VM Depot Gets a New Look

VM Depot has become the go-to location for community maintained open source virtual machine images for Microsoft Azure. Since the site launched nearly two years ago, VM Depot has helped people to discover, deploy, test and use open source software in the cloud. In recent months, we realized that the site had quite simply grown too big for its britches. We therefore decided to act on user feedback and update the catalogue in a number of useful ways.

There are several improvements to the site; I will mention the most significant updates here, including:

  • New documentation
  • Enhanced discovery through improved categorization and filtering of images
  • A streamlined look and feel

A description of each of these improvements follows. Should you simply want to take a look for yourself, then visit https://vmdepot.msopentech.com.

New Documentation

image of the help indes with each of the six main sections as described in the body of the article.We have added a large number of tutorials for specific images; in fact all images now have (at least) a deployment tutorial attached to them. Simply follow the link from any image description. Furthermore, to improve navigation and readability, we split the massive single document that spans all aspects of VM Depot into six distinct sections:

As always, documentation is never complete, especially when it comes to tutorials. We welcome contributions from both image publishers and community members feel free to contact us.

Enhanced Discovery through Improved Categorization and Filtering of Images

Selection boxes to apply filters such as "Application stack", "language Stack", "Databases and NoSQL" amd "Developer Tools" As the number of images in the repository have grown, so has the sprawl in the free-form meta-data fields, of which there were two (packages and tags). To make it easier to find images of interest, we have reused the packages field and renamed it categories. This is no longer a few-from field, publishers can choose up to three of the most relevant categories. This will help users filter search results while still giving publishers flexibility in the free-form tags field.

Users can now select one or more categories of interest within the web site and the list of images displayed will change accordingly.

New look and feel

Like many web services, features have been added to VM Depot in an organic fashion, based on input from users. Consequently, some features were feeling a little “bolted on” in the web interface. We have implemented a new look and feel for the site, which more cleanly integrates these features into the portal. Those who are familiar with the previous site will continue to feel right at home with this new one, but we hope you will be more productive.

Our goal has been to ensure you have easy access to everything you need to work efficiently with VM Depot. We believe we have achieved this, but as always we welcome your feedback as we continue to make improvements to the site – both in terms of user experience and provided features.VM Depot home page sporting its new look. Showing navigtion, search bar, introductory text, Vm Image list and filter options.

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