Interview with a Wiki Ninja: Joe Davies, Microsoft Technical Writer for SharePoint 2013, Windows Server, and the Test Lab Guides

Welcome to our Monday Interview with a Wiki Ninja!

Today's interview is with Joe Davies, technical writer on the SharePoint platform and architecture, formerly on Windows Server, and a key leader in our Wiki efforts around Test Lab Guides and Learning Roadmaps.

Joe Davies's avatar

Who are you, where are you, and what do you do? What are your specialty technologies?

I am a Principal Writer in the SharePoint Platforms and Infrastructure writing team, working on the Redmond campus of Microsoft. I am responsible for authentication and identity management content for SharePoint 2013 and 2010, including new hybrid configurations that share data between an on-premises SharePoint 2013 farm and a SharePoint farm in Office 365.

In the past I have been a writer, trainer, and instructional designer for Windows Server, where I specialized in Windows networking technologies including TCP/IP, IPv6, IPsec, virtual private networks, wireless networks, and network access protection. For a list of my Microsoft Press books, see my page. I also wrote The Cable Guy column from 2000-2010.


What are your big projects right now?

Two big areas of interest for me right now are the expansion and integration of more graphical elements in content and efforts to develop and define troubleshooting content.


What do you do with TechNet Wiki, and how does that fit into the rest of your job?

I primarily use the TechNet Wiki to publish articles that would either benefit from direct community collaboration or are designed to enable the community to create their own articles. For example, for the Test Lab Guides, I have published a series of template articles and examples that allow the community to more easily create Test Lab Guide content.

I also use the TechNet Wiki to publish content that serves a specific niche function—such as FAQs or specialized portals—or for content that applies to multiple versions of products.


What is it about TechNet Wiki that interests you?

As a full-time technical writer at Microsoft, there is just not enough time to learn and experience all aspects of a product or technology. By its very nature, the type of content that I have time to write and publish is somewhat theoretical, reflecting well-defined and recommended uses and configuration.

However, customers typically take our products in directions we never imagined. The TechNet Wiki allows those working in the wild to add their voice and provide input on experiences, priorities, configurations, and best practices for a more complete documentation set that reflects real-world deployments.


On what Wiki articles do you spend most of your time?

I spend most of my time on the articles in the Test Lab Guides ecosystem, which includes portal pages, templates, examples, and test lab content. I also help maintain a set of SharePoint portal pages, ensuring that they reflect the content that the SharePoint team here at Microsoft publishes and other SharePoint community content.


What are your favorite Wiki articles you’ve contributed?

Some of my favorites include the Test Lab Guides and Learning Roadmaps portals. They provide an overview of what the content is trying to accomplish, links to content, and links to template articles that allow the community to create their own content.


What does success look like for TechNet Wiki?

Success for the TechNet Wiki is broad awareness as an authoritative repository for technical content and the ongoing and active contribution of content from an engaged community. IT pros using Microsoft products should know that they have a voice and a place to easily contribute their technical knowledge and experiences.



Special thanks to Joe Davies for the interview!

What do you think of Joe's articles? Do you have any additional questions for Joe? Leave a comment below!


And remember to... Wiki While You Work! (or after work)

- Ninja Ed


Comments (9)

  1. I was often reading "The Cable Guy". They're great articles!

    "Test Lab Guides" article and blog are also useful.

    Thanks, Joe!

  2. Joe, it's a pleasure to meet you !

    You are FANTASTIC.. I love reading your articles..


  3. Hezequias Vasconcelos says:

    Excellent interview Joe. I follow everything  about you.

  4. Monica Rush says:

    Great interview, Joe and Ed. So nice to see all the appreciation for Joe, who has some of the best articles on the wiki that either he or the community wrote.

  5. Great work, it gives us as "regular" a good feeling when we see Microsoft writing here too! 🙂

  6. Tord,

    Good. I've been trying to mix up these interviews with Microsoft folks and community folks to make it clear how both are contributing. Thanks!

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