Dead vs. Done
It grew out of a consistent problem that we saw across multiple consulting engagements. We got tired of solving it multiple times, so we wrote it as a framework, released it open source, and then implemented it on client projects (with client understanding). Clients got free code. We got to use it in the wild, with real load and challenges. We got to re-use it. The community got to use it too.
It has been downloaded 20k+ times, which is pretty big considering it was around before NuGet was. (Although, we were one of the first 25 packages on the feed too.)
In the last 12 – 18 months, I’ve started seeing “Is Web Forms MVP dead?” being asked. This blog post both answers that question directly in the context of Web Forms MVP, but also discusses the idea of dead vs. done.
Here’s a specific question I was asked:
I am a little bit worried about the fact there is not code commit since sept 2011. Will you continue the project or will it fall in the forgotten ones?
And here was the answer I wrote:
I have a mixed answer for you here.
On the one hand, we cut seven CTP builds, then a v1.0, then a 1.1, 1.2, 1.3 and 1.4. That means we developed the library, tested hundreds of millions of production web requests through it, reached a feature point we wanted to call 1.0, then iterated on top of it. In the 15 months since cutting 1.0, there are only six issues on the Codeplex site: one is a question, one a misunderstanding, one a demo request, and one a feature request that I don’t really agree with anyway.
At this point, Web Forms MVP 1 is “done”, not “dead”. I’m just slack about closing off issues.
Now, that opens up some new questions:
If you find a bug with 1.4 that you can’t workaround, are you left out in the cold? No. First up, you have all the code and build scripts (yay for open source!) so there’s nothing we can do to prevent you from making a fix even if we wanted to (which we never would). Secondly, if you send a pull request via Codeplex we’ll be happy to accept your contribution and push it to the official package.
Will there be a Web Forms MVP 2? At this time, from my personal perspective, I’ll say ‘highly unlikely’. As a consultant, I haven’t been on a Web Forms engagement in over 2 years. That’s not to say there isn’t still a place for Web Forms and Web Forms MVP, but that I’m just not personally working in that area so I’m not well placed to innovate on the library. Damian has lots of great ideas of things to do, and since starting Web Forms MVP has actually become the Program Manager for ASP.NET Web Forms at Microsoft. That being said, his open source efforts of late are heavily focussed on SignalR.
Should there be a Web Forms MVP 2? Maybe. It’d be nice to bring it in line with ASP.NET 4.5, but I’m hard placed to know what is needed in this area considering I’m not on a Web Forms engagement. Without a clear need, I get rather confused by people calling for a new version of something just so they can feel comfortable that the version number incremented.
I hope that gives you some clarity and confidence around what is there today, what will stay, and where we’re going (or not going).
Some projects definitely die. They start out as a great idea, and never make it to a release. I find it a little sad that that’s the only categorisation that seems to be available though.
I hope I’m not just blindly defending my project, but I do genuinely believe that we hit ‘done’.
From here, Web Forms MVP might disappear into the background (it kind of has). The community might kick off a v2. A specific consumer might make their own fork with a bug fix they need. Those are all next steps, now that we’ve done a complete lifecycle.
In the meantime, people are asking if the project is dead, yet not raising any bugs or asking for any features. This just leaves me confused.