Reacting to feedback, common issues, and our first update

Reacting to feedback, common issues, and our first update

It’s been an amazing few weeks since we launched Visual Studio Code.  The reaction from all of you has been incredible. I want to start out by saying thank you and sorry for the delay in getting our second blog post out. Follow us on Twitter to receive regular updates from us and also to join the discussion with the community. 

The level of engagement we saw from you and the reaction so far has been nothing short of incredible, we are humbled.  I’m going to list out some numbers that give you a feel for the level of engagement to date.

It’s been really great to see the engagement – so thank you.  I’m now going to move onto a few areas where we could have done better and are reacting to your feedback.

While in the first post I introduced Visual Studio Code, in this post I’d like to share its evolution story.  Here is what I’ll be talking about today –

  • Improving the visibility of reported issues
  • Getting to the bottom of some of our most common issues
  • Improving issue submission & follow-up – announcing public issue tracking
  • Early community support and evangelism
  • Gearing up for the first update – announcing the insiders update channel

We shipped a preview version of Visual Studio Code and asked you to help us test it out and improve for the next version. Within the first week it became clear that there were a number of common issues people were running into.  Once the pattern was clear we published a new FAQ page on our site to share the status and any workarounds we knew of. 

 

Improving the visibility of reported issues

We announced this page on Twitter on 6th May and have continued to update the page with newly reported common issues since then.  Moving forward we intend to make this a permanent fixture of the site. If you are running into an issue that isn’t addressed here, please reach out to us and let us know.

 

 

Getting to the bottom of some of our most common issues

We had a broad set of issues reported, spanning errors in our documentation (we just fixed them all :)) to issues requiring a binary product fix.  I would like to share the story of two of the most impactful issues for some of our early adopters and how the community helped us get to the bottom of them quickly.

1. ‘Help… I can’t install on Linux’

While many users were successful in installing Code for Linux we almost immediately started to get reports of failed installs and issues extracting the Zip archive.  Initially we simply did not understand the cause of the issue in our own testing on Ubuntu and Kubuntu it worked in the Archive Manager 🙂  The issue turned out to be a pretty tricky bug to track down – we plan to dedicate a separate post to the whole process covering – diagnosing the issue, resolving it, and the final fix. 

In this post the key point I wanted to make was that, several people in the community suggested a workaround almost immediately, e.g. Daniel Beauyat in the comments of the previous post to this blog, and this answer by byaruhaf on StackOverflow.  A new updated Zip archive is on the way and the workaround for users today is posted on our FAQ page.

2. ‘Help… I can’t see any of the icons’

Several users reported that post-install all icons in Code were blank.  We scratched our head around this and wondered if it was a High DPI issue or something else for a few days. 

To track down the cause we reached out to several users who reported this issue and eventually we connected with Ping Wu and were able to isolate it. It turns out the issue is caused on Windows when the .SVG file type is associated to something other than image/svg+xml in the registry.  At that point Chromium refuses to render the file as an image when it’s requested over http:///. 

We published a work around on the FAQ for this and are working on a more permanent fix.

 

These are two stories to highlight how the community is helping us make Code better.  We really appreciate your help and hope to continue the engagement.

 

Improving issue submission & follow-up – Announcing Public Issue Tracking

When we launched Code we had a simple ‘mailto:’ link for Reporting Issues both on the website but also in the Help menu.  Unfortunately we even had a few issues with this on Day One.  We included an internal DL for the team and this resulted in errors being sent as an auto reply.  This understandably confused many of you.  The good news is we were getting every mail.

Net, net – mail was a bad choice – it’s hard to triage, hard to see if we are acting on the feedback and also results in a lot of duplicate reports. Lesson learnt, so on Monday we launched a new public web interface that displays the bugs you have reported.  This is all backed by Visual Studio Online which allows us to triage the bugs, report on status and integrate it into our development workflow.

We have been happily using Visual Studio Online for several years now.  However, one thing it lacks is the ability to host a public issue tracking system.  We partnered with the Visual Studio Online team to build a solution into our ASP .NET website leveraging their REST APIs.  We did this as a joint Hack-a-Bug project that we started on Monday – by Monday night we had the system up and running, by Tuesday (today) we had search, by tomorrow (Wednesday) we will round of the feature set. 

I’ll update the images in this post once we finish. Here is a quick view into how it works.  With the tool you can see a list of currently triaged issues, and search to see if the issue you are experiencing has been reported:

If your issue has been reported you can ‘me too’ the exiting issue and add additional comments (coming Tuesday night).  That way we get an indication of how broad the reported issue is.  Over time you can return to this page and check the status of the issue.  Including any relevant discussion in the community or with the team.  You’ll also be able to see which release your issue is resolved in.

Issues can be submitted from either the website ‘Connect’ page or from the in-product help menu.  When you submit a new issue from within the product we will pre-populate the OS and Version data if (from the next update onwards).

We are still hacking on this now, so some of the feature set described above (specifically voting, attachments and discussion) are still in development.  You will see those in the coming days.  But as you read this you should already be able to see the direction we’re headed.

 

Early community support and evangelism

One of the most rewarding things the team has observed since the launch is the number of community engagements that have occurred for Code.  On Twitter, Stack Overflow and User Voice, where you are helping out and answering each other’s questions. 

We have also seen a large number of overviews [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10] published for Code – I’m sure we missed a few on this list.  We have tried to re-tweet the majority of these on the @Code Twitter account , if we missed retweeting your post please share a link with us and we’d be happy to retweet it. We really appreciate all the effort people have put into helping other users use Code successfully by sharing their experiences.

One interesting story relates to one of the top request features on UserVoice – Unity Support. Within days several user [1, 2] created posts on how to use Unity and Code together.  Clearly more to do and this will be a great place for users to extend Code but really great to see the peer-2-peer engagement.

All this feedback s great but only if we address it in the product…

 

Gearing up for the first update – Announcing Insiders Update Channel

We are getting close to publishing our first update to Code.  This will be the start of a pretty regular update cadence.  We have mentioned before that Code has auto update capabilities so all of you will receive the update once released.  We also have the ability to have several update streams.  Within our own team we subscribe to the nightly update channel.

Today we are announcing the first major benefit of being a Code ‘Insider’ (more about insiders on our Connect page).  In the next week we will be contacting all of you with the details of how you can opt into early updates.  This will get you with the latest bits sooner than the public update channel and will allow us to discover any critical issues before rolling the update to all developers. It is a win/win and we would love your support here.

Want to get early builds?  Fill out this short survey to join the insiders.

 

Ok that’s if for now – you can always find us on Twitter. Please continue to send us your feedback.

 

Thanks,

Sean McBreen – Visual Studio Code Team Member