Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Beta Moving Along

We've been testing the standard edition for about a week now. It's been pretty harried. There are sixteen testers and it can be difficult to keep up with them. They have generated a lot of bugs for me to fix! But I don't mind that because fixing bugs is usually pretty simple and often fun. Sort of like doing detective work. You never know where it'll end up. And I can usually fix a bunch of them pretty quickly, which gives a great feeling of satisfaction.

We just did our first test of the new automatic program update, with mixed success. Lots of bugs got fixed, but the update itself was pretty rocky. I have a list of things I want to do better the next time, but of course they won't have the fixes in hand until they finish the update! So we'll have to muddle through at least one more time.

Even with all that going on--loads of emails, and fixing bugs--I've been spending most of my time struggling with trying to finish part of the program that's been giving me trouble for some time. I've gone back and forth on the design, wasting many hours of work, trying to get it right. Today I wrestled the monster to the ground and I think it has finally succumbed! I have some cleanup to do tomorrow and then I'll be free to move on to other things.

I want to get the data backup and restore features finished so we can start testing them, followed by the new sync feature, which will transfer data between SkyTools installations to bring them in sync. This kind of database work can be tedious and I'm not really looking forward to it. But when I get those two things done it will be clear sailing after that. I'll be able to finish up some of the more interesting new features and testing them should be more fun too.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Now Taking Volunteers for the Standard Edition Beta Test

It was a pretty exciting day as we officially started taking volunteers for the standard edition beta test. I will choose the primary team members by Tuesday and put the CD-Rs in the mail on Wednesday. Soon after the fun will begin!

The beta test web page is here:

We've already had quite a few volunteers and I expect many more over the weekend. So far the majority were SkyTools 2 beta test team members and I'm excited to work with them again. It'll be like getting the old gang back together. I don't get to work with other people on SkyTools much; working with the beta test team is something I very much enjoy. That and it will all soon be coming together, which is enormously satisfying. SkyTools 3 has been four years in development (too long by any standard). I've been through a lot during that time and faced quite a bit of adversity, from corrupted data files to lying very near death in the ICU after a botched operation. It will be truly wonderful to finally see this baby out the door.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Standard Edition Beta Test set for 15th

I had a nasty go-round with the Quasar database, but I'll spare you the details. Now that the databases are all but finished I've been working on getting the standard edition of the program together to be put on a CDROM. I have also been working on making sure SkyTools can find all of its files in their new destinations (scattered all over the computer thanks to Mr. Gates) and have been preparing the program for proper use with Vista.

All in all, things are going well! I bet the boss (Mrs. Skyhound) $100 that I could have the beta test process moving along by the 15th. I will be posting a call for testers on or before that date. After all, a hundred dollars is a hundred dollars!