The New Release Schedule System

As promised in the comments section, I bring you some wonderful news. To benefit both end-users and our development team, we are switching to a new Release Scheduling System. Allow me to demonstrate it with a few helpful pictures first.

Up until recently our releases were a combination of scheduled fresh features with all the bug fixes picked up along the way. This system looks nice on paper, but in reality it often led to unexpected delays.

Imagine that we have set out to introduce a New Cool Tool for network Admins. In the past our development team would start working on it, all the while fixing up all the reported issues. But then, instead of releasing quick patches in demand, we had to wait until said New Cool Tool is absolutely ready and can be bundled together with the fixes. Sometimes it would take weeks or even months to be sure the New Cool Tool is actually cool enough for prime-time. Needless to say, the extended waiting period can be grueling, thus we decided to change the situation dramatically.

As mentioned in one of the prior posts, the switch to Mercurial DVCS gives us more flexibility. Namely we now have two development branches in place – Dev and Stable. Dev is reserved for big features, like the aforementioned New Cool Tool, while Stable will cover all the bug fixes and minor improvements.

Let me explain how the new system will work. The end-users will no longer have to wait for the new release in the dark. They will know for sure that the new release will be here every month, bringing along all the Stable fixes that are ready by the deadline. In the meantime the Oxwall team will be busy with two weeks of active development work, and a week of testing and compiling documentation. If, during this time, the New Cool Tool will appear to be ready in Dev, it will also end up in the release, along with the fixes.

Here at Oxwall we believe the new system will further improve the software development dynamics, and reinforce our commitment to producing the best professional user-oriented social network builder out there.

SVN to Mercurial Transition

Time for some quick development news, guys!

While the release of the 1.2 version of our software (featuring useful stuff like user privacy and the retooled user input panel) nears ever closer, Oxwall team is happy to inform you that we are switching from SVN to Mercurial DVCS (Distributed Version Control System). We see this as a natural evolution step in maturing our software, so there is really no downside to this information.

The new system will give everyone more flexibility. For starters, we’ll be able to keep up two development branches (dev and stable) more effectively. On the other hand, the change will allow developers to merge their plug-ins with our updates more effortlessly, due to the simpler process of getting snapshots of nightly builds. Basically, you will not have to wait for the old version of the software to break down on all upgraded websites. Instead, you’ll be able to update your plug-ins almost simultaneously with each new release.

We are bringing you this news early to let plug-in developers know that with the new system their lives are about to become much more easier. Also, if you are still using some other instrumentation, may we suggest switching to a distributed revision control like Mercurial or Git. We chose the former for its simplicity and we hope you do the same.