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Development at High Speed

As with any project, despite being fairly pleased with the final product, there were bugs. In fact, quite a few issues that cropped up,which we hadn't seen in testing. Of course we could have done more testing, but part of that is knowing what to test and part of that is understanding usage patterns.

This is a community site, so we try to balance the needs of different groups that use the site to come up with something that works. There were a few design decisions that our developers chose that didn't fit the site well. Despite beta testing, we just don't get the same usage that a person would get in normal usage and the complete redesign of the database means that we also had issues running this as a live site in line with the old one. In retrospect, it would have been cool to have some merge replication set up to move forum posts and scripts between the two sites and run them side by side, but we decided against that and so here we are.

The biggest item that I can see right now is the auto-subscribe for posts that you reply to. In the old system this was a per-user checkbox in your profile. In the new system, it's gone. So we have a sitewide setting, or at least a default. I haven't found a setting, but I've been working at a somewhat frantic pace over the last day trying to respond to issues and forward things on to the developers.

The whole process shows how unorganized we are in this mode of development. Most of the Red Gate development takes place over much longer timeframes. And point releases are built on a schedule of weeks or months. We're trying to work in days, and while we've deployed a few fixes, I'm concerned over moving too fast and breaking things. We also don't want to yo-yo to the whims of a few people.

So I've asked for some coordination. Someone that can both PM this project as we develop a point release and also manage the developers, ensuring they're working on what the community wants done and not what they want done. It's a little slow as we ramp up, especially with the time difference, but we've collected a lot of items in the bug tracker and someone should be estimating their resource load (people and time) so we can have an early morning development meeting and set priorities. Our goal is a Thur or Fri point release this week and I'd hope next week again. I'd like to see weekly releases over the next few weeks as we try to clean things up.  

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Steve Jones is the editor of SQLServerCentral.com and visits a wide variety of data related topics in his daily editorial. Steve has spent years working as a DBA and general purpose Windows administrator, primarily working with SQL Server since it was ported from Sybase in 1990. You can follow Steve on Twitter at twitter.com/way0utwest


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