Thursday, March 29th, 2007 10:01am EDT
By Luke, for DynSCS
Published on Dynamic Systems and Content Solutions.
Well, so far so good with Sphinx 1.0 I believe. A few minor things here and there, but nothing that seems to be a problem with the package yet. Just remember, it’s a good idea to make sure all your files upload properly.
Looking forward, we’re still running tests on Sphinx 1.1. We’ve found a few minor things over the past day or two, but nothing that is major. Mostly things are in the area of new variables to play with, new css classes in the default templates, and some fields that were moved or changed in the database.
Once our 1.1 release is available for public consumption, we encourage everyone to move on it. At that time we will only support security fixes with our 1.0 release, as it is meant to be a transitional release between the old Enigma project and our new Sphinx project. For 1.1 we will still provide an upgrade path from Enigma 1 and 2, beyond that we’re still discussing. Most likely we’ll have one for that as well, but it’s many months off.
Some concerns have come through my email in the past few days, and I’d like to put those to rest. Mainly the concerns have been over what 1.1 will bring, and if it will be supported past the initial release. Yes, it will be. While we don’t anticipate any real earth shattering feature inclusions, mainly because we don’t want to write something twice because of the 2.0 road map, we will still be supporting bug, maintenance, and security fixes. So as an example, if SMF releases 1.1.3 and makes a change that effects the Sphinx portal, we will have a fix and update for it accordingly. If their path through the 1.0 branch is any indication, there shouldn’t be any problems running their update packages through the package manager. As always, please allow us the chance to try any new update packages first so that we can ensure your production environments will not be affected.
All in all, 1.1 is on track for release as we have anticipated. We’re still waiting testing, so that we can make releases as stable as possible. We’re also awaiting bug reports from our 1.0 release, as some of those may also be relevant to 1.1 as well. Granted some code and various functions have been changed, but just in case.
Right now 1.1 is in a beta release stage, which will be the final stage of testing before a public available release.
Some minor concern has been brought to my attention in terms of our new offerings of Premium Member status, which includes additional support options and early access to code releases. Mainly the rumbles have been in terms of support being limited to the community and code not being available as soon as it could be.
While that may be one way to look at it, here are our intentions with this.
For early code releases:
While the terms of alpha and beta are being used for our early code releases, these are in name only. These would be packages/releases that would have remained internal, or offered to a very select few people anyway. No different than previous alpha releases, as we’ve also had a select invite only group for those as well.
With that in mind, we are actually opening up the testing availability to essentially anyone that wants to participate. This approach is being taken so that even more people can access the test releases than before. Previously these would have been by invite only, and limited to 10 or less people. By opening it up, this allows for people who really would like to test cutting edge versions but may have not been selected for early testing. A win win situation for all.
For additional support options:
The support you’ve come to expect still remains. Being not only supported by other knowledgeable members of the community, but by the developers as well. That will not change. Ever.
In addition to the standard support we will be offering additional support options for Premium Members, but that absolutely does not mean that regular community members are now “second class”, or will be ignored through the forums. This additional option will simply be above and beyond the already first class support that you’ve come to expect from Chris and I. Perhaps a better comparison or explanation would be that the additional support would be on a more personal level in terms of interaction with us, while sometimes a simple forum post can come across as non-personal thanks to the electronic communication platform known as the internet.
Support for regular members will not sway, rest assured.
So now, what exactly is up with the Premium Membership anyway? Here is how we approached this issue.
We looked at the project donations, and what community members who were in a position to be able to help a great, free project with some of the bills were getting out of it. Well, besides that satisfactory feeling of supporting a worthy cause. Maybe a little link love, but not much in addition to that. So, after looking at several other projects and their handling of charitable contributions from members, we decided that throwing a few bones back to those who were able to donate would be the right thing to do. Not because we felt we have to, but because we feel that we should in some way show our appreciation.
So, we decided to open up what would normally be internal code packages, and offer a little more privatized support as well. Where they can get a little one on one interaction time with the developers, in addition to the usual interaction within the forums. Let’s face it, sometimes when needing help we’re all a little nervous of posting our problems in the eye of the public. Usually these would be sent with a PM, but now they have an additional route as well.
We’re still working with this new concept, and we are taking into consideration several levels of interaction. Perhaps a level which only includes early code releases, or the option to simply upgrade support.
As always, donations are much appreciated and we’re thankful for the support we’ve received thus far. Your donations help us keep the server bills in check, allow for integrations with other “paid” applications, and keeps us from needing to mow lawns on the weekend when we could be writing more code.
So, in closing, we would like to thank everyone for their support and input thus far, and we look forward to building on the successes we’ve built to date.