Current category:General

Product Improvement

Here at SPAMfighter Towers (okay, we’re not really based in a tower), one of our jobs is to make products better.

That’s not necessarily to say they weren’t wonderful in the first place 🙂 , but tastes change, features get added (and taken away), and bugs get discovered and fixed.

Our approach has always been to try to deliver the best security, utility and anti-spam software on the planet. We think we do pretty well (though tell us in the comments if you disagree).

We’d like to tell you about a recent inexplicable bug we discovered in one of our security products, so you can see how serious we are about quality.

The bug caused the slow opening of MS Word documents, and, should you repeatedly open and close the same document over and over, it could cause a system crash. Okay, it is unlikely you’d actually do that – repeatedly – but, well, one of our dedicated team did just that to help see what would work and what would not.

Once we discovered the bug, the whole team, product marketing, product management, our senior team (board members), the development team and our lovely support team got to work.

Like most software companies, we “eat our own dog food”, an expression that means we all use our own software, so we can see things better from a customer perspective. So, once we had an idea there was a bug, the whole team go about proving it.

It is incredibly important in the software business that we test for repeatability. If a bug is repeatable it is not only easier to find, but it is actual confirmation that we have a bug.

Our QA and development team then promptly go into over-time, working whatever hours are required to get a fix. This is important, because bugs are likely to impact you, our customers, no matter how arcane the way they manifest themselves.

After a lot of hard work, a Release Candidate for the fix is sent out internally, and we all then test to see if we’ve got it nailed. If not, we repeat the whole process until we have, learning new things through each iteration of testing and reporting back.

This one turned out to be one of our hardest to find yet, and was actually one bug report manifested as four bugs, that were very difficult to spot, and only around the clock testing and development work gets these kinds of bugs fixed, but that’s what we do, to make sure that our customers get the best solution possible.

Running SPAMfighter is big operation, we have millions of users in many, many countries, and all expect first-class service at all times, no matter the time of day. We all work and pull together as a team to make sure that happens.

Do we always get it right? As the bug hunt above demonstrates, no. But we do always pull together to make sure we do it right as quickly as possible.

Our QA and testing regime makes sure that you, our customers, rarely see bugs “in the wild”, and we are committed to the highest standards of customer service because each and every one of you is important to us.

If you have questions, put them in the comments, and we’d love to answer them.

We’ll tell you more about what we do in a future post.

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About Justin Bellinger

Justin is an experienced software professional, having worked in software and software security for nearly 20 years. Justin is VP of Security Products at SPAMfighter.
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