20 Dec 2010
It's been a few days since I've posted - we had a lot of work on our end up to the announcements on Friday which required a lot of attention. In addition, I got a few days from my mother on the weekend (http://www.mamkhulu.org/Board-Members) as she whisked through town (she lives in South Africa, saving orphans and the like, and I only get to see her a few days a year). She is going to commission some of her orphans to make us some 3-D beaded Rhinos (not child labour, but advocacy towards entrepreneurialism and prevention from starvation). Suddenly LassoSoft is in the orphan advocacy business! Now if only we could teach them to code...
I had a great talk with Jason Huck today about the future of LassoSoft. It is clear that his team experienced many of the same issues we experienced with the Inline Curtain - not knowing what was happening makes it very difficult to plan for the future. As he noted, "Plan B" suddenly became the new "Plan A".
I reflect on the culture of product release mystery and how that has affected our last few years - especially as compared to how Apple holds so tightly the cult of new products. I think this is where small organizations get their hair in a knot about product surprises - they want to appear as massive, hyper-successful organizations (like Apple), and they hold all of their cards to their chests so they can release them in a false shower of fanfare and glitter.
In addition, I think that many companies are afraid that by letting to much information out they will appear as failures if they fail to meet their public aspirational goals. It's so much safer to surprise everyone when something is finally accomplished than tell everyone you plan to make the perfect widget aad then not be able to do so.
We are not in a competitive environment at this point. Lasso users, in general, have been users for a billion internet years.
So based on my discussion with Jason, let me give you a little background on our current plan.
- Having "fixed" (or improved) ListSearch, we are working away on a new marketing website, where we will will open up new options/models for Lasso licensing. There's a lot of work to do here - rebuilding the client management system and license key generators, etc. We are creating a new and sexy face for Lasso to light our way into the future.
- We are currently working away on getting 8.x back in the saddle and bugs fixed. We have rescued the code base from an earlier CVS and moved it to SVN, got test and installer computers back online for 8, etc. We are finally - after a long hiatus - back in a strong position to shoulder the 8-fixit goals.
- We have trolled through the inherited bugs system, which had over 900 reported bugs (actually 5777, but many were junk from previous products).
- we've cleaned up 516 functionality bugs, (450 closed & 54 merged, about 12 product type changed as non-lasso)
- we've reassessed over half of the remaining 418 functionality bugs
- we've updated half of the 418 functionality bugs with a release version number to clarify where found or where still relevant.
- we've got the core list down to about 80 key critical Lasso 8 bugs which need to be tested and confirmed (thanks again for the input from the list) - many others are functional questions or documentation errors
- We plan on releasing a live version of bugs (there are no security related ones) as soon as possible, when realistic and clean enough for reasonable public input.
- We plan on releasing an update (8.7?) as soon as realistically possible. It is going to take time to fix the remaining issues - that's why they were left. It takes 3-4 days to create and test an installer for a specific OS. We have identified the following;
- Some issues can be fixed (i.e. busted functionality)
- Some issues can be band-aided (i.e. removing logs automatically)
- Some issues will be intentionally ignored to save even more hassle (i.e. currency changes, already "dealt with by developers the hard way")
- For some, the fix is 9 (i.e. true scaleability)
I can't promise anything on timing. Heck, I'm too new, and it's the Christmas holidays. But my team all has a tremendous sense of urgency, and are pushing with all their might. (Jono is on fire). We'll work to perfect the product until it makes no sense to work on it any more.
- As soon as we get out the update, we plan on putting 100% of R&D energy into backwards compatibility of Lasso 9. My plan is to create a comprehensive mechanism for backwards compatibility (yet to be determined) like a trigger extension or a page listing in the admin or a wrapper [Run_As_8]Hello World![/Run_As_8] which reverts to exact 8 behaviour. There's about a month of work here as well, but we will not be abandoning 10 years of my code to the wolves. Sure, my code from 2000 might be lousy code. But it works (sort of), and our clients ain't paying to upgrade.
- We plan to release other marketing pieces as we can get the running, so as to get feedback from the community. More to come in coming weeks...
If you look back to Day One (http://transparency.lassosoft.com/Day-one-Lift-off), you'll see we have done everything we said we were going to do, and more.
And we push onwards!
"we will not be abandoning 10 years of my code to the wolves"
Aha! this is what a Lasso end-user could say, glad we meet here :)
It opens the opportunity to then reduce slowly these [run_as_8] tags, as we learn the new 9 syntax. great plan.