Many customers have asked us about having a better way to enter IE bugs. It is asked "Why don't you have Bugzilla like Firefox or other groups do?" We haven't always had a good answer except it is something that the IE team has never done before. After much discussion on the team, we've decided that people are right and that we should have a public way for people to give us feedback or make product suggestions. We wanted to build a system that is searchable and can benefit from the active community that IE has here.
As of today, our new Internet Explorer Feedback site is live. This site uses the Microsoft Connect platform that has been developed for Beta programs within Microsoft. It will probably take some time to work out all of the kinks and to figure out the best way to work with you there but we decided it is better to go live with this now instead of waiting until Beta 2. The intent of this work is to give everyone a better place to give IE7 feedback and to prepare the ground for future versions of IE later.
Visit the Microsoft Connect site and sign up for our Internet Explorer Feedback program in order to access the IE pages.
I have prepared a short FAQ for the site to try to answer some questions ahead of time.
1. Where is the public bug database for the Internet Explorer team located?
It is located on the Microsoft Connect site at https://connect.microsoft.com/site/sitehome.aspx?SiteID=136.
The current version of the site will require visitors to have a Passport account in order to view or enter bugs. In an update in a couple of months, visitors will be able to view existing bugs without logging into the system.
2. What version of IE is this database for?
The feedback site is for IE7 and future versions of IE. Feedback for the current version under development will be taken through the site. Once IE7 has shipped, it will be used to report issues with IE7 to examine for following versions. As Beta builds become available, it is a mechanism to report issues seen in them. The site should not be used to report issues with earlier versions of IE such as IE5.5 or IE6.
3. What kind of response should I expect for any issues that I enter?
Any bug or suggestion that is entered will be seen by the Internet Explorer team. We do expect that a lot of issues will be entered, especially in the initial period after the site is available. Because of this, we do not promise a specific response time on any issues and we want people to be aware of this. We will have a team examining the incoming issues and making sure that they are actionable and that they go to the right members of the IE team. As an issue is worked on, you should expect to see comments added to the bug giving some details.
4. What kind of privacy can I expect on issues that I enter?
Bugs can be marked as either public or private. A public bug can be viewed by anyone who goes to the website and searches for bugs. This allows people who run into the same issues to vote on them and know that they are entered.
If you mark a bug as private, only Microsoft employees and you will be able to see the bug, its status, or any comments or changes to it. It will be invisible to other people.
The site will require users to log into it with Passport to view or enter bugs. This allows us to have an e-mail address to contact if we have questions about an issue and for customers to have bugs associated with their Passport accounts. This means that people can easily track their own issues.
5. What about security bugs?
Because of the volume of incoming bugs, any truly time sensitive bugs should go through the normal security channels. Security issues should be reported to firstname.lastname@example.org to guarantee a timely response to the issue. There is an overview of the Microsoft Security Response Center available and an article on managing vulnerabilities from them as well. They are recommended reading for understanding how Microsoft responds to security issues.
6. Will all bugs reported be fixed before IE7 is released? If not, when will they be fixed?
Not every bug reported will necessarily be fixed. Issues reported during the IE7 Beta 2 will be looked at and we will do our best to fix issues reported to us. There are specific windows of time where risky or very complex issues can be fixed and times when it would jeopardize shipping on time and with the quality necessary for the release. This makes determining which issues can be fixed and when a bit of a juggling act and it is up to the individual feature teams working on Internet Explorer to make the best possible determination of what can be reasonably addressed.
As Bill Gates mentioned at MIX06 this week, we have committed to doing regular releases of Internet Explorer moving forward. Anything that we cannot fix during IE7 that is a valid issue will be considered for the next IE release following it. Just because a bug is not fixed immediately, it doesn’t mean that it has been forgotten.
7. What goes into a bug?
A "Best Practices for Bug Reporting in Internet Explorer" series of pages has been created on the site. This goes over some of the best practices for putting a bug into the system and will help bugs entered get acted on easily by the IE team. Please take a look at it before entering any issues that you have found.
8. What else does the IE team have planned for this program?
There will be an ongoing blog for feedback created in the near term which will cover the top issues reported during the week, what is getting the most votes from users, and so forth. This will be run by Al Billings as part of the overall feedback process.
The site will be undergoing a series of improvements over the next few months. Right now, there is a single form for bug entry but we will be able to customize that. Also, you must log into Passport to view issues, not just to enter them. This will eventually change so that users can view issues without logging into Passport and the URLs will be friendlier for direct linking.
9. What does the bug database site look like?
The bug database runs under the Microsoft Connect program at http://connect.microsoft.com. The Internet Explorer team is using this software so we can focus on doing what we do best, working on Internet Explorer. The Connect program is an ongoing project run by the MS Connect team to provide a place to host Beta and Customer focused programs, offer articles, FAQs, and downloads for users along with allowing them to report issues and make product suggestions.
As mentioned above, users will need to have an account with Passport in order to use the site. On the site, users can go to a link for “Available Programs” and see a list of open programs hosted by Connect. “Internet Explorer Feedback” is one of the programs listed there. The link under the programs can be used to join the program. Once you are a member, you can follow links on the Connect site go directly to https://connect.microsoft.com/site/sitehome.aspx?SiteID=136 to view the Internet Explorer program. On the home page for the program, IE will have links to relevant articles, websites and even FAQs. On the sidebar, you can select the “Feedback” link to go to the portion of the site where you can enter or search on bugs.
The feedback home page is at https://connect.microsoft.com/feedback/default.aspx?SiteID=136 and looks like this:
In order to enter a bug or a suggestion, you are required to search first to see if the issue has already been reported. If you’re search turns up a bug, it will look like this:
The form for entering a bug looks like:
Opening a bug, you will see this:
Well, that’s it. We hope that you find the site useful and participate on it.
- Al Billings