It’s the end of an era, albeit an era you probably already thought had ended. Microsoft announced this week that it will discontinue the publication of MSDN Magazine, which had been a part of the Windows developer community since 2000. The final issue will publish this November.
The print magazine was born out of a merger between Microsoft Systems Journal and Microsoft Internet Developer; Microsoft Systems Journal had previously run since it was introduced in 1986 as Microsoft’s first publication focused on developers. So this marks the end of a 33-year run of print publications supporting the Microsoft programming community.
“The time is right to combine the two magazines because the technologies each covered are converging,” said Editor-in-Chief Michael Longacre in 2000 when the magazine’s current form was born. “MSDN Magazine will continue the strategic editorial focus of both publications while moving forward as new technologies and solutions emerge.” In those early days, the magazine’s focus was on article series like “C++ Q & A, Basic Instincts, Security Briefs, House of COM, Serving the Web, Web Q & A, and The XML Files.”
Since then, Microsoft has begun offering much of the core value proposition of MSDN Magazine via online resources like docs.microsoft.com and various blogs like the Visual Studio Blog and, yes, one blog for the magazine itself, which will presumably also close. Much of the transition from the old way had already occurred, but the Magazine lived on as a relic of a very different era: the era of Windows XP and huge folders full of MSDN CD-ROMs, before modern staples like Stack Exchange or today’s primary focus on downloadable ISOs and social media for developer support.
Microsoft published the following message to readers in a blog post announcing the magazine’s closure:
We sincerely appreciate your faithful, passionate readership and thank you for supporting Microsoft’s platform evolution over the years. A big “Thank You” also goes to the hundreds of authors who have contributed original content to MSDN Magazine. And thank you for supporting Microsoft’s platform evolution over the years. We look forward to engaging with you through our many resources, from deep technical content on docs.microsoft.com, in subscriptions on the Visual Studio Subscriptions portal, and through in-depth technical blog posts on devblogs.microsoft.com. Follow us on Twitter@MSDev to get the latest news.
Microsoft says subscriptions that currently extend beyond November’s ultimate issue will be refunded. “The refund checks will be mailed out to those subscribers after the November issue has published,” Microsoft’s blog post says. All previous issues will be archived and made available online, which should make for an interesting opportunity for nostalgia (and even some still-useful knowledge) for many developers.