Oh ye of little technological savvy

Greg says I should put a little shoutout to DrLP whenever sprachwaffe get’s updated. Come on, Greg, ever here of RSS?

But, really it’s not a bad idea. Who in their right mind would feed off of sprachwaffe. Except me, of course, but it’s for administrative purposes, I swear. And I think Paul.za does too. Him I have no excuse for.

But speaking of technological incompetence, what do you get when you cross William Gibson, Bruce Springsteen and a fifteen year old script kiddie? Some form of heinous, ill-formed, leeching invertebrate who is but one example of the hoarde of “beta users” WordPress has managed to accumulate.

The upcoming version of WordPress is in beta at the moment and is in need of testing. Since nothing here is terribly important (I think we can all admit that, right?), I decided to make blogwaffe a testbed for WordPress as of the now passed alpha phase of the development. WordPress is an extremely open community; I didn’t have to sign up for the privilege (if you want to consider it as such) of doing this, I just downloaded the software and had at it. And I’ve kept having at it all the way through alpha and into beta in the here and now.

There are only two requirements for running the development software:

  1. “You [must be] comfortable with PHP.”
  2. “[You] would like to particpate in the testing portion of our development cycle and report bugs you find.”

Simple, right? And I happen to meet both requirements. So what’s the problem? The problems are the hundreds (seemingly, I have no real number) of people who do not meet the first requirement; the people who think they can be “beta users” too. I have news for such people. Never think of yourself as a “beta user“; a much better mindset is one in which you think of yourself as a “beta tester“. The code is not stable, in any sense of the word. I’ve been guilty of calling it that before, but stability is a relative thing. For people who can walk through the code, change what needs to be changed, and fix what they just broke by changing what didn’t need to be changed, stable means one thing – “not about to self-immolate”; for someone who can’t read the code well enough even to figure out what parameters may be passed to a specific function, stable is something else entirely – “works”.

My own private (likely inaccurate) theory: these people are frustrating the support forum community and the developers by trying to use the beta version as a full functioning, out-of-the-box piece of software. Frustrating to the extent that the developers are hoarding their bug fixes and code improvements and only releasing them periodically, instead of continuously as was the norm. And I don’t blame them. Maybe the beta should have been closed. Probably the alpha cycle should have been, but I don’t know the first thing about developing software, so who am I to say? What it does seem like now, what with intermittent updates, is that we really now need two greek letters to describe the current development cycle: we’re now in 1.5-beta-1-alpha-2.

And that’s annoying. And I’m just a feeble beta tester, it must affect the developers much differently.


    Paul.za 01.17.2005 @ 11:04

    For the record, I don’t have a Sprachwaffe RSS feed, I just happen to be sufficiently interested in it to occasionally check. Not, of course, that this should be construed to imply that I am, in fact, in my right mind.

    Paul.za 01.17.2005 @ 11:06

    Like there. I just checked it. Did you notice? Huh? Did ya? Did ya?

    Yes, well, that’s probably because I was so fast, and you blinked at the wrong moment. Try to pay more attention to me, will you?

    MDA 01.17.2005 @ 16:31

    UPDATE: Well my paranoia/cynicism centers are fully functional. That’s good to know anyway. As it turns out, the devs are trying to update the repository continuously, but Sourceforge is just being really slow about providing access to those updates to those logging in anonymously.

    But even if the hoard isn’t annoying them, it’s still annoying me. Not that that matters much.

    Oh – and sure you don’t, Paul.za.

    Paul.za 01.22.2005 @ 13:23

    It may just be me, but I think it might be time to download the latest CVS patches. Why? Because I think your comments RSS feed is broken — ALL comments link to the most recent one, instead of the the correct one.

    And shame on Sourceforge! Don’t they know about internet time, and things needing to happen, well, faster?

    MDA 01.22.2005 @ 15:06

    A known bug, one that I don’t think has been resolved by the developers yet. I thought I had it fixed here, but apparently I did not. It should work now.

    Paul.za 01.23.2005 @ 13:34

    Good job! Seems to work now.

    Oh, and apologies for the somewhat … sarcastic nature of the last comment — but hey, I felt like it.

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