Community Technology Preview

In Software on 7 February, 2006 at 5:11 am

People who are familiar with the traditional software development milestones will know about Alpha, Beta, and RC.  As in the schedule for a particular software release will be like this, start out in Alpha, where by important features are in but most things are not that stable, this stage is normally for internal testing only.  Then when the software is stable enough for more people to test, it will go into Beta stage.  And after a few iteration, in a final Beta, all features will be in and the software will be consider feature complete.  After that the software will go into RC stage (RC stands for Release Candidate), and the software is being prep for the final release.

It all started with Microsoft Visual Studio 2005.  Microsoft decided to try a new method of releasing software for external testing and they called it Community Technology Preview (CTP).  The CTP will be release monthly and feedback from external tester can then be gotten far more frequently than traditional milestones.  CTP being a preview, will also put less pressure on developers.  In between CTP, there will also be Beta and RC milestones.  For Visual Studio 2005, the CTP program was a success, this success prompted Microsoft to try out the CTP program for Windows Vista as well.

But after the first 2 CTP for Windows Vista (the Sep CTP and the Oct CTP), the suppose Nov CTP turns out to be too bugy for external release.  After some delay Microsoft finally announce that they will not release monthly CTP as it is too taxing on resources.  However, the CTP program has also been successful, but instead of monthly CTP they will now release CTP as frequent as possible.  Furthermore, they will skip Nov CTP and will release Dec CTP instead.  A public Beta 2 will aslo be release sometime in the Q1 of 2006.

Now Microsoft’s co-president Jim Allchin is saying that they will concentrate instead on the CTP approach and will drop the traditional milestones method.  This really make me wonder, is the CTP approach really better or am I missing something?


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