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[ide-dev] Getting feedback on IDE

Hi all,

Something we can easily notice on many bug reports is that we (contributors) have different point of view which lead us to pointless discussion without conclusion and consequent actions.
This happens because we don't know much of our users, and we don't have any way to have direct user feedback. It now looks critical to get more feedback on Eclipse IDE from its end-users, as we've become unable to decide of what's the best move for them.

The goal of this message is to help us to get quick feedback on some precise questions. What's important in order to get feedback on current issues is that contributors must be able to submit new questions which get integrated immediately (or we'll have to wait for 2 years before taking an action) into a bucket of questions. Then the users should be able to access this bucket of questions, and tell anonymously us what they prefer. This bucket of questions and their votes answers would be publicly available, and would be the ultimate resources for contributors to help them in some choices.
In term of infrastructure, I guess it's just a matter of providing an URL where to get questions/push answers. No need for authentication nor anything fancy. Should be almost trivial for our webmasters ;)

Now the difficult part is How to get users answering questions from this bucket? Here are some suggestions, that are worth discussion:
* A poll on the welcome page
* A pop-up at Eclipse startup linking to the bucket of questions "Tell us what you prefer..."
* Put the poll
* Integrated "Give quick feedback" entry, with a wizard dialog showing randomly questions one after the other.
* ...
I'd rather see it kept inside Eclipse, as a dialog. That way, we could also store the answer to questions in the preferences, or workspace, or even of filesystem in a ".eclipse" file to avoid presenting always the same questions to users.
And now, when to present it so a users would answer questions? Here again, there are several alternatives, but as an IDE user, I generally have time to spend on this when I'm installing software with p2 for example. This happens often, and during this time, I'd be happy to have something to do. I think it's the right time to show the survey to user.

So what do you think about this proposal? Does it make sense?
Concretely, who's in? Should we start a dedicated project proposal or do you know a place that could host some development for this?
Mickael Istria
Eclipse developer at JBoss, by Red Hat
My blog - My Tweets

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