2009.4 and the missing feature

Reflecting on the challenges of preparing to ship ePublisher 2009.4, focusing on stability over new features.

by Ben Allums
January 8, 2010

Life here in the Engine Room continues on as always; a combination of brimming potential and vexing challenges. I love creating new things. I love to solve problems. Sometimes I get to do both at once. But not this time.

You see, we're preparing to ship ePublisher 2009.4. And 2009.4 isn't about features. It's about making the best ePublisher 2009 release possible.

Why am I writing about this? Because I promised folks we'd include just one new feature in 2009.4. It's a great feature. Something that increases ePublisher's flexibility and power. The problem is that it is just too complex to ship in a maintenance release. The feature I'm talking about is the capability to define per target style settings.

“We'll just shim it in there,” I told Jesse. “No sweat.”

That was back in November. Back before. Before we spent hours and days wrestling with PDF defects. Before we spent weeks chasing workarounds for Frame crashes which we could only bypass, not fix (we don't have access to that code base).

And so I have to let it go this round. I have to let people know, “No, not this time.” There really is no other choice. The time has been spent. It was spent on exactly what we needed to do; stability. It's just that I like creating new things. I don't want to let go....

Then again, once 2009.4 ships, all that maintenance work is done. And if 2009.4 is done, then we can focus on 2010.1. And we can put new stuff in 2010.1.... I think this is going to work out alright after all.

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