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Jeremy Garchow
Endless development
on May 13, 2014 at 5:14:39 pm

Nothing is ever complete. We are in a constant state of beta.


The sentiment in this article certainly rings true.


Jeremy


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Bill Davis
Re: Endless development
on May 13, 2014 at 6:04:52 pm

Wonder how long it will be before our clients start to think of our video work in the same way?

--Hey Bill, we changed our thinking on the forklift safety video we "finished" last month - could you change the language from "Step 2, "secure your seatbelt" to "Step 2 - you MUST secure your seatbelt before you insert the Forklift ignition key or we'll fire you butt if we catch you." Here's the art for the new forklift safety placards. We need the "revised final" version posted to our training CDN by 2pm. That a problem? Thanks.--

That Timeline Index and the SHARE ideas are looking pretty damn smart, huh?

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out http://www.StartEditingNow.com - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.


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Michael Hancock
Re: Endless development
on May 13, 2014 at 6:54:49 pm

Honestly, that sounds like any typical day from the last 10 years.

----------------
Michael Hancock
Editor


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Shane Ross
Re: Endless development
on May 13, 2014 at 7:39:14 pm

Video projects are never finished. They reach deadlines.

Shane
Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Bill Davis
Re: Endless development
on May 13, 2014 at 8:37:39 pm

[Michael Hancock] "Honestly, that sounds like any typical day from the last 10 years."

AMEN.

Just nice to have some fresher tools to address those very common issues.

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out http://www.StartEditingNow.com - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.


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JP Pelc
Re: Endless development
on Aug 1, 2014 at 4:49:23 pm

I'll second this. (Minus the 10 years part)


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Mark Suszko
Re: Endless development
on May 14, 2014 at 6:38:19 pm

Bill said:

Wonder how long it will be before our clients start to think of our video work in the same way?

--Hey Bill, we changed our thinking on the forklift safety video we "finished" last month - could you change the language from "Step 2, "secure your seatbelt" to "Step 2 - you MUST secure your seatbelt before you insert the Forklift ignition key or we'll fire you butt if we catch you." Here's the art for the new forklift safety placards. We need the "revised final" version posted to our training CDN by 2pm. That a problem? Thanks.--
-end quote



This kind of thing has been my life with one project I finished last October. They are STILL tweaking.


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Paul Neumann
Re: Endless development
on May 14, 2014 at 12:03:20 am

Insurance company, telco, hospital network, automaker, airline, bank, retailer, DMV, utility, satellite network...every business today is a software company. The CTO of Bank of America gleefully states he has more developers than Microsoft. And he does. All to keep up.


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Walter Soyka
Re: Endless development
on May 15, 2014 at 4:57:30 pm

[Paul Neumann] "every business today is a software company."

My little shop is a software company.

Every project I do has a development component to it. Some are simple: expressions in After Effects. Some are a little more complicated: custom scripts to automate repetitive tasks. Some are reasonably advanced (for a designer): reverse-engineering project file formats and writing custom in-house apps to work on them directly.

The geeks shall inherit the earth.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Walter Soyka
Re: Endless development
on May 14, 2014 at 2:09:59 am

I don't think software was never "finished" before, either. The world was just slower.

So how does perpetual beta affect you? Good? Bad? Indifferent?

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Oliver Peters
Re: Endless development
on May 14, 2014 at 2:35:41 am

Software is one of the few things you buy that is broken when you buy it. Then you pay (usually) to get it fixed, which in turn breaks something else.

;-)

Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Paul Neumann
Re: Endless development
on May 14, 2014 at 3:00:15 am

In today's "Application Economy" you have to be continually validating every part of every release, automating your testing and virtualizing your development environments. You can't "break fix" your applications like you could in the past. Agile workflows never really got to where we thought they could be, but that is changing with recent DevOps methodologies. It's such a mindset change though that older development organizations are slow to embrace it. "My problem is I'm only doing 3 of my quarterly releases a year."

Meanwhile, facebook, etsy and the like are putting out new releases weekly. Apple is slow to the new way of thinking (trust me, I know) and Adobe seems to be going all in.

The end of massive scheduled, deadlined releases is here. You have to know what's broken before your customer does because that's how they talk to you these days...through your applications.


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Dennis Radeke
Re: Endless development
on May 14, 2014 at 9:41:25 am

[Paul Neumann] "Adobe seems to be going all in."

Adobe has been an agile shop, utilizing scrum since CS5 but you couldn't see the results until we switched to the Creative Cloud model

I think it's been a fantastic model for development of features and workflows. It's definitely benefited our customers.


