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Confessions of an Old Fogey
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We've RI'ed!!!

We've RI'ed!!!

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We've RI'ed!

??  What on earth is he talking about ??

An RI is a "Reverse Integration".  The NT source system is built as a series of branches off of a main tree, and there are two sets of operations that occur - when a change is made to the trunk, the changes are "forward integrated" to be branches.  New feature development goes on in the branches, and when the feature is ready for "prime time", the work is "reverse integrated" back into the main tree, and those changes are subsequently forward integrated into the various other branches.

The primary reason for structure is to ensure that the trunk always has a high level of quality - the branches may be of varying quality levels, but the main trunk always remains defect free.

Well, yesterday afternoon, our feature RI'ed into the main multimedia branch, this is the first step towards having our code in the main Windows product (which should happen fairly soon).

When a feature is RI'ed into any of the main Windows branches, code has to go through a series of what are called "Quality Gates".  The quality gates are in place to ensure a consistent level of engineering quality across the product - among other things, it ensures that the feature has up-to-date test and development specifications, an accurate and complete threat model, that the tests for the feature have a certain level of code coverage.  There are a bunch of other gates beyond these, but they're related to internal processes that aren't relevant.

The quality gates may seem like a huge amount of bureaucracy to go through, and they can be difficult, but their purpose is really worthwhile - the quality gates are what ensures that no code is checked into the trunk that doesn't meet the quality bar for being a part of Windows.

Our team's been working on this feature (no, I can't say what it is, yet :() for over three years, it's been a truly heroic effort on the part of everyone involved, but especially on the part of the group's development leads, Noel Cross and Alper Selcuk, who were at work at 2AM every day for most of the past three weeks ensuring that all the I's were dotted and the T's were crossed.

This is SO cool.

Edit: Cut&Paste error led to typo in Noel's name


  • BTW, Happy Birthday :-)

  • My best guess is they have put the Windows message loop on the internet. It's the only thing that critical to the success of the Windows anywhere vision that I can picture taking threee years.

    I keep telling everyone who will listen a: html is dead b: windows will be served just like and c: windows will be wherever you ask it to be but most people think I'm nuts.

    Seriously, they put http in the kernel. Web servers don't *need* that. Great benefit, but the don't *need* it. You want to pump the message loop over http you *need* that.

    2 versions out Windows runs on the internet. There is no doubt in my mind. They said as much when they announced .net at PDC2000.
  • so i guess this won't be going into the new Windows XP for Europe then :p

    Congrats Larry and everyone else, can't wait to find out more on what you've done
  • Mat: I actually know what XP Reloaded was - but from a development standpoint, it was a nonevent (which is a VERY good thing). I was being snarky in my response :)

  • Thanks Dear :)
  • What code managment system do you use? Visual Studio Team System? I read that Source Safe was pushed to the max during NT development.

    My guess for the multimedia feature? Maybe something like Tivo for your pc.
  • Check out MarkL's discussion in the PPT:

    It describes our source code control system (SD) in some detail. We've never used VSS for Windows (for a number of reasons)
  • If you are doing threat thingys how about also doing UI thingys. Far more important.

    Even when a product team does something right it is removed in next version. Eg Word 6 added to the status bar help for an unavailable command the reason why it was unavailable. The feature
    1/ Didn't get picked up by any other team
    2/ Got removed in Word 8 (replaced by Shift + F1 - click greyed item)
    3/ I name drop - Tog (the MAC UI guy) agrees with me (talking about the Shift + F1 in email).

    "This is the wrong way to do it. The grayed-out item is otherwise unclickable. There's no reason to make people go through secret incantations to get the information. Just let them click for it or even "hover" for it."

    [I'm attempting to harrass IE UI developers to do some right things for a change]

    Another magor help/UI issue is the lack of help in dialog boxes. Clicking a ? then a field titled Filename to be told to enter a filename is not help. If I went to the trouble of clicking the ? then I want to know what filename does it want. I already knew it wanted a filename. There needs to be help about the dialog's purpose.

    The internet is wonderful. I read tog's books 10 years ago and this year I actually talk to him.
  • Whose birthday is it? Larry's?
  • Hmmm.. Larry has answered no to all suggestions except for the per-app mixing. Could it be this maybe?

    Anyways, congratulations to you and the rest of the team :)

    PS: Looking forward to read about it!
  • David, yup. It turns out that Microsoft turned 30 today, and I turned somewhat more than 30 :)

    Andreas, we did not RI per app mixing today.
  • Umm.. To be more clear: we did not RI per app mixing on Monday (just so people don't think I'm weaseling)
  • per-app mixing?!? Oooh I like!!

    >but the main trunk always remains defect free.

    Somehow that seems a little over optimistic. Congrats anyway, and I look forward to the insiders guide to this new feature. Any idea if it will make it into the XP x64 edition?
  • Tom, I just said we didn't RI per-app mixing.

    And keeping the main trunk defect free is the goal.

    Also, it's not good engineering to RI 3 years worth of work into a feature that's shipping in months - the x64 edition is supposed to ship in the 1st half of 2005.
  • MS should rerelease it's first OS. What was it again, oh yeah, UNIX.

    I'm somewhat more than 30 this month too.

    Who knows, by the time I'm 50 MS may actually get Australian Regional Settings right.

    We use SPACES Chr$(32) to seperate group of digits not commas as specified in Regional settings.

    AS1000-1979, Metric Conversion board 1974. Australian Govt Style Manual ed 3, 4, 5, and 6.

    This is because some of those stupid europeans use commas as decimal point. So we removed commas from our number system.

    I only had the memory of AGSM - my edition has run away - but I've now found the references after 10 years.

    I was the one saying MS needed to release patches for 2000 in Australia (daylight saving started in winter due to olympics). Everyone disagreed with me. But MS finally got the effect on Outlook and international companies and released patches.

    Word for instance follows the Chicargo (and if spelling check worked in ie that would be spelt right) Manual Of Style. In Australia I've attended universities that followed
    and of course
    Aust Govt Style Manual

    Word makes life hard for Harvard citations (Candy:1994). The AGSM specifies Harvard style of referencing.

    Why am I on this. It's because I've spent two days trying to predict sorting by locale. Noone (esp MSDN) wants to say what the sort order actually is. I looked at Windows functions, C functions, .NET functions and nowhere does it specify what is sorted how. Pretty basic info I'd thought. Why does A come above B? Should A come above B? There no reference to tell. (The actual thing was underscore and a throw away line in msdn that punctuation comes before letters unlike ASCII gave a hint)
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