Bits from Bill

Technology thoughts leaking from the brain of "Bill Pytlovany"

Friday, October 17, 2008

Engineering Features for Windows 7

It’s no secret that I’ve been disappointed with the current version of Windows known as Vista. I really wanted to love Vista but it just never happen. I’m skipping Vista and hoping that Microsoft will get me excited about Windows 7. I’m so hopeful that I’ll be attending this years Professional Developers Conference and will start playing with the newest version next month.

Today I caught an article that described changes in the Windows development process that sound very promising. Last year, I connected with Larry Osterman, a long time developer at Microsoft who helped me find a compatibility problem with WinPatrol in Vista. Larry went out of his way, working into the night to help debug the problem and became one of my heroes in Redmond. Larry is busy working on Windows 7 but took the time to post an article describing how the development process has improved.


“… the test team was brought into the planning process very early on, the test team provided valuable input and we were able to ensure that we built features that were not only code complete but also test complete by the end of the milestone (something that didn’t always happen in Vista). And it ensured that the features we built were actually testable (it sounds stupid I know, but you’d be surprised at how hard it can be to test some features).”

Larry also hints that some features may not make the final version but any that do will be solid.

“A feature is not permitted to be checked into the winmain branch until it is complete. And I do mean complete: the feature has to be capable of being shipped before it hits winmain – the UI has to be finished, the feature has to be fully functional, etc.”

So from an engineering stand point is sounds like Microsoft really has it together. This sounds more like the habits I learned from my mentor when I worked for Microsoft.

I would love to see a similar article that describes how new user experience issues are adopted. Some of my disdain for Vista came from changes in how to accomplish simple tasks. In a support role, providing help to others is much easier when the steps are consistent. Vista made some major changes and hopefully we all won’t have to start all over again with Windows 7.

Larry will be speaking at the Professional Developers Conference so I’m looking forward to thanking him in person for both his help and for getting me excited about Windows 7.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Bill, Haven't checked in here in a while. Sorry about that. Yes, I have Vista. Not crazy about the silly things I hve to do to get it to technically work for me. From what I've read Windows is coming out with another program in 2010 to more or less win people over who sisn't go for the conversion from XP to Vista. Hmmm? This riminds me of the Windows ME and Windows XP experience. But, after 2011 isn't Windows going to stop supporting XP? So that means it's either Vista or the new version scheduled of release. Either way...change is in the wind.

9:10 PM  

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