(This is related to "Advanced Syntax Ideas" but not quite the same.)
I don't know how many links I add to docs in one day of posting, but it's a lot. I've made this somewhat easier with "smart bookmarks" or whatever you want to call them so that if I open a new tab and type
it goes to the right URL. I can then cut and paste that URL back into SO.
However, there are a few things wrong with this:
- It means I have to set up the bookmark on all my browsers, and other people don't get the same benefit
- That doesn't always work - for example, generics muck it up
- It's a somewhat clumsy workflow
- It only works for MSDN and JavaDoc (I have a similar one there, although I don't tend to use it as much)
Links to documentation are good. I think we should encourage them. I propose that we make the "add link" button smarter, so that the server can work out what you mean (ideally with a preview - that would be handy for normal links too).
Basically a radio button saying whether you want a "normal" link, MSDN, JavaDoc, and whatever the equivalent is for other technologies. Type in the relevant URL or name, and the server will resolve it (which means we can put appropriate smarts in to handle generics etc) and the browser can preview it. I haven't mocked this up, but I'd be happy to if anyone's interested. (I haven't used Balsamiq Mocks yet, but it looks fun :)
The preview side of things may be hard due to iframe busting etc - I'm not sure. Just fetching the page title would be a good start, to be honest.
Just like my suggestion for the "close as duplicate" workflow, this is about keeping the workflow all on one page where possible.
Oh, and I'd be very happy to work on the bit of code which determined the right MSDN link: I've already done some of that as a prototype. (You can fetch the DHTML served on the left hand side and walk the tree - with caching, of course.) Now adding Intellisense to that would be even sweeter, but perhaps a step too far :)