Earlier this week, during Microsoft's Build 2016 conference in San Francisco, I had the opportunity to attend a session presented by Gabe Aul and Bill Karagounis that allowed us a peek behind the curtain into the Windows Insider Program (WIP).
Now most all Windows Insiders know Gabe Aul as the public face of WIP but of course, there are a very large number of people in non-public roles that make the entire process of flighting builds to Insiders possible. It turns out Gabe has a cohort of sorts in Bill Karagounis, Partner Director of Program Management, and the actually person who pushes the button to send builds out to us Insiders.
During this 40 minute presentation they provided insight into the build flighting process from the compiling of a new build, which happens daily by the way for nearly 300 SKUs of Windows 10, and how those builds move through the company from canary testers to Insiders.
Insiders also have pretty good access to early builds this day, in fact, Insiders in the Fast Ring see new builds before they are pushed broadly within Microsoft itself.
During the session they also introduced us to many of the backend tools they use for collecting data about the builds and one in particular called Mission Control which gives them a snapshot of the status of all active builds, how they are performing based on feedback and telemetry. Through this data they can quickly identify any issues with builds and begin immediate work on a remedy.
As I mentioned the other day, our access as end users to seeing the development process has become a norm these days. As WIP members we have seen the warts of the way things happen, how functionality can break between builds and also how those issues can be addressed very quickly.
The one aspect I think some people can lose sight of is that real human beings, people who care about their jobs and what they are building, work on this process and go beyond the call of their normal duties to make sure these things work.
During the presentation Gabe showed us images of just some of those folks who work on flighting Windows 10 builds to everyone - which is just scratching the surface of the army of engineers, program managers and others who are making it happen.
This session is now available on Channel 9 so that you can view it on demand and see all of the same slides that we saw during the live event. I have embedded it below.
Whether you are an Insider or not this is well worth viewing just to understand the complexities of building Windows and getting it to users.