reflections on beta2 release issues, and reorganization

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reflections on beta2 release issues, and reorganization

Postby radiance » Wed Apr 07, 2010 6:13 pm

radiance Wed Apr 07, 2010 6:13 pm
Hi all,

As most people have noticed our beta2 release has met with quite a few problems,
mainly due to the switch to cuda 3.0 which has brought a lot of driver specific issues,
and the new platform that was introduced, eg the Mac OS X port.

Before we make releases, we test them with our alpha testing group.
The issue is that people are not always available and this group is small, so not all features can get extensive testing on a wide variety of hardware before our release.

That is why we have decided to make some changes to the way we work, and we would like to do 2 things:

* reorganize the forum
* provide release candidates to our customers instead of the relatively small alpha testing team

I will talk in detail about both issues:

Forum Reorganization

As you may have noticed, a lot of people are posting issues in various forums, and we often can't see the forrest through the trees anymore. Often customer related bugs (like license issues) end up in general discussion, and other machine specific posts aren't posted in the right forums.
Currently it's quite difficult for us to manage this. Every morning there are 50 posts waiting for us, scattered throughout the forums.

We would like to reorganize things a little, to make it easier and more straight forward to use our forum.

Since we are a company that sells a software product to it's customers, we would like to focus on providing the best possible support to that group, and make the public sections of the forum smaller and only related to discussion regarding the demo version, competitions and artwork.

We are currently building a new forum organization and you will see some changes made and announced soon.

Release Candidates

As said before, it's not always easy to make sure our releases are propperly tested with the small alpha testing team, and it would not help to keep adding/removing people to it as people come and go.

Therefore, we'd like to do our pre-release tests directly with our customers.

This basically means that we will prepare our release candidates after our in-house quality control, and then post them on the customer product news and releases forum, ready for testing.

This has the advantage of getting new releases into customer's hands quicker, while enjoying the feedback of the large group of customers, and having the ability to respond to issues raised, fix the problems, and then release the next release candidate, etc... until there are no more problems and that version becomes the actual release, with the amount of post-release issues severely reduced.


That's it, i hope these ideas will make our work easier in the future, and our releases more solid.

Yours,
Radiance
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Re: reflections on beta2 release issues, and reorganization

Postby andrian » Wed Apr 07, 2010 7:37 pm

andrian Wed Apr 07, 2010 7:37 pm
Both ideas are very good and I'm sure they can help building solid releases and tight community forum.
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Re: reflections on beta2 release issues, and reorganization

Postby face » Wed Apr 07, 2010 7:48 pm

face Wed Apr 07, 2010 7:48 pm
Yes, i think the same.
More rc´s, more feedback, quicker latency to react. And that in a single forumthread...
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Re: reflections on beta2 release issues, and reorganization

Postby pedrofelipe » Wed Apr 07, 2010 8:12 pm

pedrofelipe Wed Apr 07, 2010 8:12 pm
I'm 100% with you radiance.The forum currently is way to confuse, like in the beta2 thread you got renders, doubts , bugs comments you name it... where you only should have the change log and the download link.

releasing the rc before will be also very pleasant and also the only way of making sure that everything is in its right place.

Very good guys!
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Re: reflections on beta2 release issues, and reorganization

Postby simmsimaging » Thu Apr 08, 2010 12:23 am

simmsimaging Thu Apr 08, 2010 12:23 am
I think it's a good idea as well. You will find the bugs faster and easier. I have really only seen this approach with Andrew and 3DCoat, but the pace of his development has been exceptional, and perhaps this is partly why.

If I may make a suggestion: you probably find yourself answering the same questions over and over again, as well as answering posts placed in the wrong forum. You might want to consider an approach where you simply do not answer those questions, or answer only with a "search pls" or "wrong forum" and let the users sort it out for themselves.

I think you are probably just too nice ;) Other users can always step up to help if they want, and I think we'd all agree your time is better spent elsewhere :)

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Re: reflections on beta2 release issues, and reorganization

Postby understand » Thu Apr 08, 2010 6:56 am

understand Thu Apr 08, 2010 6:56 am
sounds good. A bit concerned that you are reorganizing the forum because its too time consuming to deal with the scattered feedback, but releasing alphas to customers will probably increase the amount of posts you have to sift through. Anyway good luck! KILL THE FIREFLIES!!!
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Re: reflections on beta2 release issues, and reorganization

Postby Br1 » Thu Apr 08, 2010 8:25 am

Br1 Thu Apr 08, 2010 8:25 am
Excellent decisions. Alpha team won't find every bug related to each customer's hardware and workflow. Letting the customers participate into this will most probably accelerate things.
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Re: reflections on beta2 release issues, and reorganization

Postby Chris » Fri Apr 09, 2010 9:58 am

Chris Fri Apr 09, 2010 9:58 am
Yes i like this idea. You will be abble to get much more bug feedback, and you will have more bug hunters ;) When it comes to threads posted in the wrong place, simply move them to the right place. You will probaly need more moderators to do that. Locking release threads is allways smart also so they wont be filled up with questions and stuff.

Just my 2 cents.

Cheers

Chris
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Re: reflections on beta2 release issues, and reorganization

Postby meleseDESIGN » Mon Apr 12, 2010 1:14 pm

meleseDESIGN Mon Apr 12, 2010 1:14 pm
I'm with you guys.
Even if I don't think there will be any issue with my high end rig, but you never know.
I have a few more mainstream PC's here, with 8000 and 9000 serie gfx cards.
Could use them for testing purpose only.

Regards
Melese

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