Microspeak: Party, in various forms

Raymond Chen

Remember, Microspeak includes words and phrases in general use,as long as they are employed at Microsoft at a higher rate thanin the general population,or in specific situations that may not be obvious to the uninitiated.They are the words and phrases you need to use in order to fit in.

Today’s word is party, in various forms,and usually paired with the preposition on.In general, it means to use, change, or modifywith few or no constraints.These aren’t genteel tea parties;they’re more likewild college parties,the kindthat end with the police being called.

LockBits returns a pointer to the pixel buffer,and the caller can party on the memory insidethe rectangle until it calls UnlockBits.

When used with permission verbs like can andmay,the usage indicates that the component has permissionto read from and write to the memory,subject to the given constraints.

The code partied on our data structures because itused a pointer after freeing it.

It is often used in a negative sense to indicatethat the component wrote to memory that it should not have.Sort of an unauthorized party.(Comparefandango on core.)

The Contoso notifier injects a DLL into Explorer so it canparty on the internal data that keeps track oficons in the notification area and thereby disable theicons of its competitors.

These sorts of unauthorized parties can be malicious and willfulas well as merely accidental.

The exp branch is a party branch.You can commit your changes thereso we can test itbefore pulling it into the release branch.

The word party can be used to describe an environmentin which the normal rules and constraints are reducedor removed entirely.Here, the party branch is presumablya branch of the projectin which the usual procedures for code changes don’t apply,or at least apply less strictly than normal.You can put any experimental changes in theexp branch,and then when a new build comes out the next day,you can run your tests against it to see if they solvethe problem.If so, then you can start filling out the necessary paperworkto pull the changes into the release branch.

Many release branches have an experimental offshoot.¹The idea is that people developing fixes to the productcan commit their changes to the experimental branchto see how they work out.If the changes look good, they are pulled intothe release branch.If the changes doesn’t pass muster,they are rolled back.The developers who use the experimental branch are on theirhonor to keep the branch in good condition.

Note that this sense of party is relative.The experimental branch is a big party compared to thestaid and formal release branch,but it’s still not a crazy free-for-all.You still need to be judicious about what you put into the partybranch so you don’t ruin the party for everybody else.

The Q1 branch is locked down for the beta,but you can party your post-beta fixes into the Q2 branch.

The above example further highlights the relative nature of theterm party.Even though the Q2 branch is open to post-beta fixes,you still have to go through the usual test and reviewprocesses for fixing bugs.It’s just that Q2 will accept any approved bug fix,whereas Q1 will accept only fixes for bugs markedbeta-blocking.

(That’s a little extra Microspeak for you: blocking.In Microspeak,abeta blockeris not a pharmacological agent.Rather, it’s something that prevents the beta from being released.)

¹In Windows, the experimental branch associated with a releasebranch is typically calledcbt.This officially stands forCentral Build Team,but some people who live in my houselike to joke that it stands forCan’t Be Trusted.