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Endless development
on May 15, 2014 at 1:09:04 am

[Dennis Radeke] "Adobe has been an agile shop, utilizing scrum since CS5 but you couldn't see the results until we switched to the Creative Cloud model

I think it's been a fantastic model for development of features and workflows. It's definitely benefited our customers."


There was almost an entire episode of HBO's comedy, Silicon Valley, centered around the implementation of SCRUM and coders initial rebellion against it. It was TV well worth watching...

David Roth Weiss
ProMax Systems
Burbank
DRW@ProMax.com

Sales | Integration | Support

David is a Creative COW contributing editor and a forum host of the Apple Final Cut Pro forum.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Endless development
on May 14, 2014 at 3:31:54 am

[Walter Soyka] "I don't think software was never "finished" before, either. The world was just slower."

You are right that nothing was finished, but the release cycle was different, and yes it was slower, but I feel like it was also more measured.

Software was prepared to a workable and (hopefully) bug free state, then there was the deadline to get it to press, the manual and help materials had to be written, proofread, and printed along with the packaging, and then shipped to destinations to and fro.

When that product shipped, it was tried and tested. It was usually packed full of features, with a few maintenance releases coming after that, with no real feature updates. That software was a version, and it usually lasted you until the next big version was released sometime a long while later.

Of course, all of that has now changed. It isn't just about feature releases, but in some applications, complete design and functionality is changed from one dot release to the next.

I think that Apple wanting people to beta test OSX is probably a good thing for the most part, but an OS is a very broad system to open up to the public. I know with more complicated softwares (like SAN software or other software that relies on internal OS exploitations, interoperability, and database systems) changes take longer because Apple doesn't tell you exactly what has changed in the OS at that deep of a level.

So this means a constant state of beta could completely knock out another developer's functionality as tracking of changes becomes harder and harder to follow or keep up with, and the more people that get comfortable with receiving fixes "in a matter of days" the more likely people are to upgrade without testing, even though everyone is constantly testing with or without knowing it.

To answer your question, I don't know how it will effect me exactly, but I assume it will add more work to an already full workload. Everything updates all the time, so troubleshooting is much harder as rolling back to the previous version is impossible. This is fine when it's your own machine, but if you have a group of machines to look after, it gets harder.

On the other hand, if constant updates bring more functionality that actually help rather than hurt, then complaining is futile.

I really don't know how Apple is planning on releasing a new OS every year. If you aren't Bank of America, or anyone else that can afford more developers than Microsoft, how do you keep up with the constant demand of maintenance updates as well as developing new features?

Jeremy


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Michael Gissing
Re: Endless development
on May 14, 2014 at 8:25:29 am

An experienced editor once told me that a show is never finished, merely abandoned. Software is the same.

Earlier in my career I was much more accustomed to alpha software and working with developers testing new features on working jobs. In recent times I have been happy to let others take a turn at the bleeding edge and my software and hardware cycles have actually slowed but I do see that release and beta software is closer in time than it used to be.


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Paul Figgiani
Re: Endless development
on May 14, 2014 at 1:04:54 pm

This is not meant to be snarky - but I noticed this with apps. by a very popular developer in this community. One app. in particular has somewhere around 35 updates. From what I can see every update includes "bug" or "critical bug" fixes, and nothing more. New features are rare, which is understandable. But 35 updates, all bug fixes? At what point do you start to wonder if the app. is stable enough to use?

If I was running the app. store I believe apps like this should be flagged. As a consumer I'm not saying I wouldn't buy it. OTOH at least I would know what I was buying.

-paul.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Endless development
on May 14, 2014 at 1:25:51 pm

I have a guess as to what app you are taking about, and it's a translation app?

If so, the FCPXML standard is evolving and new. Testing every single permutation of timeline is absolutely impossible.

If this is the app you are taking about, this is the quintessential application for a constant state of beta as there is simply no way to self test and they must rely on users to give feedback on what isn't working. I don't know if this is good or bad, it is quite simply the-way-it-is when development is constantly changing.

I guess Apple could have set out to create a more complete version of FCPXML from the jump, but that would have taken forever, and it wouldn't have truly been tested until it was released to the rest of the world.

Michael Gissing often mentions the value of supporting a "dead" interchange format like OMF or EDL as at least developers know the target output isn't going to change, even if the target output does not have a ton of modern capabilities.

