The World According to Nick
My take on Software, Technology, Politics, and anything else I feel like talking about.
Tuesday, June 29, 2004

It's 2005 in 2004 

Visual Studio 2005 Beta 1 is Live on MSDN. One of the most interesting parts of the launch that I'm seeing is a Product Feedback Center where you can submit and track bugs on the product. From the news and demos I've read this morning, it looks akin to Bugzilla. I have a feeling that they may regret this decision. Although its cool to be able to be this close the developers, I think it won't work on a product of this scale. When I say this scale, I'm not referring to the size of Visual Studio, I'm actually referring to the size of its user base. From what I've witnessed in smaller open source projects that I've been involved with that use a public Bugzilla type system, you get flooded with lots of bugs that are:

  1. Repeats. Nobody checks to see if there is a duplicate before submitting.
  2. Not well written. You see a lot of bugs that say "This doesn't work" or "It blew up". No exception text, no repeatable steps, nada.
  3. One off feature suggestions that are really only useful for that person.
  4. Flames. "This product sucks" or the like. Wow, really useful in helping to make the system better.

The problem is that all those types of bugs are just noise. The more noise you have (and the noise goes up exponentially with the number of submitters in my experience), the harder it is to see the useful bugs. I personally believe it is better to have a smaller set of registered submitters who are more accountable, and more reliable in their submissions. In order for Microsoft to get this system to work, they're going to have to have a team dedicated to filtering bugs for developers or they will not find the system useful at all.

Update: I went to the new Developer Center for Visual Studio 2005. There you can see the top 5 submitted bugs, and top 5 bugs. I think that it's hillarious that 4 out of the 5 top suggestions and 3 out of the top 5 bugs have to do with the feedback system, not with Visual Studio. (Emphasis Added)

Top Suggestions

  1. ASP.NET Web Forms templates shouldn't use HTML that is considered obsolete
  2. A way to see the bugs/suggestions entered by any user
  3. Feedback Center should cover more products in addition to VB
  4. Automatically add one vote (mine) when I file a new suggestion or bug
  5. link to active bugs suggestions

Top Bugs

  1. Help! Help Doesn't Give Results
  2. CTP May04 Installation Fails on various stages
  3. It's possible for user to submit bug reports with Validated status by modifiing HTML page.
  4. Memory Management Slows Down Considerably
  5. If you search twice when trying to submit new feedback, you're dumped back to the home page


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Name: Nick
Home: Wauwatosa, WI, United States

I'm a Software Consultant in the Milwaukee area. Among various geeky pursuits, I'm also an amateur triathlete, and enjoy rock climbing. I also like to think I'm a political pundit.

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