Today marks another milestone in the upcoming Hadron release of DotNetNuke. For the first time ever, DotNetNuke is offering a Community Technology Preview that will allow you to begin testing the latest version long before we have completed all the features. As I discussed last week, the CTP is not intended to be production ready software but is an opportunity for the community to get a chance to start kicking the tires. The CTP is an important milestone as it will allow us to gather feedback from the community much earlier in the release cycle and thereby allow us more time to incorporate that feedback into the final release.
With each CTP release, we’ll ask you to focus your testing efforts around one or more discrete features. There are a lot of moving parts in the platform and we know that some of them are in various states of completion. While we fully expect you to be excited about some features that are present, or some that are not, you shouldn’t get too worked up. We have a long way to go until the final release. There are many great features still being actively worked on for inclusion in the next CTP.
What is In CTP 1?
This first CTP is firmly focused around our conversion to C#. As many people have noted, this is a significant change to the platform and affects all areas of the product. This is one of the driving factors in why we felt it was important to get this release into your hands as soon as possible. We have already done quite a bit of testing on this feature internally and have fixed a number of issues in this area. We also recognize that there are probably still some more bugs to be found that resulted from the conversion.
We feel pretty confident in the conversion effort, and as Chris Hammond recently pointed out, it is actually a pretty solid at this point. Basic functionality works as you would expect. One of the great benefits of working in Open Source is that we have had the benefit of being able to leverage the work of Ben Zhong. Ben has worked tirelessly over the last year or so to keep a C# version of DotNetNuke in sync with our official VB versions. This means that the community has already had more than a year to kick the tires on the C# conversion. Of course, this is the first time that the C# version will be the primary platform language, and there are also additional portions of the framework which hadn’t been previously converted. So more review is definitely merited.
“What If I Find a Problem?”
That is a great question. What should you do if you find something you think is not working right? Well, in that case, send us your feedback in the form of a post in the Beta Testing Forums. Even if everything is going great, we would still love to hear from you. Maybe there is a long-standing bug that still exists in 6.0 and you think it is really critical to get fixed in this release – post a comment (even better, update the issue in Gemini to say that it still affects 6.0 CTP).
In fact we are so interested in hearing about your experience with 6.0 that we have updated the default skin for the testing period to provide a link right there at the top of the page.
The image for the forums is being served from DotNetNuke.com so that over the course of the testing period we can update the image and link to highlight any important information. So if you see a different image, don’t worry, there is probably just something new that we want you to look at.
“What Else Can I do to Help?”
Boy, these are some great questions. I’m so glad you asked. With so many of you testing the new release, we are bound to find a few issues. When you add that with all the other issues that we are still working on, that adds up to a lot of work. We could really use your help in fixing some of these problems. You can always submit code changes in Gemini. Just attach your change to the issue in question and make sure to mark the issue as “Includes Code Fix”. This will make it much easier for our developers to validate the issue, and make the appropriate changes. We will do our best to review every community submitted fix, and incorporate most of them into the release. Of course, we may have a different solution to the problem or may choose to not include a patch because of upcoming changes which may make the patch obsolete. In any case, you patch is important in helping us to focus on the specific issue and significantly reduces the time it takes to get an issue resolved.
I should have another blog available next week which provides further information on submitting patches.
Update – 3/17/2011: We have published a list of known issues that we are working on for CTP 2.
Update – 3/18/2011: You can download the latest release from the Beta Download page.