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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • While I'm not object to the point, I would like to have it somehow explained.

    Other points are either self-explanatory, or simply obvious, but I don't immediately see why alpha/beta/rc releases are necessarily evil.

    • I don't immediately see why alpha/beta/rc releases are necessarily evil.

      In the first place, they're ineffective as tools for gathering feedback. There's no substitute for getting your software to actual users and hearing directly from them what works and what doesn't work.

      Worse, I believe they're fundamentally at odds with the practice of done done [jamesshore.com]. If you get in the habit of releasing software with features you think probably aren't complete, you think are mostly complete, or you're pretty sure are complete but aren't willing to say are complete, you lose so many benefits of knowing exactly where you stand and what you really can deliver.

      There's also a psychological cost. You're making some releases more significant than others. You're almost saying it's okay for people to ignore alphas and probably betas and maybe even release candidates by admitting that their quality might not be sufficient for every day use.

      I have a big problem with releasing software where you're not sure that the quality is sufficient for your users to use regularly. I also have a problem with making some releases more significant than others. I want releases to be boring and routine. That's great! That's wonderful! I want upgrades to be small and routine and uninteresting and frequent!

      Many people still won't upgrade frequently, but at least removing the pain of the Big Thud After Five Years Massive Upgrade is one fewer excuse.

      • In the first place, they're ineffective as tools for gathering feedback.

        So true! Though, at least you'll get smoker reports...

        • I prefer to get daily smoker reports from trunk and significant branches. Hourly reports are even better.

          The shorter the period between an action and its feedback, the more you can learn from the experience and the faster you can correct an incorrect action.