem commented that Microsoft hasn't said a thing about the SmartPart, a useful tool for building Web Parts. He mentioned that I'd said that it embedding user controls in Web Parts and supporting everything the Web Part infrastructure offered was too hard to do, and that developers should focus on bulding standard Web Parts and declare their user interfaces with code.

I replied, and suffered for it almost immediately. I pointed out that my comments to Patrick were pre-SmartPart, and that what Jan Tielens did was to take all the work I'd mentioned would be required and encapsuate it away so no one else would have to do it. I then offered an endorsement, and forgot that humor doesn't translate well to text without careful attention. It came off as arrogant and dismissive, and for that I apologize.

Besides, he's right about the fact of the matter. We don't call much attention to genuine great work taking place within the community. And make no mistake -- given that the teams that built WSS and SPS started work on the next releases the day after the current releases shipped, it's the community that's producing the majority of anything new.

What he might not realize is why we appear to be so silent.

We've essentially got two vehicles for communicating developer-related information, MSDN and GotDotNet, at least when it comes to SharePoint Products and Technologies. MSDN is an authoritative, publishing-style vehicle for official content. What goes up there goes through a (often glacial) review process, and carries the expectation of supportability (unless otherwise specified). We really can't promote what we can't support. MSDN isn't a great vehicle for this.

That leaves GotDotNet. It gives us a lot more freedom, but we've been treating our team page there as a publishing vehicle for unofficial info. What you see there carries the weight of "try this -- we think it works but we can't guarantee it". But GotDotNet isn't aggressively resourced (regular users might have noticed that its search engine is offline from time to time), and we're not encouraged to put pages and pages out there. But maybe we should.

I've been watching a lot of useful information emerge out of the blogosphere, and I've been assuming that you've been watching it, too. But perhaps that's not enough.

Well, I'm asking for your help. I'm eager for advice. What can we do to help advance the cause of developing with SharePoint Products and Technologies?