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Joel on Software


by Joel Spolsky
Tuesday, October 23, 2001

I've been meaning to write more about the creation of CityDesk, but actually our beta is going extremely well, meaning, we're finding lots of bugs, so I've been incredibly busy.

To start the beta off, we released CityDesk to about 100 testers. Most of the bug reports arrived within the first 24 hours. We gathered bugs and feedback from several sources: the CityDesk discussion group, email, a menu item we have called "Send Beta Feedback," and Michael's excellent bug-catching feature (if CityDesk crashes, it offers to send a bug report to us, which goes right into FogBUGZ.)

Indeed many of the bug reports we're getting now are just what we expected: configuration issues. People have funny versions of Internet Explorer. People have their computers set to display everything in large fonts. And something we were doing wrong happened to work OK in Windows 2000, but in NT 4.0, it failed. It would be almost impossible for a small company to find these kinds of bugs without beta testers. And it would have been impossible for us to handle the feedback from more than about 100 people!

Next Monday, I hope, we'll release another version with almost everything fixed, this time to a larger group -- about 200 more people (and of course the first 100 are welcome to download the update). The plan is that we'll have one last beta two weeks after that, putting us on schedule for releasing on or around December 1st.

Have you been wondering about Distributed Version Control? It has been a huge productivity boon for us, so I wrote Hg Init, a Mercurial tutorial—check it out!

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