Jeremy


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Paul Neumann
Re: Endless development
on May 14, 2014 at 3:06:22 pm

But this shift in software cycles has also required an adjustment in consumer expectations as well. When a product releases early, there's now an implicit understanding that what's broken will soon be fixed. And barring a security exploit or privacy issue, that's not a big deal. When a problematic update rolls out for an app, its not unthinkable to see changes in a matter of days.

This may be the reality for a consumer purchased piece of software, but on an enterprise scale it's really not true. If my bank's software keeps me from my money then I change banks. If my car insurance constantly has billing errors due to their software, I change insurance companies. And I do that with full understanding that there's a massive stack of composite applications inside each one of these companies trying to get 2014 tech to work in concert with mainframe tech from the 80's and everything in between. When customers leave it costs these companies revenue. And the heft of social media in regards to a company getting it wrong on this enterprise level is a major concern for the people who run these businesses.


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Walter Soyka
Re: Endless development
on May 15, 2014 at 4:51:13 pm

I think that something missing from this discussion is how much more complex software has gotten over the last decade or two -- and I think this is almost as important as the impact of broadband.

If software today seems less tested or more buggy in absolute terms, how does that compare in relative terms versus the comparative capability/complexity of the software?

Also, I think that we are maybe overstating the stability of "polished releases" (the legend of boxed software?) and understating the stability of current software (to say nothing of actual betas).

The thing that makes me the most nervous about "endless development" is actually Apple's pace of OS development. Not only do developers have to worry about what they're trying to develop, they have to worry about what Apple will change over a horizon of just a couple years. (I'm still grumpy about Smoke taking forever to get going on Mavericks because 10.9 changed the way textures are uploaded to the GPU. Oh, and I'm grumpy about the grotesque QuickTime/AV Foundation transition.)

I have this stodgy, old-fashioned notion that the OS should provide some stable APIs (not in the sense of crashiness, but changiness). I know of at least one media server developer forced to drop the Mac platform because the choice for their small dev team was adding features or keeping up with the changing Mac platform. This is a pity.

Now if you'll excuse me, I feel like I should go yell at some kids to get off my lawn.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Endless development
on May 15, 2014 at 6:38:40 pm

[Walter Soyka] "I think that something missing from this discussion is how much more complex software has gotten over the last decade or two -- and I think this is almost as important as the impact of broadband."

I guess it depends on what kind of software we are talking about. Some software is probably "easier" (none of it easy) since it borrows from open source or framework libraries. In some cases, a lot of tough coding is already complete.

[Walter Soyka] "If software today seems less tested or more buggy in absolute terms, how does that compare in relative terms versus the comparative capability/complexity of the software?"

I'm not sure. Some software seems to work, and then an update comes out and it breaks, and then another update comes out and it works again. This happens from "complex" apps to more focused mobile apps. This is because developers can't possibly test across all devices and OS, or if they did, they would never be able to release anything. And of course, software is so modular these days that only a certain aspect of it is broken, and not the entire app.

[Walter Soyka] "Also, I think that we are maybe overstating the stability of "polished releases" (the legend of boxed software?) and understating the stability of current software (to say nothing of actual betas)."

It's not that, and not what I am taking away from the article or this discussion. I don't think that all boxed software was polished as the article states, but, as a user, you certainly knew what version you were on, and more or less what to expect from that version. Now there are no more versions, or versions of software are becoming less and less important. It's as if every single application is a bit of a platform. Some applications play well with other platforms, some don't play as well.



[Walter Soyka] "The thing that makes me the most nervous about "endless development" is actually Apple's pace of OS development. Not only do developers have to worry about what they're trying to develop, they have to worry about what Apple will change over a horizon of just a couple years. (I'm still grumpy about Smoke taking forever to get going on Mavericks because 10.9 changed the way textures are uploaded to the GPU. Oh, and I'm grumpy about the grotesque QuickTime/AV Foundation transition.)

I have this stodgy, old-fashioned notion that the OS should provide some stable APIs (not in the sense of crashiness, but changiness). I know of at least one media server developer forced to drop the Mac platform because the choice for their small dev team was adding features or keeping up with the changing Mac platform. This is a pity.

Now if you'll excuse me, I feel like I should go yell at some kids to get off my lawn."


The OS is my worry too. There is such a thing as moving too fast.


