As many of you are probably aware, my team (DevTech) is involved in a number of activities around the APIs to Autodesk products: we talk about them at conferences and seminars (what we tend to call "evangelism"), we provide API training, support & consulting, and we also develop content to publish via blogs and the Autodesk Developer Network website.
One activity of which people may not be aware is the work we do around development tools: one very good example is the ObjectARX Wizard that ships on the ObjectARX SDK and helps C++ developers build applications and use various ObjectARX APIs from them. We also develop a few other tools and utilities, but wizards are usually the most complex of them (especially the one for ObjectARX).
Now on to my somewhat philosophical question... I'm curious whether wizards have the same relevance for .NET languages, where you have - at least in theory - simpler programming languages to master, better built-in tool support (Intellisense, etc.) and better online resources to help you find pre-existing solutions to problems.
Here's my basic question: given a limited pool of resources (i.e. we can't do everything) and the fact we have to choose between two activities, would you prefer to have us focus our efforts on a) building a wizard (or wizards) to help develop .NET code (which for us would mean using the .NET APIs to AutoCAD, in this particular example), or b) creating more samples and code snippets that demonstrate how to use the various .NET APIs? It's clear that these activities don't necessarily have to be mutually exclusive, but asking the question in this way should help to see whether people have a particular preference.
My suspicion is that while wizards are great for implementing code where you want to be shielded from the complexity (think MFC & ObjectARX), extensive code samples are of more use to people developing with "simpler" programming technology where it's easier to copy/paste and modify code that already exists. While it's clear I have some bias around this subject - let's face it, I spend a fair amount of time creating code samples to publish via this blog :-) - I also don't want to sway people... hopefully we'll see a range of opinions from people that will help my team prioritise its efforts in this area. Another risk is that people visiting this blog might well have some bias towards using code samples, of course, but I can't really see how it's possible to adjust for that... :-)
So, if you have an opinion on this subject, please post a comment on this page and/or cast your vote via the poll I've added to the left-hand sash, below the "Autodesk Blogs" list. If you don't see a poll there in the left-sash, the chances are you're reading this post at some point in the future when I've chosen to remove it. if the poll is still open, you should also be able to access it from here.