With all the good reasons mentioned by Ayende, we decided to officially switch PostSharp 2.1 to a continuous deployment process. We are abandoning the distinction between “milestone releases” and “hotfixes”. Since today, you will know always download the latest revision from the principal download page, as well as on NuGet.
Ayende’s article came at a time when we were frustrated with our release cycle. Although we released dozens of hotfixes, the front-page download was still the initial 2.1 RTM release because we constantly deferred the SP1. Clearly, the majority of people were not downloading the best-quality release, and were therefore hitting bugs that have already been solved for a long time. Not the best user experience!
Technically, the difference is quite small. PostSharp’s build and test processes have always been automated. It takes about 50 minutes to build and test all components. Uploading to our download manager is very easy too – copy the build output to a network share and execute a script that synchronizes with Amazon S3. Therefore, the time-to-market of a bug fix has always been very short – a couple of hours, typically. The fact that deployment is now integrated with the build script does not really change this fact.
Thus, the most significant difference is that we will actually publish hotfixes as front-page downloads.
Unlike “hotfixes”, “milestone releases” got additional manual testing on virtual machines, where the later got only automated testing. Installation tests are still not automated, so there’s a slight chance to get a regression in a front-page release. We bet that these defects will be infrequent and quickly detected by the community.
Bottom line: we bet that the overall quality will be higher by switching to continuous development.
Happy PostSharping, now with a fresh version!