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Paul Neumann
Re: Endless development
on May 15, 2014 at 6:45:55 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "This is because developers can't possibly test across all devices and OS"

Yes, they can. It's old methodologies and processes that they're using that keep them constrained. That and the technology they need to do so is something they don't use. Virtualized development environments (not machine virtualization but Service Virtualization), automated testing, continuous delivery and continuous validation are all available today.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Endless development
on May 15, 2014 at 6:49:37 pm

[Paul Neumann] "Yes, they can. It's old methodologies and processes that they're using that keep them constrained. That and the technology they need to do so is something they don't use. Virtualized development environments (not machine virtualization but Service Virtualization), automated testing, continuous delivery and continuous validation are all available today."

Sure. But do you have time for that if you are not a huge developer?


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Walter Soyka
Re: Endless development
on May 15, 2014 at 6:47:44 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "It's not that, and not what I am taking away from the article or this discussion. I don't think that all boxed software was polished as the article states, but, as a user, you certainly knew what version you were on, and more or less what to expect from that version. Now there are no more versions, or versions of software are becoming less and less important. It's as if every single application is a bit of a platform. Some applications play well with other platforms, some don't play as well."

Ah, now I see. Sorry for being dense before. This is a great point. Versions still matter a great deal -- but software is not marketed in versions anymore, and that means that people don't think of them in terms of versions anymore.

We just went through this with a small team of artists using Photoshop CC. Some of us were using linked smart objects -- new in Ps CC 14.2 -- but even though everyone was on "Photoshop CC" not everyone could read them. Ps 14.0 and 14.1 count as "Photoshop CC," too.

Version blindness is preventable. Don't let it happen to you. Watch your splash screens!

Of course, this is a non-issue with true SaaS cloud offerings, where the software is constantly being updated, but because it's running somewhere out there, everyone is always on the same build.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Endless development
on May 15, 2014 at 6:59:05 pm

[Walter Soyka] "We just went through this with a small team of artists using Photoshop CC. Some of us were using linked smart objects -- new in Ps CC 14.2 -- but even though everyone was on "Photoshop CC" not everyone could read them. Ps 14.0 and 14.1 count as "Photoshop CC," too."

This is the perfect example. And the next whole number version, say it's Photoshop 15 (or 14.3 for that matter), could come out tomorrow, and in CC it would look like any other update, but really there are fundamental changes to how the application works. I'm not ragging on Adobe here, this seems to be happening more and more, everywhere.

This means that even if you aren't ready, you are going to have to update to 14.3 if you want to keep working with your colleagues.

I'm not saying it's not preventable, but as more and more people get used to getting more and more updates, and those updates contain more and more content and not just bug fixes, this seems to perpetuate the beta state.

I don't know how I feel about it, but I feel like there's not much I can do about it. So, I have to hope this new development cycles are for the greater good, and by the greater good, I mean I hope it's good for me. :)


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Paul Neumann
Re: Endless development
on May 15, 2014 at 7:40:34 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "I'm not saying it's not preventable, but as more and more people get used to getting more and more updates, and those updates contain more and more content and not just bug fixes, this seems to perpetuate the beta state."

And that's the thing there Jeremy. It's not (nor should it be) perpetual beta anymore. It can and should be a brand new release with features and fixes released with absolute confidence that it will do what it's supposed to do. If it's two releases in the month of May and not another til July then that's 3 releases that quarter. Not 3 beta iterations of what you first got in March. Any CTO will tell you he wants more developers more than anything. Not because he needs more people to fix all things that are wrong, but because he wants more people to make more and better products (through software) so they can be current and a leader in their business.

More and more people ARE getting used to it because more and more people DEMAND it. And they should.

On this very FCPX forum there's a thread about when is the next update and what we all hope it will contain, while Adobe can tell you when the next update is coming and what's going to be in it. That doesn't make the current version of FCPX et al and CC beta versions. But it is pretty illustrative of different development methodologies in action.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Endless development
on May 16, 2014 at 2:36:45 am

[Paul Neumann] "More and more people ARE getting used to it because more and more people DEMAND it. And they should. "

But that brings us to expectations. People are going to expect for things to be fixed in a day. Will companies be able to keep up and deliver without making some mistakes? Since there's less time to test more features, it will probably be more challenging, especially for smaller development companies.

Also, FCPX sure feels like a constant beta test. There are bug that haven't been fixed in a few versions, and the application just underwent a complete structure change in just over two years of public existence, along with 3 XML changes, a new and updated plugin architecture, support for the latest Apple hardware including multiple GPU support (something Apple has shunned for quite some time).

Did Apple have real time to test all of this or wait 2.5 years until it was "ready"? If so, why wasn't FCP 10.1 released in June 2011?


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