Do I need BridgePoint Pro?

The following question was recently posed by a team of BridgePoint users who are depending on the nightly build of the tool.

Does the list of issues provided in the issue tracker apply only to the ‘free’ (nightly build) versions, or would I/teammate have possibly experienced similar sorts of issues if we had the BridgePoint Pro arrangement in place?

[BridgePoint Pro is a version of BridgePoint, which is fully open source, that goes through a manual test and review cycle that takes significant time and resource and costs money to obtain a subscription.]

Here is the reply to the above question:

Great question.

In general, the nightly build is “better” than BridgePoint Pro, because it is more recent, has more fixes, etc.  And BridgePoint is (in theory) getting better and better all the time.

Where BridgePoint Pro is important is when a team starts producing IP that will need to be supported for some time.  There have been several cases where a key bug was discovered after a BridgePoint Pro release, and a team could not risk moving forward to the nightly build (or even a more recent BPPro) due to the volume of updates that had been introduced.  In these cases, small fixes were developed in the latest version and then back-patched onto the “production” BridgePoint Pro via branching at the BPPro tag.

BridgePoint Pro is about stability, predictability and supportability rather than lack of bugs.  The BP team is careful when introducing fixes to the master branch, but the entire manual test suite is not run for the nightly (actually periodic) builds.

“Which version of BridgePoint were you running when you encountered this issue?”
“Uh, the nightly build dated…”
…does not work for a long term engineering environment.

But, to be straight, in your situation BP Pro would not have helped you see fewer issues.

The above may seem to devalue BridgePoint Pro, but I think it simply clarifies the situation in which it brings value.