Visual Studio: When Is Good Enough Really Good Enough?

Opinion: Did Microsoft wait too long to ship Visual Studio 2005? Or did the Redmondians rush out the product before its time?

There is no such thing as a completely bug-free software product. But how does (and should) software vendors decide when "good enough" really will be good enough — at least until the first service pack hits?

Thats a question Microsofts developer division no doubt will be reconsidering in the coming days and months.

This past weekend, days before Microsoft was set to launch officially its SQL Server 2005/Visual Studio 2005/BizTalk Server 2006 application platform, a number of developers began questioning Visual Studio 2005s ship-worthiness on their blogs.

The Mini-Microsoft blogger "Who da Punk" kicked things off with the post "Hey Shareholders: VS 2005 Is Fantastic." And the snowball started rolling.

The background: November 7 is the launch party for Visual Studio 2005 and its cohorts, Microsoft began shipping Visual Studio "Whidbey" and SQL Server "Yukon" over a week ago. So developers and customers have been playing with the final gold code for a few days.

And it turns out some of those developers have encountered problems with Visual Studio 2005 — mostly around the IDE ( integrated development environment) core. Because Visual Studio 2005 is so intertwined with SQL Server 2005 and BizTalk Server 2006, some commentators began speculating about the quality of the other two members of Microsofts app-platform trio, as well.

This isnt the first time last-minute bug reports cast a shadow over a Microsoft product launch. Having written the infamous "Windows 2000 Still Has 64,000 Bugs" story that broke in February 2000, I remember (as Im sure the Windows development team does, too), the impact those kinds of comments can have.

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