Another batch of SQL Server 2005 SKUs has shipped

There are actually more than 700 SKUs of SQL Server 2005 by the time you include all the base SKUs(SSE, WKGP, Std, EE, Dev, Eval) in 9 languages(ENU, JAP, DEU, CHT, CHS, KOR, ESN, ITA, FRA), on 3 Platforms(x86, x64, IA64) by the gazillion licensing schemes that we have(Open, Select, Retail, etc etc). There are actually more than 9 languages for SSE.

We just RTM'd Japanese today (much kudos to the release and test teams) and we'll continue releasing other languages all the way through until the end of Jan.

Comments (4)
  1. Wow – cool; those stats have certainly made me think. The product is massive without the regionalisation and edition changes.

    I’m glad the UK uses the English version, albeit in Reporting Services there seems to be two United States (English) in the UI :).

    Out of interest – can you tell us some of the additional complexities that regionalisation of a product this size has brought you?

  2. Great question.

    The first thing that gets impacted is the time it takes to test and do a "single pass". We’ve talked before about the 100’s of thousands of tests we run daily, but thats for one combo of the above, so we have to decide what the subset is that we can run every day to get most impact, as we obviously can not run them all.

    A common technique is to use German as one of the languages as it can be a fairly wordy language, it hence tends to catch lack of space issues, multiline control problems etc. Using Japanese helps us test for Unicode issues and then testing for globalisation via Bi-Di & Complex Script based languages (like Thai) also shows up unique issues.

    One of the frustrating things for the loc teams is when the redmond based dev teams keep changing the product, thus forcing them to go back into code they have already changed, and while we hope the change management systems point them in the right direction, thats not always true, and when you are looking through the more than 5 mill words in BOL because we changed the name of a feature its time to hide 🙂

    It also presents challenges with product features like UI strings, Error Messages and Books Online. One of the things we did in SQL2005 was to "lock" all of these way in advance to allow us to focus the loc teams on non changing strings so they could be more efficient. Thats one of the reasons that the BOL that is on the CD is somewhat out of date as it was locked down weeks before we shipped. But what we did in that case is while BOL was with the localisers and we could not change it, the UX team was working on what became the Dec refresh of the docs.

    SQL 2005 presented some unique challenges due to the tight relationship with Visual Studio, they perfom loc a slightly different way, in a different location(Ireland rather than China) and on a different schedule from us. So tying the 2 divisions together was a huge challenge for the release management teams. In SQL we had 2 release program managers working soley on this for the last 4 months with their counterparts in VS, in addition to the loc teams in Redmond and abroad.

    There are also some more light hearted moments. One thing we try and do is keep UI strings short and to the point to make it easier to localise, there is less chance of confusion in another language and there is less chance of blowing out the space that we left to allow for growth in other languages. There is a fine balance here to allow the english based UI to make sense while not being too wordy(this is a generic problem as well as a loc problem).

    In SQL Server 2000 I remember sitting with a UE Editor, the Developer for SQL Agent and a writer, trying to reword pieces of the Agent UI, which was second only in lack of loc space to the DTS conection dialogs. We made a lot of use of a thesaurus that day!

  3. Oh and I forgot another major factor that adds to the number of SKUs being huge.

    We are shipping on CD and DVD, thats another factor of 2. We thought long and hard about doing DVD only but the feedback was no.

  4. (First in another new category of posts, taking questions I get in mail, in blog comments and from our…

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