Tuesday, 23 May 2006

Don't bother using Google to search for Windows APIs anymore

I’ve tried several times over the last week or so to look up details of an API, given its name, using Google (using a search engine in the web browser is still faster than waiting for the documentation browser to load) and have found that the official documentation (that is, msdn.microsoft.com) has just plummeted off the list.

MSN Search still brings up the API documentation usually as the first or second result (often, if it’s a routine that Windows CE also implements, it’s the first and second result). In case you think this is a quirk or that somehow Microsoft are blocking Google’s spider, it’s interesting to note that MSDN is usually the top hit on Yahoo search as well. Of course that doesn’t prove that Microsoft aren’t blocking Google’s spider.

If, like me, you’re using IE 7 Beta 2, you can use the MSDN Lab search (which uses MSN Search under the covers) directly from the browser search box by going to http://lab.msdn.microsoft.com/search/ and clicking the “Got IE7? – get our search” link in the bottom right-hand corner.


Anonymous said...

Most of the API pages still seem to be there but have much lower rankings.

The problem appears to be that MSDN has changed their URL scheme. What was previously:


is now:


Fortunately, there is redirection from the old to the new. However, the redirection is done via some combination of javascript/frames rather than with the proper HTTP redirect header which the Googlebot can follow.

Hence, the MSDN pages have lost their rankings. MSDN could fix the problem by using HTTP redirects or alternatively the web community will fix it over time by linking to the new URLs.

In the mean time, it seems that a site search still works:
CreateWindowEx site:msdn.microsoft.com

Link management has been a problem at MSDN for years. Every version of the ADO documentation has had the ADO version number in the URL. When a new ADO version is released, the old documentation is deleted with no redirect...

Anonymous said...

You can always use www.google.co.uk/microsoft....?