2.12 development directions

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2.12 development directions

Postby kimmov » Mon Sep 22, 2008 6:32 pm

Now that 2.10 release is finally done it is a good time to set some directions for 2.12 development.

2.12 release should be ready at the end of the year. But I expect it slips to first or second week of January. That means 2.12 release candidate will be released in begin of December. Before that we get one or two beta releases. Depending how the development goes.

New features
The biggest new feature may be the binary editor. But if it matures enough for 2.12 release is still open, we'll see... Another new feature is that WinMerge finally will include files in unique folders in folder compare. I expect this allows us to do few important bug fixes too. Looks like there won't be other big new features.

Where are new features?
In the past we've added new features pretty quickly and sometimes just before the stable release. This has lead to many being quite unfinished in the releases. And unfortunately it seems when the feature is committed to version control people's interest in improving it degrades a lot. So we have too many features that simply aren't at the level they should be.

We simply can't continue this. Otherwise WinMerge just ends up being collection of misbehaving features nobody cares to fix. We have already way too many such features. Plugins support being the worst example of all.

Of course it is not easy to say if something is a new feature or just an improvement. New result window is a new feature. New kind of file filter can be a new feature or just improvement. So we can't make strict rules. And these must not be thought as so. The idea is important: fixes and improvements are the priority. If you are unsure about something, just ask.

Fixing and improving existing instead of adding new
This is what we need to continue in 2.12 development. 2.10 release already added many important and needed fixes and improvements. But there is still lots and lots of work to do. Simple priority list:

Bugs are the highest priority. We have too many open bugs in our bug tracker. And way too many bugs nobody has commented (read: looked at). So we don't even know if all those bugs are still valid.

Improving existing features is next in priority. Location pane got improved, but it is still slow for large files. Diff pane has many problems (not all are bugs). Folder compare could use different small improvements. Filters have lots to improve.

Code refactorings and cleanups can be done too while improving and fixing. And they still need a reason, not just random hacking. We've been converting code to use STL in non-GUI code and getting rid of MFC classes.

New features are possible, but not likely. See above.

Major rewrites - dream on... Ok, if it really is interesting, we can perhaps add a branch for it to help development. But it still won't make into 2.12 release.

How to help?
Get the code, compile it, submit patches. There is a long list of bugs to fix in tracker. If you are not sure what to do, ask.
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