Yep, Microsoft has created an extension for Google Chrome, but that should not surprise anyone anymore. Sure this one was Chrome first – I wonder if that’s like my company saying they are “Cloud First” since Microsoft does run a large public cloud. Anyhow, back to this extension for Chrome and enough chit chat.
The extension is called Aladdin and it only works on https://docs.microsoft.com. The idea is to help you, the customer, use Microsoft’s documentation in an even better way than before.
Here’s the idea:
You install the Aladdin extension from the Chrome Web Store (https://aka.ms/getAladdin) and it runs mostly in the background. I uninstalled and reinstalled it a couple of times just to ensure I didn’t miss anything – it really is in the background.
When you browse the https://docs.microsoft.com site using Chrome, the documentation will suggest other documents and answer questions for you as part of the reading experience.
In the example below, the first image shows the documentation for Linux Virtual Machines in Azure https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/virtual-machines/linux/ running in Microsoft Edge. It is just the first section, but for now, that is all we need to show.
The content is clear and easy to read as you would expect. Looking at the same document in Chrome with the Aladdin extension installed, the document is a bit different:
Notice the Related Questions section? That is from Aladdin. It even allows you to ask a question of the documentation right from the page(s) you are reading. When I first saw this on my screen, I wasn’t sure what to make of it – at first I thought Microsoft just added something interesting to the documentation… and I was right, but the way they added it is particularly interesting.
This is a great use of Artificial Intelligence and does not involve Skynet in any way. Nice work Microsoft – making https://docs.microsoft.com even more intuitive and user friendly – while the older TechNet documentation was decent enough to get the task done much of the time, the new Docs experience is hands down better. I like what you’ve done with the place – https://docs.microsoft.com is shaping up to be quite the documentation site.
Interested in trying it out or learning more? There is a great blog post on https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/help-improve-our-azure-docs/ with more details about how the new extension works. Anything that can improve the documentation experience provided by an organization, especially Microsoft – anyone remember Technet Documentation? is a winner in my book. And remember – when you use https://docs.microsoft.com, if you see something – Fix Something and help keep the documentation current and useful for the community.