Tuesday 7 January 2014

@CfmlNotifier and untriaged bug count

Just a quicky. Scott and Dave had a bit of a strop at me today on CFHour: the "annoying Twitter accounts" reference in the show precis is a reference to @CfmlNotifier Twitter account. Which they don't like.

That Twitter account sends periodic status updates on a number of topics:

  • new ColdFusion bugs / enhancement requests coming in;
  • updates to the status / sub-status / comments and votes to existing open tickets;
  • a count of how many untriaged ColdFusion 10 bugs there are;
  • (as of last week) a count of how many untriaged ColdFusion 9 bugs there are.
This is all information one might generally have reported on by the bug tracker itself (for example Jira posts all this stuff), but Adobe's bug tracker... um... isn't... err... "very good" shall I say. So it doesn't easily expose any of this stuff.

I started the @CfmlNotifier account because up until a coupla months ago the Adobe bug tracker didn't send any notifications out when tickets changed, so I revisited tickets I'd raised in the past and Adobe had silently closed them as "cannot reproduce", without even attempting to ask me for further information. And talking to a few people, they'd had the same experience. This is pretty poor on the part of Adobe. I'd asked Adobe to look into this (and had asked a few times), but nothing was forthcoming, so I figured screw it, I'll to it. Initially I thought about doing an email-based thing: people could sign-up and I'd email when tickets they'd subscribed to received updates. But then I realised to do that I'd need to write a website to maintain the subscriptions and that all seemed a bit tedious. At the same time I was messing around with Twitter4J for some other reason, and it occurred to me: what a perfect use for Twitter! Status updates! That's kinda what Twitter is for. My theory was that I wouldn't annoy anyone with emails they possibly didn't actually want, I'd just passively post Twitter status updates. And if you wanted to get those updates: you could subscribe to them. And if you didn't... they'd just disappear into the noise of the rest of the shite that Twitter pumps out every day. I even made a point of not tagging the things with #ColdFusion, because I get annoyed about the automated shit that ends up tagged with that, amidst all the jobs and hair-care tips (Cold Fusion is also a hair extensions methodology) and tinfoil hatters talking about the hypothetical energy production technology.

That seemed... sensible. And slightly helpful.

However Scott (and I didn't catch amidst all the froth flying from Scott's mouth whether Dave agreed), got the hump due to looking for ire where there isn't any. He's decided the "untriaged bug list" is me goading Adobe. This is not the case at all. It is a simple presentation of facts. If Adobe wish to feel goaded by this: well perhaps they should do some introspection as to why they feel it's "goading". Now I hasten to add  have goaded Adobe, and have specifically set out to do so: "212 untriaged ColdFusion 10 bugs". Because that was a shocking state of affairs, and they deserved to have attention drawn to that. I later followed this up: "Good work Adobe ColdFusion Team!". And have a look at the current statuses for the untriaged bugs:

That's really good... they're down to a few dozen each, and there's a general downward trend here: Adobe are really plugging through these (and the way they're handling them is generally pretty good). This is the thing: Scott's looking around for reasons to get shirty, and deciding he's found one, whereas I see this trend as being really positive, and representative of good work from Adobe.

Scott put forward a somewhat specious analogy of someone sitting in an E/R, every few hours going up to the charge nurse saying "you haven't dealt with these patient yet!". Which I agree would be a bit on the nose. However this doesn't stand up to any scrutiny at all. @CfmlNotifier only broadcasts to people who have opted-in to listen. So it's not really an announcement, it's more like a board one can go look at if one chooses to. And I think it's quite a handy board too!

One point Scott did have (because, mate, sorry: the rest of what you said was not representative of your most justified rantyrants ever) is that I was pinging these updates out a bit too frequently. Because ColdFusion 11 is being actively developed at the moment and Adobe are ploughing through the triage, I had set it to poll every six hours, just to see what the general trend was like. So, yeah, that was four status updates a day (eight once the CF9 updates started). Whilst I think that's not too egregious, I stopped to think that it's probably unnecessary... once a day is fine. So now I just do one polling at midnight GMT each day.

Anyway I thought I'd post this partly to clear up why that account sends out the updates it does, partly to indicate my dissatisfaction at Scott's whining, and partly as an invitation for comment from the rest of you. Do you "follow" CfmlNotifier? Is it useful? Am I just being a big meany by observing the current untriaged bugs? Pls do let me know. I might snap back, but I do take on board everything anyone says, and at least consider its merits.