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SQLBI - Marco Russo

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It's not a bug, it's by (bad?) design

<rant mode="funny">

Most of the time I submitted an issue to Microsoft Connect, I got a "it's by design" answer. I've been always irritated by this sentence because they don't admit in this way that they have a bug. Today, I understood I'm wrong. It's a bureaucracy issue.

If you pretend that something is a bug, you are stating that a developer wrongly coded a program because it does not meet the requirements and the specifications. If the design is wrong, and the program is written "by design", then the program is wrong but you cannot say it has a bug.

Now, what if the design is wrong? Simple: we don't have a way to submit a design issue. In the Microsoft Connect site you have only two forms: the bug form and the suggestion form. Please, add a third form: I need the design issue form. May be nobody thought this before. It could be that simple? May be... Now the question is: what is the right form to ask for the add of a new form? I hope somebody can help me with this.


For those of you who are asking what has been the issue that exceeded the "enough is enough" limit, take a look at this one, which has received an answer more than one year (one year!) after its submission. Technically speaking, the behavior of CAST is right. However, it requires that you convert a VARCHAR into a FLOAT and then into a NUMERIC if the initial string contains a number in exponential form. I know that in this case the "by design" answer has solid foundation and don't justify my reaction :-) but you know... I was right several other times and this time the "by design" answer started my post minutes before I realized that design reasons were good... too late, my rant was too funny to be deleted :-)

Published Monday, July 28, 2008 8:27 PM by Marco Russo (SQLBI)



AaronBertrand said:

I used to work with a real peach.  One of his GUIs had an, ahem, issue.  I sent him an e-mail with poorly chosen words, apparently, asking, "Is there a bug in the GUI?  I don't think it should do x and y."  (I forget now what x and y were.)  He wrote back and said, "It's not a bug, that's what the design document said."  Of course, since he wrote the design document, my only recourse was, "Well, maybe there is a bug in the design document?"  His response  marked the first time I had a co-worker send me an e-mail that consisted solely of expletives.  

The "bug" was ultimately fixed.  And the co-worker moved on to a big search engine company you may have heard about.

July 28, 2008 1:52 PM

James Luetkehoelter said:

Great rant Marco (and I love a good rant). You're exactly right, the idea that a design decision was made that was questions certainly doesn't absolve the coder of questioning the behaviour of the functionality. I HATE that. If the "by design" behaviour answer is given, I want the logic behind the design choice.

July 28, 2008 6:08 PM

Hugo Kornelis said:

I've had some bugs submitted on Connect closed as "by design" as well. The last time this happened, I simply reopened it and added a comment stating that I, as a paying customer, couldn't care less whether the bug was introduced during requirements analysis, design, or implementation - I just want the product to work as expected, period.

(Okay, I did use slightly more polite verbiage <g>)

July 29, 2008 4:51 AM
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About Marco Russo (SQLBI)

Marco Russo is a consultant, writer and trainer specialized in Business Intelligence with Microsoft technologies. He runs the SQLBI.COM website, which is dedicated to distribute resources useful for BI developers, like Integration Services components, Analysis Services models, tools, technical information and so on. Marco is certified as MCT, MCDBA, MCSD.NET, MCSA, MCSE+I.

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