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Old June 8th, 2005, 08:56 AM   #1
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Future software change - call for beta testers (again)

vBulletin has announced that in a matter of days, it will be releasing a new beta version of it's software, numbered 3.5.0 (the current version is 3.0.7). This new version includes many architectural changes which mean several good things in the long term for vBulletin customers (as in websites like PoA), but in the short term mean a few headaches.

The Good
- In addition to many enhanced features for searching and thread management (like threads which only get marked read when you read them), they will be implementing a "stub and hook" system which will allow extending the functionality of vBulletin more easily and allow you to continue to receive support on pages that previously would have been modified directly, violating the support agreement. Currently, when we hack a page to make a change, we give up the opportunity to ask the vBulletin dev's for help if something goes wrong with that page.

The Headache
- Because this is a pretty fundamental architectural change, existing modifications will not automatically work with the new model. While we can run in a "legacy mode" which would enable those hacks, I do not intend to use old-style hacks when the new version comes out, preferring to use the stub-and-hook system moving forward. This means that after the release of 3.5.0, some modifications we've applied here may cease to work, if the people who developed them do not choose to rework them for 3.5.0.

Our Plan of Action
- The major enhancements we've added - the Home Page, Link Database, the Gallery (not yet in service but almost ready), are all promised to be brought forward to 3.5.0 as soon as possible by the company which produces them.
- There is no such guarantee for the minor enhancements - the Member Hangars and smaller modifications.
- Add-on modifications like the spell checker and FlashChat will be easily integrated into the new model.

Therefore,
- Obviously, we won't upgrade to 3.5.0 until the FINAL version of 3.5.0 is released by vBulletin.
- We will also not upgrade Pilots of America to vBulletin 3.5.0 until the vBAdvanced features (Home Page, Link Database, Gallery) have all been converted by their creators.
- We will also not upgrade PoA until we've also tested spell checker and FlashChat against the new model.
- Minor modifications for the most part will not be carried forward until a need for them is demonstrated. For example - the current "New Posts" system is a workaround for the horrible "Recent Activity" system. The NEW system in vBulletin 3.5.0 changes how threads are marked read, so the existing hack we applied for the current version isn't really relevant in the future version.

Call for Beta Testers
- Once the beta version of 3.5.0 is released, I'll be setting up a new test site. This test site will undergo many changes. We will need a handful of dedicated people to help test the new site. At first the test site will be just a vanilla install of 3.5.0 with no enhanced features. This will be the first learning version, meaning I'll be using it for learning what's changed and how to apply customizations.
- Over time, as the major packages are upgraded to compatibility with 3.5.0, we'll continue adding those to the beta package. When the final version of 3.5.0 is released we'll again upgrade the test site to use it.
- Every time we add or update the test site, testers will be asked to fully test the site (or, in minor enhancements, just test those features). This means clicking every link, testing every function, trying deliberately to break the software. AND, most importantly, REPORT on those findings in our main site's beta test forum.

IF that kind of anal retentive, analytical, try to break it type of behavior appeals to you, please send me a PM letting me know that you would like to be a beta tester, and just why you think you'ld be good for the beta test team. (Last time I called for beta testers, it was a very basic test system - this one is more rigorous so I need to be sure that our testers are committed to testing the same things again, and again, and again, thus the slightly stricter qualifying requirements.)

You don't have to be technical to be a beta tester. In fact, having a mix of testers from super techie to computer neophyte is a GOOD thing for us. But you DO have to be able to track and report on what you were trying to do, the steps you took to do it, and what went wrong. Verbose, copious reporting on your activity will help identify problems that need to be fixed.

Good Beta Test Problem Report Sample:
- Testing the Calendar, I clicked on the Menu item, Calendar, and then changed the month to February of 2007. When I attempted to add an event by clicking on the date link for Feb 15th, the following error occurred: "<Insert exact copied text from error message here.>"
The above states what you were doing, the context, the menus and links clicked, and the exact data used, and provides the exact result.

Bad Beta Test Problem Report Sample:
- I was testing the calendar and I changed the month and got an error.
^ Bad: Doesn't state exact context or data used, skips several steps, doesn't provide error details.

*IF* you feel you can provide that kind of detailed info about what you were doing, and are willing to commit to testing the same stuff over, and over, and over, please send me a Private Message requesting membership in the Beta Test Club.

