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Andy Brice
Successful Software

Doug Nebeker ("Doug")

Jonathan Matthews
Creator of DeepTrawl, CloudTrawl, and LeapDoc

Nicholas Hebb
BreezeTree Software

Bob Walsh
host, Startup Success Podcast author of The Web Startup Success Guide and Micro-ISV: From Vision To Reality

Patrick McKenzie
Bingo Card Creator

Admit issue or wait for bug report?

The app I'm releasing has a minor issue (not a bug) with Windows XP on widescreen displays that I only discovered today.  It's nothing major (just a slight sizing problem with my app's window) but my question is: should I mention this in my manual to stave off any potential questions (like in a "Known Issues" section), or keep mum and see if anyone emails about it?

The general consensus here is "just get it out" so I think maybe just not mention it?  Maybe nobody will ask anyway.  It can probably be fixed but I don't have time right now.
PSB136 Send private email
Thursday, February 20, 2014
I guess the answer depends on how many users will be likely to use Windows XP (not many hopefully) and how severe the issue is.

Unless it is a real breaking issue, I'd probably leave it and concentrate on the things that will build the business.
Scorpio Send private email
Thursday, February 20, 2014
Exactly what Scorpio said.
Jonathan Matthews Send private email
Thursday, February 20, 2014
Okay, I'll skip it for now.  :)
PSB136 Send private email
Thursday, February 20, 2014
There will be boat load of problems and bugs you have not even seen on your development or test machines.

This one issue, is not a big deal from what you've described.

Just make sure there are no showstopper bugs that would prevent a user from using the software.

Don't stress too much about bugs, bug reports, refunds, complaints, support questions, etc..  its not important at this stage.

The day after you release it, they will take priority.
Until then, releasing it is the priority.

I'm rooting for you.  Can't wait until you announce the release.

I've started working on a new product, a SAAS this time.  Started on Jan 28th.  and racing to release it before March 1st as Public Alpha/Beta  :)
Its a race :)
I'll let you know if I make it before you do.
NewGuyOnTheBlock Send private email
Thursday, February 20, 2014
Yes, please announce when you release.

I'd like to have a look at the beta, andbif you have a blog or a story about this "sprint" please tell me.
fp615 Send private email
Thursday, February 20, 2014

I usually don't blog openly about my mISV adventures.
So an beta access is really not up for grabs.  Tho I will talk about what worked, and what did not, in the coming months.

One thing I know for sure, Rapid prototyping, release and repeat is the way to go.

My first app years ago took me 9months to get to alpha.
Sure, it was a lot more complex than what I'm building now.  But I could have released a stripped down featured, bug riddled version in just a few months to test the market.  And no one would have been wiser.
Because, even after 9 months of work, I was getting hate mail from buyers in the first few weeks till I fixed all the issues that were not even reproducible on my machines.  :)
Does not matter how much you think your product is polished, once it gets in the hands of users, you will see what needs fixing. 
I've learned that "release early, release often" will work wonders for your business and morale.
NewGuyOnTheBlock Send private email
Thursday, February 20, 2014

I think "release early, release often" and release with bugs works better in some situations than others.  If you are creating a tool to change photos and there is a bug in which some photos wind up with an unwanted blue tint, OK, the user is annoyed, but wasted 10 min of their life.  But if you have an app that persists data and the user has been accumulating that data for months and then that data goes all funny-like after they've invested months of use, the user is fuming and your app should come with a warning to stay away.  If the software picks your stocks and--whoops, it had a bug, meant the other stock--you can see where this can go.

So I guess there are non-critical bugs and there are critical bugs. And I'd say you shouldn't release with any known critical bugs.
Racky Send private email
Thursday, February 20, 2014
In general, do you plan to go public about the bugs before they get fixed or not? For instance, will you have a user forum, or provide a (read-only) public interface to your issue tracker?

If yes, then have a Known Issues section in your Release Notes and make the latter available on / linked from the Download page.

