Last night I finally went ahead and released Tarrasch V3. This after a week of each day considering going ahead, then changing my mind. Yesterday I decided it was not a matter of life and death, I can and almost certainly will release further versions, nobody wants to see an endless series of Beta versions without a real release, so time to go ahead.
Ideally a major release should follow a period of intense testing on a stable release candidate. That’s not what happened here. My release candidate (see previous blog post) included lots of changes itself. Then yesterday I found (and fixed) the most alarming Tarrasch bug I’ve seen in quite a while. It turns out that the “Append to Database” feature was flawed, throughout the Beta program. The bug shows up right away if you try to append a big .pgn to a small database. In the much more typical case of appending a small .pgn to a big database usually there will be no problem, but occasionally you will silently exceed a hidden threshold and the result will be bogus player names, sites and events in the newly appended games. My best guess is that the great majority of Beta users will not have triggered this problem, and I did have a clear “use with caution” warning (at least until the release candidate a few days ago – unwisely I dispensed with the warning for that one). But still. I need to carefully analyse the whole thing and add some information to my website about it. Basically I am pretty sure my recommendation will be not to use any database you’ve maintained with the append feature during the Beta program. I am sorry.
Thinking about the bug, worrying about the bug, is heightening a rather alarming feeling of anxiety I have about the release. Is this an inevitable part of exposing yourself to the world in this way? Here’s my work, go ahead and use it. But it’s computer software so it may, probably does have bugs. Potentially embarrassing and serious ones. That are going to make me look bad, really bad.
I suppose the rational thing to do would be to continue and intensify testing. On an absolutely stable target this time, Tarrasch V3.00a, as released to the world. But believe it or not I can’t stand to even look at it. It just makes me feel nervous. I think I am going to have a day or two off instead.