Bugzilla down - Revzilla loses its mind

Bill Marriott wjm at wjm.org
Sat Dec 23 01:55:35 EST 2006

Hi Richard,

I hope you'll concede that your points about usability and attractiveness 
were more relevant to the old reporting tool than the new one.

You're right that RevZilla is important and a great showcase for what Rev 
can do. In the recent survey of beta testers, integrating bug reporting into 
the product ranked very high as "the one thing that would improve the bug 
reporting process." Just by asking about this, you can see that it's on 
RunRev's mind.

The main problem is: a reporting tool integrated into the IDE cannot wholly 
take the place of the web site... simply because if there is a problem that 
prevents installing Rev, running Rev, or connecting Rev to the internet, 
then an integrated tool built on top of Rev won't function. The risks are 
minimized but not completely eliminated by a standalone version of the 
reporting tool.

Then there is the issue of updating client software when the reporting 
system changes. No, there is requirement to change the server to allow a 
client like RevZilla. But as you saw, our change to the backend does require 
a change to the client. Imagine if we were stuck with the old Bugzilla 
because of an installed based of integrated Revzillas going back umpteen 
versions of Revolution.

Yes, these issues can be mitigated with stuff like auto-downloaded updates 
and different ways of talking with the servers. But it's not cut-and-dried, 
and each solution brings with it more complexity, more testing, more ways to 
break, security risks, etc.

For example, we actually researched very seriously giving RevZilla the 
ability to talk directly to the SQL back end. But it would have ended up 
being a huge security issue with no easy workarounds. A lot of the stuff 
that goes on in Bugzilla is managed by Perl scripts, so any tool essentially 
has to interface with the web pages. Plus, there is the fact that almost 
anyone can connect to a web server (port 80) but a lot of people have the 
SQL ports blocked.

One of the virtues of the Bugzilla system is that it is very thoroughly 
tested at thousands of installations and it for the most part works 
reliably. As extensive as our changes in the new system are, they are within 
the "skinning" architecture and don't modify the core functionality.

So, having said all that -- a web version of the tool MUST exist.

Now, the value of RevZilla -- both the overall model and the specific 
implementation -- isn't lost at all on the mothership. The topic of RevZilla 
came up at the very beginning of the process [not initiated by me, 
incidentally] and we involved Ken at a very early stage. The problem simply 
boils down to circumstances at the 11th hour.

To be very open about it, a lot of decisions about the launch were made in 
the last 72 hours, and communications weren't ideal. I think there were 
assumptions made on everyone's part about what would happen when and who 
knew what and how far along things were. The result is that we had three 
problems marring the launch:

- We closed down Bugzilla without warning folks
- We didn't inform Ken about the switchover
- I announced the new URL on the list before the new site was truly open for 

I hope you'll just chalk that up to holiday craziness.

The intention has always been to keep Ken in the loop and have a pleasant, 
smooth transition experience for RevZilla users. By jumping the gun on the 
launch -- a launch I honestly pushed to happen sooner than later -- we ended 
up putting undue pressure on Ken and breaking his excellent product.

So I share all this in the hopes of nipping in the bud any idea that RunRev 
doesn't care about RevZilla or that there is not enough consideration given 
to this tool which is so important to many users. Everyone I worked with at 
RunRev on this project admires RevZilla and gave it a lot of consideration 
during the project. Unfortunately we fumbled the ball a bit at the goal 
line, and I apologize for that.

- Bill

"Richard Gaskin" <ambassador at fourthworld.com> wrote 
in message news:458C9C06.9070905 at fourthworld.com...
> Mark Wieder wrote:
> ...
>> And happier yet if someone had given Ken a heads-up so that a RevZilla
>> update could have been concurrent with the backend change.
> RevZilla is:
> - more usable than the Web interface
> - directly integrated within the IDE workspace, making it
>   much more convenient
> - more attractive and engaging than the Web interface
> By enabling users to focus on the content of their report rather than the 
> reporting interface, it can raise the quality of the content submitted 
> there.
> But MOST IMPORTANTLY, RevZilla is:
> - an absolutely wonderful showpiece for how Revolution can
>   be used to make "Web 3.0" applications, completely replacing
>   a traditional browser client to provide the above benefits
>   without requiring even a single change on the server.
> And yet for all this, somehow the full value it brings to the table seems 
> lost on the mother ship....
> -- 
>  Richard Gaskin
>  Fourth World Media Corporation

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