I knew it privately but I have realized today that it is public (from a Microsoft source):
“There are no plans to release a Beta 3 for Visual Studio 2010. The official release date will be March 22nd. If you (or your company) are part of the TAP or VSIP program, a release candidate will be available in the near future. Dates are still tentative.”
Given the really horrible / bad / unusable / state of the automation / commandbars model for add-ins in public VS 2010 Beta 2, it is a pity that there isn’t a public Beta 3 available to everybody so that:
– All developers of add-ins (not just those invited to TAP of paying the fee of VSIP) can test that the reported bugs about VS 2010 Beta 2 extensibility are fixed without praying or crossing fingers waiting for the RTM.
– Better yet, consumers of their add-ins can test the add-ins for them also in real life. It is interesting that Microsoft itself is going to suffer the same problem of a lack of a public Beta 3 or RC to verify that their internal fixes / tests actually solve the performance problems of VS 2010 Beta 2 in real scenarios …
Since the bar for bugs to pass the triage and get fixed becomes higher and higher as Visual Studio reaches Release Candidate status. I don’t even think that a public Release Candidate would be of any benefit for developers of add-ins, since bugs discovered and reported at that point wouldn’t be fixed unless they are critical (that is, prevent launching the product or affect a large number of users).
In general, given the “application monster” that Visual Studio is becoming (with more and more features each release) and the huge internal changes that Microsoft is doing to migrate it from a native app to a managed app, what is required IMHO is longer cycles, maybe 3 years instead of 2 (as it happens with Windows / Office / SQL Server, etc.), where the beta 2 is “fully feature completed” and then you devote several months to a beta 3 to fix all the bugs, and then you release a product that you know that will work great rather than just being confident without actual external verification. Otherwise you end with things like Windows Vista or, to less extent, like Visual Studio 2005 (with its embarrassing performance problems in real scenarios), products that were fixed in the next releases (Windows 7, Visual Studio 2008).