I’ve been an active member of the Microsoft developer community* for many years now and in that time one of my frustrations has been numerous futile attempts to get new features into SQL Server and SQL Server Integration Services. As of today, 27th March 2015, I’ve submitted 109 bugs and 289 suggestions
to Microsoft Connect and while there are occasional successes (TOKEN function in SSIS sticks in my mind as one feature request that led directly to inclusion in the product**) the most common response is “Closed as won’t fix” (which is almost a meme in itself these days). I’m as guilty as anyone at getting irate at such responses.
In the cold light of day I like to think I can be empathetic kind of guy and can accept that getting a feature implemented in a behemoth product such as SQL Server perhaps is not as simple as a developer bashing out a few lines of code and committing to source control. With that in mind today (thanks to Paul Stovell) I stumbled upon a very old blog post from Eric Lippert How many Microsoft employees does it take to change a lightbulb? which explains some of the contortions one has to go through to get a feature implemented in a Microsoft product and only one of these (the first one) actually involves writing the code.
Now granted there is an argument to say they’re making it more difficult than it needs to be and 12 years on from that blog post shipping software is arguably easier than it was back then, but its worth remembering that implementing features for millions of customers is likely a different category of problem to any that us developers who use these products have to deal with (the product I work on arguably counts its customers in tens rather than millions). Call me a Microsoft apologist if you like, you might be right, but I do think that some people should perhaps weigh up what their “5 minute fix” actually entails before they start ranting about “Closed as wont fix” on social media. I include myself in that.
* assuming you consider SQL server developers to be members of the Microsoft developer community. That is up for debate of course.
**I remember Matt Masson telling me at the time that he implemented this on a plane journey home to Canada one day