Thanks very much. Any questions about this testing or new version may be asked in this thread (and you might even get an answer, if I have them myself... )

Chuck H.
Technical Guru and Massive Consumer of Advil
PoA Management Team
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Old June 8th, 2005, 03:52 PM   #2
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Re: Future software change - call for beta testers (again)

And folks always complain about lawyers using legalease! Like I told my wife before my wedding. Just Tell me what to where and when to show up!
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Old June 13th, 2005, 07:58 AM   #3
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Re: Future software change - call for beta testers (again)

Chuck;
I'm ready to test. Close, but not quite Supertechie. I make my living in MAINFRAME computing. I'm very familiar with legacy and dinosaurs....
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Old June 13th, 2005, 08:27 AM   #4
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Re: Future software change - call for beta testers (again)

Of course, ability to follow directions is an important part of being a beta tester...

Quote:
*IF* you feel you can provide that kind of detailed info about what you were doing, and are willing to commit to testing the same stuff over, and over, and over, please send me a Private Message requesting membership in the Beta Test Club.
(I've been waiting since I posted this last week for someone to give me an opportunity to do that. Whee! )
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Old June 13th, 2005, 09:16 AM   #5
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Re: Future software change - call for beta testers (again)

Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamZ
And folks always complain about lawyers using legalease! Like I told my wife before my wedding. Just Tell me what to where and when to show up!

and I bet your wife was very thankful for that!!
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Old June 14th, 2005, 01:22 AM   #6
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Re: Future software change - call for beta testers (again)

Quote:
Originally Posted by silver-eagle
Chuck;
I'm ready to test. Close, but not quite Supertechie. I make my living in MAINFRAME computing. I'm very familiar with legacy and dinosaurs....
There was a time in a former life where I knew VM and MVS like the back of my hand, where 360 assembly language made sense, and I could acutally write a stack of JCL that could get the job done. I even liked RAC-F.
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Old June 16th, 2005, 05:16 PM   #7
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Re: Future software change - call for beta testers (again)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greebo
Of course, ability to follow directions is an important part of being a beta tester...



(I've been waiting since I posted this last week for someone to give me an opportunity to do that. Whee! )
Chuck;
I said I wasn't quite a supertechie... but even I dont read the installation instructions until AFTER I hose it up!
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Old June 16th, 2005, 05:17 PM   #8
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Re: Future software change - call for beta testers (again)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Jennings
There was a time in a former life where I knew VM and MVS like the back of my hand, where 360 assembly language made sense, and I could acutally write a stack of JCL that could get the job done. I even liked RAC-F.
And they called it RACF why?

Because all the good four letter words were already taken!
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Old June 16th, 2005, 06:57 PM   #9
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Talking Re: Future software change - call for beta testers (again)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Jennings
I even liked RAC-F.
I thought it was Wreck-F
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Old June 17th, 2005, 02:01 AM   #10
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Re: Future software change - call for beta testers (again)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Jennings
There was a time in a former life where I knew VM and MVS like the back of my hand, where 360 assembly language made sense, and I could acutally write a stack of JCL that could get the job done. I even liked RAC-F.
JCL. I hated JCL. Thank goodness anything I needed to do with it was repetative and all I had to do was re-use the same punch cards.

Now, VMS. There was an operating system that made sense. Beat the heck out of NOS on a Cyber 176. Are we dating ourselves yet?
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Old June 17th, 2005, 09:16 AM   #11
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Re: Future software change - call for beta testers (again)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghery
JCL. I hated JCL. Thank goodness anything I needed to do with it was repetative and all I had to do was re-use the same punch cards.

Now, VMS. There was an operating system that made sense. Beat the heck out of NOS on a Cyber 176. Are we dating ourselves yet?

VMS is old??!! I use VMS at work.
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Old June 17th, 2005, 09:53 AM   #12
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Re: Future software change - call for beta testers (again)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Williams
VMS is old??!! I use VMS at work.
Well, I used it when I was almost young, that should tell you something about it's age.
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Old June 17th, 2005, 10:28 AM   #13
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Re: Future software change - call for beta testers (again)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghery
Now, VMS. There was an operating system that made sense. Beat the heck out of NOS on a Cyber 176. Are we dating ourselves yet?
I remember when we got a couple of young unix geeks on a VMS project...they were continually whining about how to do things in VMS... I used to answer their question with "just like that.." When they said "huh?" I had to explain that the VMS command was probably very close to the english question they just asked. That started a challenge of "anything VMS can do, unix can do easier". The only thing they could finally come up with was VMS didn't have a "tail" equivalent command... no problem, tho, because a few lines of DCL and EVE/TPU and we had a "tail" job ...
I want a VAXbar ... http://toyvax.glendale.ca.us/~vance/vaxbar.html
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Old June 17th, 2005, 06:46 PM   #14
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Re: Future software change - call for beta testers (again)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Williams
VMS is old??!! I use VMS at work.
35 years or more.

Overall, one of the younger OSs.
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