?? What on earth is he talking about ??
An RI is a “Reverse Integration”. The NT source system is built as a series of branches off of a main tree, and there are two sets of operations that occur – when a change is made to the trunk, the changes are “forward integrated” to be branches. New feature development goes on in the branches, and when the feature is ready for “prime time”, the work is “reverse integrated” back into the main tree, and those changes are subsequently forward integrated into the various other branches.
The primary reason for structure is to ensure that the trunk always has a high level of quality – the branches may be of varying quality levels, but the main trunk always remains defect free.
Well, yesterday afternoon, our feature RI’ed into the main multimedia branch, this is the first step towards having our code in the main Windows product (which should happen fairly soon).
When a feature is RI’ed into any of the main Windows branches, code has to go through a series of what are called “Quality Gates”. The quality gates are in place to ensure a consistent level of engineering quality across the product – among other things, it ensures that the feature has up-to-date test and development specifications, an accurate and complete threat model, that the tests for the feature have a certain level of code coverage. There are a bunch of other gates beyond these, but they’re related to internal processes that aren’t relevant.
The quality gates may seem like a huge amount of bureaucracy to go through, and they can be difficult, but their purpose is really worthwhile – the quality gates are what ensures that no code is checked into the trunk that doesn’t meet the quality bar for being a part of Windows.
Our team’s been working on this feature (no, I can’t say what it is, yet :() for over three years, it’s been a truly heroic effort on the part of everyone involved, but especially on the part of the group’s development leads, Noel Cross and Alper Selcuk, who were at work at 2AM every day for most of the past three weeks ensuring that all the I’s were dotted and the T’s were crossed.
This is SO cool.
Edit: Cut&Paste error led to typo in Noel’s name