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Almost there with new Feedback Release and other end of year reflections

After about two months of testing and re-submitting of the feedback module to the release tracker for approval, I can finally say that I think I see the light at the end of the tunnel. With the very rigorous testing which both Sebastian and Matthias have put the new feedback module through, I am hoping that this is going to be a much better module than it's predecessor. 
A big thank you goes to both of them for guiding me along the way and ensuring that I was able to "fix" a lot of the legacy issues that I had inherited from the 3x version of the module.
Some of the things which I've learnt as part of the release process which might be helpful to others down the road include

  • Make sure to clean up gemini issues as pertains to your module - A big shout out goes to Alex for being the Gemini Watch dog on this and ensuring that all t's are crossed and i's are dotted....
  • Make sure you update your release notes to match the Gemini Issues.
  • Double check and triple check your SQL scripts - Since Sebastian personally looks through this and he's a SQL Server expert, remember that he'll find stuff that you'd think are ok due to prior "passes" on your module but are no longer acceptable. I have personally found this to be a great step in the right direction to the extent that it has got me in the mode of doing the same for my oracle provider which I think is a very positive thing.
  • Don't be surprised/dissapointed if you get multiple "failed module" emails from release tracker. With regards to the feedback module, I think I can safely say that it must have been resubmitted at least 8-10 times since October when i first started the submission process. Initially I thought that this would be a reflection of my poor coding skills on the module itself but this has not been the case. Most of the times the module was failed because of "legacy" issues which were finally being cleaned up in the new 4.4.2 version. I am expecting that with future releases this amount of re-submitting tapers off since we have got most if not all of the legacy issues out of the way.
  • Work towards getting your module to be XHTML compliant. This is not yet a requirement from the core but I had already started doing this with some of my other DNN projects and it was relatively easy to make the neccessary changes to the feedback module too. Most of this is very simple stuff like closing out your <BR> tags and using lower cases instead of upper cases with HTML elements. A big thank you goes to Timo Breumelhof with helping me out with the testing of this aspect.

    I am sure there are other things I can mention with regards to the testing process but these are a couple that come to mind immediately.

    This has also been a very interesting year for me and as we start winding down the days for the year, I wanted to pause and reflect on some of the positive things in my life that have occured this year. My little baby boy was born on March 19th which was one of the most happiest moments in my life. With each passing day I learn new things about babies which I had no idea about which is always exciting. One of the most positive things I've learnt this year is to be more patient - and I attribute this completely to being a dad. I can go on and on about this aspect alone but will leave it at just that :).

    Professionally, this has been a good year too. I have been very fortunate to be on a huge DNN project for the health care industry which went live on September 1st, 2007 and has thus far had 3 point releases which added a ton of features to the application. Being part of this project has helped me understand the dynamics invovled in managing a huge enterprise level web application project which had over 50 people as part of the team and had different components to it which were outside my team's control. From managing source control to deploying builds, it has been a very good learning experience and I can definetely say that I am ready for the next HUGE DNN project without any hesistation at all.

    As I reflect on the year, I also would like to pause and think of things that have happened and how I could have done things differently and one of the areas that comes to mind is my invovlement with the feedback module as well as DotNetNuke in general. I will start off by saying that I know I could have done a better job with the feedback module. Part of my problems were work related - being overwhelmed with daunting deadlines to be met. The other part was underestimating what effort would be required to be able to be an effective "Project Lead" for the feedback module. When I was first asked to join as a Project lead, I had completely misunderstood this to be a simple effort with some time spent on the updates for the module as well as responding to questions/issues on the website.  However, when you factor in the time and effort put into doing just these mentioned items together with being a full time dad and having another two full time jobs (my real job and also managing the oracle data providers for DotNetNuke), it becomes imperative that one fully understands what "time management" really means. I am hoping that with some of the changes I've made in my personal life I can better manage my responsibilities here as well as in other aspects of my life, but only time as well as input from others will tell. I'm always open to suggestions and constructive criticism and hopefully I can make 2008 to be a much better year for myself as well as for the feedback module in general....



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