I recently answered some questions on this blog and on the WinFS news group that show that people are starting to think more deeply about WinFS. It is interesting that at the PDC, most of the questions we got were pretty basic... people just trying to get an initial grasp on what we are up to. Now people are starting to think through scenarios and trying to figure out what WinFS could mean to their products and users.
In the WinFS project, we have spent the majority of our time working on what have become known as the “hard questions.” Things like, what happens to the metadata when a file is copied? And what should an “xcopy” like API do given the introduction of relationships between items? And many others (left as an exercise for the reader).
We have some answers to these questions, but few of these made it into the code that shipped with the PDC. For various reasons, if it isn't in the PDC release, I can't get into a lot of detail on what we are thinking, but I'll do my best. I am very very very very very very very very interested in you asking the hard questions, challenging our assumptions, pushing back on our choices, etc. It is only through that process that we will be able to get WinFS right before it ships.
11/11/2003 1:15 AM
# re: The Hard Questions
I think WinFS needs a proof of concept, and I like to think about the MSDN documentation when it comes to searching/retrieving content.
Given that the online MSDN library is out-of-sync with the offline MSDN library because of several reasons :
- not the same storage
- logical storage on top of physical storage
- one is more up-to-date than the other
- different branches
- same content indexed differently (different logical path)
I wonder :
- how WinFS is going to allow me to improve regarding this? As an example, if I take a link from my local MSDN library, than I can't send the link to someone else for at least two reasons :
- the MSDN library is tightly coupled to the version installed
- the help system changes over time
- same content is constantly being revamped
- new content is added (and thus only searchable with the latest MSDN library)
- old content is removed (and thus only searchable with older MSDN libraries)
I'll give one more example. I did a MSDN offline -- online converter last year (available here : http://www.codeproject.com/dotnet/msdn7linkconverter.asp), so to simplify the exchange of links to topics and articles. How is it that with the newer (2003) VS.NET release, and newer MSDN library it's not relevant anymore? I don't want technical reasons behind it, I know the usual blabla with versioning (or lack thereof). I wonder is WinFS is going to provide the essential core stuff to improve this anyhow.
The actual retrieving of content from the MSDN documentation is an entire topic by itself, and I'll keep it for a later question.