While developing new features and specifically before each new release we do extensive testing. We test all new and all important old features, the compatibility with old documents as well as the installation and performance on all computers available to us. After each work day, automatic tests are performed which we extend progressively to check more and more of the code base against regressions in an automated fashion.
With all this in place, we still had to follow up each new major release with a point-update, sometimes even several. This isn’t even a problem only for us as a small, resource-constrained startup, but for the largest and best in the software industry. It seems almost a law of nature that there will always be some last, hard to reproduce bugs left which only show themselves with broader use. For this reason many vendors push updates in waves to their users, not only to prevent overloading their servers, but also so they can stop the update and fix it, if it’s raining complaints.
As much as we would love to provide perfect, error-free software from the start, we must face reality and seek a solution. It would be sad if users ignore new DramaQueen versions which end with .0 entirely, and wait for a .2 or .3 update. At the same time, there are users who would like to work with the new features as soon as possible, and are willing to take the risk that there may be some last bugs hiding in the software.
And so we have decided that there will be a short, open BETA phase before each new major release. This means that all users will be offered a new BETA in the start panel when it’s available. This notice is easily suppressed for the future with a checkmark (or re-enabled from the Help main menu). To prevent anyone from switching to a BETA by accident, they are never offered via the regular automatic software updates. Instead, interested users can go to a dedicated BETA download page from the link in the start panel and download the BETA from there. This BETA download page has room for information on the specific BETA and its new features. Of course it is easily possible to switch back to the previous release. Once the BETA version is installed, the regular software update mechanism works again to update to newer BETAs and the final new release.
The necessary changes in the software update process are contained in DramaQueen 1.7.4, it is therefore recommended to install this update. Otherwise a future BETA will be offered as a regular update (although it will be marked with “BETA” after the version number).
We hope that this will make the .0 releases of DramaQueen live up to high expectations on reliability, and that we will find a “critical mass” of beta testers on this voluntary basis for each new release!