Venkman back amongst the living

Venkman was made public by an editor a few hours ago. It was released a few days after, which turned out to have one major regression: adding more than one watch expression through the “Watches” UI no longer worked. This regression had been present on trunk versions of Venkman since June this year. That is 5 solid months of nobody noticing major pieces of functionality being completely broken. As far as I’m concerned, there are two important lessons to be learned:

  • The lack of a testing framework means we don’t catch regressions immediately. I don’t have time to fix this, as I’m a full time student whose major Mozilla commitments are elsewhere anyway. If anyone is interested in making this happen, let me know and I’ll try to get you started.
  • Hardly anybody uses trunk versions of Venkman. I guess the set of users includes trunk SeaMonkey users, but that’s about it. This, too, is really really bad for quality. I’m guessing some sort of nightly update system would help alleviate this, but to my knowledge it is impossible to have more than one “update channel” for an add-on, short of changing the add-on’s ID, of course…

Finally, something I’ve said before and am saying again now: Please report problems. There’s a bug database, it’s there for a reason. If you have clear steps to reproduce, I promise to try to give the issue attention, but I need to hear about it! Too often I hear people complain that “I could never get it to work” or “It randomly breaks”. That sucks, but if things don’t get more specific than that I’m not going to be able to do anything about it. So, give the latest version a whirl, and let me know about any issues you have with it. Thanks!

3 thoughts on “Venkman back amongst the living

  1. I had noticed this but like many other extensions that are broken before a major release I just assumed it would get fixed when the release came about. It’s kind of par for the course with Mozilla extensions – they work for a while and then they need to be updated for every release to work right. People are so used to that by now that it’s expected.

    Plus, there’s Firebug too which people have migrated to in droves.

  2. Hey…

    I use Venkman from trunk every week… sometimes on a daily bases…

    But I’m not that used to use watches on variables, so I hadn’t noticed this issue.

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