Anybody who works with Microsoft development tools will find themselves turning to the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) from time to time for documentation, technical references and more. But what many developers don't know is that Microsoft does an annual roll-up of documentation in the form of a downloadable MSDN library. This roll-up includes information updates, enhancements and additional subject matter for major developer toolsets such as Visual Studio 2008.
Although the latest downloadable MSDN library for Visual Studio 2008 weighs in at over 2 GB (just under 2,206 MB), there's a lot of useful information in it. As with previous versions, this environment includes its own database and search tools, so developers can find most of what they'll need in it instead of making a steady stream of trips to the MSDN pages for the same information. I figure that convenience alone should make this worthwhile for those who work regularly with Visual Studio 2008. But there's a wealth of other information worth exploring in here as well, especially for those who also work with Windows Vista and Microsoft Office.
Interestingly, the first downloadable MSDN library for VS 2008 was released along with the product itself in November 2007. In addition to Visual Studio 2008 documentation, it included:
- Windows Vista Developer documentation
- Windows Driver Kit (WDK) documentation
- Microsoft Office 2007 documentation
- Microsoft Knowledge Base articles and information
The latest version of this documentation roll-up is called the MSDN Library for Visual Studio 2008 SP1 and reflects the recent release of Service Pack 1 for Visual Studio 2008. This offering, released Aug. 11, 2008, includes coverage of all changes and additions to Visual Studio introduced with SP1, plus information about SQL Server Compact 3.5 and Synchronization Services for ADO.Net Books Online.
Ed Tittel is a writer and trainer whose interests include XML and development topics, along with IT Certification and information security. E-mail him with comments, questions, or suggested topics or tools to review. Cool tools rule!