Thursday, August 23, 2007

MSDN Beginner Developer Learning Center

I also considered these alternate titles:
  • Enough free beginner training to choke a rhino
  • Holy video training, Batman!
  • I've done up and polluted my sample, dag nub it all

My friend Kris is starting to go through the SQL Server video training I shared with him (and with you yesterday) and is more excited than ever. That's the good news. The bad news is that I let him know that I was using his journey of self-discovery[1] as blog fodder. So he's been sharing with me other goodies he's found related to beginning .NET development. That's the bad news. Once your experimental test subjects know that they're participating in an experiment at all, you've totally skewed[2] your tests results. Bah.

Not that this is an experiment, of course. [3]

Anyway, with help from Kris, I've found what is probably the best starting point for beginning developers who want to learn the Microsoft development platform: The MSDN Beginner Developer Learning Center. Here's what you get:

  1. The launch page, with a bunch of links:
  2. A "learning path" page that lists out all of the lessons, in order, for Windows and Web development paths:
  3. Individual lesson overview pages, such as Introduction to CSS and Visual Web Developer Express Feature Tour and Handling Exceptions.
  4. Some of these lesson pages have PDF lessons to download. Some of them have videos to download or stream. Some have full lesson packages, including videos, transcripts, starter project files plus study guides and exercises.

Wow! Not only is the content available and free, it looks like some real thought has gone into its organization and planning. I've put together basic developer training paths in the past, but have never before seen a pre-built repository of learning resources like this available freely online.

Now let's see what Kris will do with it, while I try to think up another experiment...

[1] Before you can know code, you must know yourself, grasshopper. Or something like that.

[2] Or something that rhymes with skewed, anyway.

[3] Why doesn't HTML have a diabolicallaughter tag?

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