To my personal taste, being open about problems builds trust. If I come to your site and read that your product exhibits an issue on XP, I'd think either "Okay, I'm on 7, so this won't affect me" or "Does not sound critical, I can probably live with it", or "Well, I better check back later". But if you don't tell me and I'm affected, I may be very upset even if the issue is not critical.

It's about lead quality actually. I'd rather have the people who I _do_ know may be disappointed not download the trial at all than maximize the number of downloads and then deal with complaints and bad reviews.
Dmitry Leskov Send private email
Friday, February 21, 2014
If you wait until you are absolutely sure it has 0 bugs, then you will never release it. Also, fixing a minor bugs just before a release can sometimes cause a much worse bug. As long as it isn't a showstopper, get it out there.

As others have pointed out, not all bugs are equal. A bug that causes data corruption is much worse than a typo in the GUI.

You'll soon find out what bugs are causing people real problems. Chances are it is one that you don't even know about yet.
Andy Brice Send private email
Friday, February 21, 2014
My answer is to mention it somewhere if it will be around for a while, but do not give it permanent place.

It would not be a good idea to include it as part of your manual.  Years later, the user could see it and wonder.

Including some release notes with a known issues section could work as could having such on your Website.

I suggest that you put a date any of this.  If I see a bug report that is undated, I do not know what to think.  If it is dated five years ago, it is probably no longer relevant.


Gene Wirchenko
Gene Wirchenko Send private email
Friday, February 21, 2014
> The app I'm releasing has a minor issue (not a bug) with Windows XP on widescreen displays

I don't know about other BoS'ers, but I've noticed that (1) visits from XP users have declined significantly in the last year, and (2) they convert at a much, much lower rate than visitors running newer versions of Windows. Sounds like a low priority issue to me.
Nicholas Hebb Send private email
Friday, February 21, 2014

Just a follow-up:  are you mostly seeing Win7 or Win8 users now, and are they equivalent in terms of conversions?
Racky Send private email
Friday, February 21, 2014
Here's the breakdown for this past month:

  74% - Win 7
  13% - XP
  10% - Win 8/8.1
  02% - Vista

For contrast, these were the numbers from a year ago:

  64% - Win 7
  29% - XP
  04% - Vista
  03% - Win 8

I find that Windows 7 and 8 users convert at the same rate. One thing to note about XP users, though, is that over half of the ones coming to my site are from countries that rarely convert.
Nicholas Hebb Send private email
Friday, February 21, 2014

Thanks!!  There's a great example of the continued value of this forum!  I'm still myself using XP and I'm surprised to see the notable low-i-tude of XP share, but maybe your app is particularly drawing more up to date users. 

Or, more likely, I'm just very behind the times.  (I had a Win7 install on my work computer, I had WUBI installed Ubuntu, the whole Win7 side died and I haven't bothered for them to re-install it...perhaps it's time to get it back to 7 and shift developing on that to make sure it looks good there).
Racky Send private email
Friday, February 21, 2014
Ops, did not complete last post :)

for one of my sites, where the visitor are non techincal average web users.

March 2013: 2002 visitors using XP
Jan 2014: 1120 visitors using XP

As a comparison of xp vs win7 visitors for same site
March 2013: 8734 visitors using win7
Jan 2014: 6990 visitors using win7

Use the site is on a decline of total visitors.  but you can see the ratio.
xp is not supported by MS anymore, and will be phased out in the next couple of years I think.

as for sales ratio:
without revealing too many stats :)
the XP vs win7 user purchases for Jan 2014:  11.61%
Of total purchases for Jan 2014 xp users made up 7.17% of total sales.
Which still sizable %, but the likelihood of small issues getting in the way of a sales,  even if you lose 50% of xp users, and only convert 50% of the ones that were going to buy, it sstill just a loss of 2-3% in overall sales.
NewGuyOnTheBlock Send private email
Saturday, February 22, 2014

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