Last week we (Visual Web Developer team) finished all outstanding DCRs (design change requests) that were approved for Beta 2. Most of them were based on user feedback, some were caused by internal changes such as ASP.NET directory name changes or feature cuts. Some were entered in order to fix recently discovered design holes or performance problems.
You may ask what is exactly a DCR and how it is different from bug fix? Bug fix typically does not require major code restructuring. It is realively minor change on which developer typically spend far less than a day (this includes debugger and fixing). Very little new code is written and usually no new UI gets introduced. No new spec is required and no additional QA automation needed.
DCR, in the other hand, is something that causes developer to spend significant amount of time writing new code, changing code design (sometimes significantly). It often requires new user documentation, at least a speclet from program manager, new tests in QA automation (or at least a manual coverage). Most importantly, when developer is implementing a DCR, she is not fixing bugs. Which may delay product ship date. For example, I have spent two full days implementing advanced color coding. I didn’t fix of the any active bugs that were sitting on my plate during that time.
DCR time is now officially over and unless there are high-profile issues, suggestions will be most probably postponed until Orcas. Not that the door is completely closed, just the bar is very high now. We are switching into pure bug fixing mode, plain and simple. And next two weeks will be special. In the next two weeks all Visual Studio developers are canceling meetings, closing doors and shutting down Outlook in order to avoid distractions. We want to fix as many bugs as we can, see how well it goes and where our bug trend line is going to get us (read: when exactly do we ship Beta 2). It is relatively OK to postpone Beta 1 bugs to Beta 2, but it is much, much less desirable to postpone Beta 2 bugs to RTM. Therefore, we really have to fix bugs.
So in the next two weeks expect fewer posts from VS folks 🙂