Cult of Personality

Hi Jane (et all),

There’s so much I want to say, but I’ll try and keep it short (I’ll fail).

It’s not that I, or others, don’t want us to squeeze as much into each Wordpress release as we can; it’s that the RISK of doing so grows exponentially the closer we get to release:

e.g. Capital_P_Dangit – just 2 releases ago.

It might of course all be down to semantics, and I understand that, but to me a BETA release is feature complete with only bug fixes going in. This allows us to test whether functionality works. We can’t do this if the functionality changes. We’re trying to hit a moving target.

In essence, this is the issue with the Widgets idea (regardless of the validity of the idea itself). We’re at the 3rd Beta, we’ve fixed 100s of bugs, all of thats awesome. But how are we meant to test functionailty that a) hasn’t yet been fully coded and b) hasn’t even been defined?

WP: Does functionality X work?
User: I don’t know, what is it meant to do so I can test it?
WP: Um, we’ve not defined what it does yet
User: So how can I test it?
WP: >.< God Dammit I hate the vocal minority, why can’t everyone get WordPress tattoo’s and just tell us we’re right.

Thats not a dig at anyone, i know these things can sometimes seem personal when they’re far from it. But if, and we’re at Beta 3 here, we’ve yet to define how the functionality works, and we’ve also yet to fully code it… how the frack are we meant to test it?

And thats my issue. It’s the abstract issue, not the specific one about Widgets, or jQuery, or Capital_P_Dangit, or default changes for screen options or… [insert name of something that changed at or after RC1].

Sad Truth

My company no longer test on WordPress Betas. We don’t. And that eats me up inside. I loved that we used to contribute, but when Beta3 broke a collossal number of our governement and banking sites in testing – and we didn’t know if it was down to the new WordPress or the new jQuery – my lead Dev rolled back to 3.2 and said:

“Why on earth would they move to a 3 day old version of jQuery? They’ve added a dependancy that we have no frame of reference to test against.”

I use Capital P Dangit alot as an example, and I stay away from the content issues or the reasons for and against it (can + worms). What’s scary to me is that it didn’t teach us anything. It didn’t teach us the tried and tested product release process: Adding new things after testing has been completed invalidates the testing. That goes for any product in the world. It’s awesome we’ve all grown to the size and scale that we have – but it’s very close to unmanaged growth.

jQuery example from last week

  • jQuery1.7 was release on the 4th November
  • WordPress3.3 Beta3 included it on the 7th November.

I have to ask, how much extensive testing was done in those 3 days? How much testing was done to make everyone confident that jQuery1.7 caused no known issues? To me, 3 days seems like a very short amount of time to include, test, fix, test, discuss, decide, deploy.

What’s more worrying is that the jQueryTeam found it neccessary to roll out jQuery1.7.1 with numerous (and 4 big) bug fixes just 16 days after their first release and 12 days after WordPress2.2 Beta3 shipped with the bug ridden code.

That doesn’t build confidence in either the Wordpress release system, nor in the specific Beta3. Another hastily come to decision has resulted in our Beta using an unstable dependancy. Mental. Just Mental.

Chickens, on the bus home, something about roosting…

I understand the desire to stay up to date, I do, I get it. But that can be done with a 3 line plug-in. Can we please take a slightly longer term view with these decisions? I mean, what did the test lead in the Core Team say?

Ha, I jest, of course – we don’t have one. 10 people have core commit access, 9 developers and 1 UX. Testers? Ha, they just slow us down with their “did you even load it in Windows questions?”. I mean, Project managers and testers just get in the way, right, who needs them.

And on that note, windows:

WordPress3.3 Beta (not nightly, not alpha, but BETA) was released without anyone with core commit even loading it in Windows or IE. Seriosuly, a BETA was released with the menu not working. THE MENU!!! I understand that we’re open source fans (though I’m not sure how open source everyone’s MacBook’s are, but lets leave the hypocracy conversation for another day), but seriously we didn’t load it on Windows??

Here’s the stats jQuery uses:

  • IE counts for 51% of the market.
  • IE7 has more than 5% of the browser market.
  • Thats more than all versions of Safari and Opera put together!

But we didn’t even load it. Not indepth end to end testing, but LOAD IT! IE counts for more than half of the browser market, but no-one loaded the Beta on a windows machine before deciding that it was fit to be a Beta. Do you see why we don’t trust the release procedure? Why we don’t think highly of Beta’s? Why we don’t think Feature Freezes are really freezes?

Cards on the table

I get I’m not liked in this community, and thats ok. I’m not here to be liked, i’m here to try and help.

But as the number of people with WordPress tattoo’s grows; as more and more of the Core Team go to conferences and open their talk with ‘Don’t ever listen to the vocal minority’ (/wave Westi); as more Automatticians start saying that we’re not allowed to be passionate or fans of the software if we don’t 100% agree with everything told to us (/wave JJJ); as more answers from the Core Team is “relax we’ve done this before” 1 month before closing the software (/wave Matt)… the more difficult it is to say:

Hey, we’re maybe not doing this as well as we could. Lets see if we can’t do this better – together :)

Instead, anyone with a descenting or differenting viewpoint is viewed with a growing contempt. Jane, remember the way you felt speaking infront of WordCampUK last year? Thats the way folks like me feel every time we pipe up:

All pigs are equal, pigs that agree with us are more equal than others.

It always amazes me that anyone who points our our mistakes so we can learn from them is spouting “Rhetoric” (thanks Lorelle) . But anyone drinking from the Kool Aid and repeating ad-infinitum someone else’s words is apparently not doing that. I’m all for community, and I love the WordPress community. But in the past 2 years it’s become less of a community and more of a cult; non-ordained opinions are not welcome.