The Bittersweet Taste Of Bleeding Edge Software

The following guest post was written by Brad Williams of WebDevStudios.com

I’ve been developing with WordPress for a few years now and the projects I’ve been working on have started to expand into bleeding edge software. Bleeding edge software is defined as “technology that is so new (and thus, presumably, not perfected) that the user is required to risk reductions in stability and productivity in order to use itref. WordPress MU, BuddyPress, and bbPress are my three current tasks intertwined to work flawlessly together. Of course that doesn’t happen now does it? Is this the price we pay for pushing the bounds of WordPress development?

The Bitter: I’m creating a new BuddyPress focused website which requires an alpha install of bbPress on top of WordPress MU 2.7 beta. Installing beta software and alpha software on top of beta software makes my head spin just thinking about it. As you can imagine there are many bugs that still exist in all three packages, so why use them? The draw of utilizing bleeding edge functionality is too great to bypass for me.

The Sweet: Being at the “bleeding edge” of WordPress functionality is actually an interesting place to be. Many bugs I stumble across are active tickets in development Trac, which allows me to fix the issue for myself and also for the community. Helping out in the development of BuddyPress (or any open source project) is really thrilling, especially when you see the buzz surrounding it and how your code changes are helping.

Bleeding edge software development isn’t for everybody, but if you want to help these amazing open source projects grow it’s great to help out in anyway you can. If nobody used the software packages these projects would die, and thus the need for bleeding edge software developers exists and I’m happy to fill that role. Code on!

6 Comments


  1. Yes – now toss in beta jQuery, CSS3, and a touch of conditionals via XSI and then you’re talking “leading, bleeding razor’s edge” software.

    It’s all good if you really want to (and can) devote that time to a project (or have a client willing to play/pay along) just in time to find out that they missed a launch deadline. But what happens if there’s a truly serious security flaw or something that wipes database info for example? For me, I’ve always got some sandbox playground to learn what’s going on with new tech etc – but I’m always cautious to test the “leading bleeding” on paying client work.

    Let’s see more post of what you’ve learned – both in software and lessons :)

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  2. also – I like the overall dark design here on WPTavern – might want to add some padding in the comments though.

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  3. I tend to use bleeding-edge software on sandbox sites – just to play around with it. But if you can keep up with the pace of development for patching bugs then why not?!

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  4. @Kel yeah I’m always upfront with a client who wants to use bleeding edge software and realistic with them. There is definitely a high risk in using such software but sometimes the benefits out way the risk. I just make sure to triple check my backup plans on these sites so in case of a meltdown I’m ready!

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  5. Alpha and beta on top of beta … sounds like my worst nightmare :P Good luck!

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  6. @Ryan you can remove one of those betas now since WPMU 2.7 final was just released. Still an interesting experience

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