Yesterday I released five months’ of fixes as Coverage.py 4.3, and today I am releasing Coverage.py 4.3.1. This is not because releasing is fun, but because releasing is error-prone.
Two bad problems were very quickly reported by my legions of adoring fans, and they are now fixed. I’ll sheepishly tell you that one of them was a UnicodeError in a bit of too-cute code in setup.py.
Perhaps I should have released a 4.3 beta. But my experience in the past is that betas do not get the kind of attention that final releases do. Partly this is just due to people’s attention budget: lots of people won’t install a beta. But it’s also due to continuous integration servers. When a final release is out, hundreds if not thousands of CI servers will install it automatically as part of the next triggered build. They won’t install pre-releases.
So there’s a not-great choice to make: should I put out a beta, and hope that people try it and tell me what went wrong? Will enough people in enough disparate environments take that step to truly test the release?
Or should I skip that step, jump straight to a final release, and prepare instead to quickly fix whatever problems occur? I chose the latter course for 4.3. I guess I could use meta-feedback about which form of feedback I should pursue in the future...