Open Letter to Rev: Quality Is Job #1 (Vista Install)

Bill Marriott wjm at wjm.org
Fri Oct 20 14:59:14 CDT 2006


Dar,

> [...] The new installer cleans up a  lot (saves a lot of time and 
> headache) and a lot of bugs have been  fixed.

No way you'll get me to agree with you on the Installer issues. I can 
demonstrate on a clean XP system all the specific issues I mentioned with 
respect to install and uninstall. I've seen the problems on multiple 
computers of mine. Friends I've cajoled into trying Rev have seen the same 
thing. In the release notes, I do read about some bugs being fixed (most 
having been introduced in 2.7.0), but overall the experience has been less 
stable.

> I was not aware of any claims that 2.7.4 is ready for Vista.

As with prior releases of Windows, application compatibility is one of the 
most important, core concerns of Microsoft's development team. In general, 
well-written applications that work on Windows XP will work on Vista. 
(Device drivers are a different issue.) I can mention several programs 
released two, or even seven to ten years ago that function properly. 
Notably, this includes Revolution 2.6.1, which installs and works just great 
under Vista.

> It was not clear how much of the testing involved Vista.  Those tests  are 
> good to have, but should not count against 2.7.

The only Vista-related item was the installer. Logically: I couldn't 
install, ergo no testing under Vista. All the other comments refer to 
running the new Rev releases under Windows XP. If the Vista problem was the 
only issue with the Rev 2.7.x series, then I wouldn't necessarilly mention 
it. Or my post would be, "Windows Vista Compatibility?" or something like 
that. But in the context of general installer flakiness this is just one 
more nail in the coffin.

The Vista item is on the one hand "minor" (or "forgiveable") but on the 
other hand important to include and "counts against" Rev because it is a 
concrete example of software that is a "step backward" -- somehow less 
compliant with operating system requirements. The old version 2.6.1 works; 
2.7.4 does not. It's like the canary in the coal mine, if you will, that 
exposes poor programming/testing. Just what are they doing differently that 
causes it to break?

Stephen,

> I was not aware that Vista was even available as a final product.

This is a red herring. Windows Vista has been available in various forms for 
public (not to mention, developer) testing for several months, since before 
2.7.0 was released. The current "release candidate 2" build is publicly 
available for download from

http://download.windowsvista.com/preview/rc2/en/download.htm

Microsoft has been mailing DVDs of the new operating system to anyone who's 
asked since Beta 2 (end of May). The whole point of an extended beta program 
is to get developers ready... to give them time to migrate their code or to 
give the OS maker important pre-release feedback. Apparently Rev has not 
taken advantage of this window.

Basically what you're saying, Stephen, is that we should expect Rev will be 
starting at "square one" with Vista in one-to-three months, when it's 
released to retail. Don't forget that you and I and others on the list are 
(nominally) software developers, and Rev is the tool that we use. How can we 
make *our* software Vista-ready if the platform we depend on is lagging 
months behind?

Other software developers, large and small, have been releasing updates that 
mention Vista compatibility enhancements as part of their usual release 
cycle. Why hasn't Rev? Isn't this supposed to be a cross-platform 
developement environment?

This is just one more reason not to pay for the "update pack" until Rev gets 
it right. Wait until the product is stable under XP. Wait until it works 
under Vista. Wait until it "takes advantage" of Vista. Then wait for the two 
or three releases that it will take to iron out the Vista-related bugs. 
(But, don't hold your breath. I can only assume their complete lack of 
regard for Vista support indicates this will be a long time coming.)

Finally, if you believe it is so outrageous to contemplate that Rev should 
be well along with Vista compatibility by now, you can snip out the brief 
comment about Vista from my original post. Pretend I didn't mention it. It 
wouldn't change a thing. 






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