The Lack of Deep Dive Examples and Docs

personal comments edit

A couple of coworkers were at a conference and we were talking about how the sessions are going. One of them mentioned that there is a lot about “getting started” on various technology but very little content about what you do once you’re past that.

This is something I’ve noticed for a while now. I mentioned it here way back in 2009 talking about enterprise-level ASP.NET application challenges. It’s one of the reasons I wrote a deep dive on .NET Core configuration.

Today it occurred to me why this may be the case.

There will always be more developers out there who are unfamiliar with a topic than those who are familiar. Maybe they’re hobbyists just checking something new out, maybe they’re contractors going from one project to another, maybe they’re students trying to learn new things. Whatever the case may be, those folks will always outnumber the people who already know about the topic.

As such, when a company surveys developers about what documentation is the most valuable, or what features in the IDE are most interesting, or what experience they really need optimized… the “getting started” experience would naturally bubble to the top. Statistically, more people are interested in that. And that’s not a bad thing - you likely do want as many people as possible to use whatever thing it is you’re publishing. Getting new developers and efforts going is a good thing.

What I haven’t ever seen, though, is a survey of what long-term, existing users want. “Of the people who have gotten past the ‘getting started’ bits, what would you like to see?”

I understand why I’ve never seen that - there’s no great way to properly administer that survey. How do you locate the target audience and ensure they’re the ones answering? How much will it cost to do that work? And even if you could figure it out, again, statistically, those folks are in the minority. The value to the company to spend time on those things may or may not necessarily be time well spent.

It’s just frustrating. The “new project” experience from an enterprise perspective can actually be relatively rare. If you already have a product you’re working on and enhancing, likely you’re adding to something existing rather than building something Greenfield. I’d love to see more examples, documentation, and product/framework features that help/reward the long-term users.