16 Aug 2011 9:19 AM #1
Sencha's Bug Policy
I was just wondering what Sencha's policy is for addressing bugs? I don't need something official, just some idea on how the development team approaches bugs.
Two areas specifically: acknowledging bug reports and prioritizing the actual fixes.
The ExtJS 3 bug forum has a sticky indicating that all bugs would be acknowledged within 2 working days:
What is the policy for ExtJS 4? Though 2 days is an understandable upper limit I feel it isn't unreasonable to expect bugs to be triaged within a few hours under normal circumstances.
Credit where it's due, in my experience documentation bugs are both acknowledged and fixed very quickly.
Reporting a bug well takes many hours and from talking to other members of the community there is a sense that we're wasting our time. We're all developers too so we understand that Sencha's developers are being pulled in all directions but many of these bugs come with 'on-a-plate' test cases that could be confirmed or denied within 5 minutes.
Further, many of the reported bugs could be fixed and unit tested in less than an hour. Is priority given to rattling off these easy bugs? I'm sure you can understand that it's quite frustrating to spend many hours diagnosing and reporting a bug that you know could be fixed very quickly and to see it sit there unacknowledged, apparently forever. There's a sense that only 'fun' bugs are being fixed and the others are just left in the hope that they'll disappear during the next rewrite. Does it make any difference to add a +1 on the bug report? Personally I find that a bit irritating but I'll start doing it if it helps you to prioritize.
I know you are fixing a lot of bugs. I also realize that a lot of the bug reports you get are unintelligible or just plain wrong. That's no excuse for ignoring the good ones. Even the bad ones can be bounced pretty quickly.
Any information you could give to explain how bugs are triaged and how fixes are prioritized would be much appreciated.
17 Aug 2011 5:40 AM #2
I'm in not a position to speak for Sencha, but my feeling is that 4.0 didn't behave as everyone (including, ultimately, Sencha themselves) expected. Given that, it feels that a lot of time is going into getting major aspects of the release correct with respect to what was advertised as "new". Performance and layout are perhaps at the top of the list, extending down into scrolling behaviors, MVC issues, charting, class loading, etc,. I think the nature of some of these may push a lot of the "little" bugs down the stack.
In the absence of a customer-accessible bug tracking system, there's really not a lot of visibility into the process, and that in itself is frustrating. I can certainly give cases where I (or others) submitted a bug, gave detailed reproduction information, got no response, and then 3 weeks later someone else posts a 2 line bug report, and Sencha come back, saying, "Hey, thanks for reporting that!" What's the point of submitting a detailed report in the first place, then? Very frustrating, and difficult, ultimately, to keep developers engaged in the process because it seems that visibility is low on both sides of the fence.
I think that there should be a more formalized means of submitting bugs than a template and a forum. I suspect Sencha would agree, but it's also a matter of time and resources. Something easily searchable, something structured, with a built-in means of promoting or escalating bugs. I don't know if this is a front end to JIRA, or something different. It also seems that greater structure would make it easier to cull out bad reports and merge duplicate information together where needed.
Now, with all of this in mind, I've been told by more than one person at Sencha that, as frustrating as this is, they are committed to covering all submitted bug reports. I've been working with the product for almost 4 years now, and I take them at their word on this. It's really a question of where they are in the backlog, I guess.
18 Aug 2011 12:31 PM #3
Thank you for your thoughts, stevil.
It's an interesting theory. Perhaps the Sencha devs are disappointed by the 4.0 release and are still too busy addressing the fundamental issues with it to start tackling bugs. It would be nice to know if that is the case, I'm currently sat on a number of bugs that I haven't bothered to report because it feels like it won't achieve anything.
I agree that it would be good to get the bug tracking system public facing (it used to be, though they kept it pretty quiet) though personally I feel it should be read-only. I actually quite like the current model of a forum to report issues, I just wish they were vetted quickly and either filed in a bug tracker or dismissed.
Now, with all of this in mind, I've been told by more than one person at Sencha that, as frustrating as this is, they are committed to covering all submitted bug reports.
From helping out on the forums, it's my observation that quite a few of the help requests actually turn out to be the result of bugs in ExtJS 4. I feel that performance is getting a lot of attention because it is very easy for people to pile on a thread and 'vote' for it, meanwhile overall buginess is much harder to measure. Don't get me wrong, I'm all in favour of improving performance, it's just that it has an unfair advantage over other 'bugs' because it encompasses a huge number of issues under a single banner.
Hopefully someone from Sencha will be able to comment on this thread. I hope we don't appear ungrateful, ExtJS is a great product and we only moan because we care.
22 Aug 2011 12:28 PM #4