CMSMS 2.2 Enters beta!
Announcing the start of beta testing for CMS Made Simple version 2.2
After more than a year of development and many hundreds of volunteer hours, the CMSMS Dev Team is proud to announce the beginning of a public beta process to assist with getting CMSMS 2.2 production-ready.
Your favorite Content Management System has undergone lots of work over the past months, with many of new features, and improvements to existing functionality. There is something in 2.2 for everybody. We have added new visible features, including a new file picker and "switch-user" functionality. We have made numerous usability improvements to the core modules, and to the admin theme, to make working with CMSMS just that much smoother and more efficient. We have implemented new API's to make creating powerful applications with CMS Made Simple even simpler, and we've upgraded and optimized a lot of code to make sure that your favorite application structure and content management tool continues to perform securely and quickly. There is a great deal of functionality in this release that we are certain you will enjoy.
Therefore, we need your help to ensure that we have minimized the bugs and increased stability before we release version 2.2 for general use.
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About beta testing
Beta testing is just that: testing. Using the application and looking for problems, documenting them, reporting them, and re-testing after they are reported fixed. It can take some of your weekend time, or numerous evenings, to actively participate in the beta testing program. It can be a very time-consuming process, and it is not always fun.
However, that does not mean that beta testing cannot be rewarding. It is a great way of learning how new features will work before you start building a new application or website, it allows you to experiment with techniques and processes and functionality you have never explored before, and it is an excellent way of giving back to the community, and building awareness of your personal brand.
Some people are tempted to use beta software for production purposes; we discourage this and do not support it. Beta software is subject to change more rapidly than the production versions, and there is no certainty of an upgrade path or compatibility with the final production version. So please, please, don't.
Beta testing is also not the time to request new features (for that beta). Although you can request features as normal through the CMSMS project on the Forge, we will not be considering new features for the 2.2 version. That doesn't mean we won't make minor tweaks for usability or to improve behavior, but mostly we are concerned about ensuring that this version of CMSMS works as intended in as many environments as possible.
What needs testing
Everything... Because we have made minor or major adjustments to just about everything, we need complete testing of CMSMS 2.2 beta in as many environments, with as many people, as possible. Some of the major things to test are:
Third party modules
Because we have a brand new database abstraction library, we need to test as much of the functionality of third party modules as possible. Although the database abstraction library has been tested now by the Dev Team for well over a year, we anticipate that there still may be a few edge cases of compatibility to address.
Upgrading, including from version 1.12.x
We still support (with the same caveats) upgrading directly from CMSMS 1.12.x to 2.2. Though not a complete install, it should work exactly the same as it did for the 2.0 or 2.1 releases. As well, because of the new assets structure, some files will be moved around during the upgrade process. We need to ensure that all customizations still work as they did before.
We encourage you to try upgrading a copy of some of your more complex websites, or those using more third party modules, or those using some advanced features. This will help us to ensure that when the production version is released, that upgrading is as smooth as possible.
Working with template and .css files
The new 'assets' structure that was implemented allows manipulating templates and stylesheets in the filesystem as well as in the database. It also provides a location for custom language strings, custom plugins, and custom module templates. We are looking forward to hearing your feedback on this functionality.
We have continued to make efforts to improve performance, particularly on the front end. To this end, we need your help in load testing. Both when using slow servers, and on regular servers with high traffic.
Working with the file picker
As history has shown us, working with files in different environments is often problematic, with respect to performance and permissions, particularly with hosts using obscure configurations. We need as much assistance testing the file picker in different environments, and with different purposes, as possible.
Watching the admin log
Numerous improvements have been made to the admin log to help with monitoring and troubleshooting your applications or sites. As well, it uses the new asynchronous processing functionality. So while you are testing, please periodically check the admin log to ensure things are working well.
Duration of the beta period
We anticipate that the beta process will undergo a few different releases, over the course of a few months. We have no official end-date for the beta process, but once bug reports start slowing, and participation in the beta starts to fade we will begin making preparations for the final release.
Where to get it
This is a public beta. Anybody can download the latest beta from our downloads page. New versions will be created periodically, and announcements will be placed on the forum.
Where to get more details
The changelog file that is available both in the doc directory and from within the installation assistant contains extensive details about what has changed to-date in this version of CMSMS. We encourage you to read that in detail.
Where and how to provide feedback
The CMSMS Dev team has created a new forum on forum.cmsmadesimple.org for discussing issues specifically related to the 2.2 beta: https://forum.cmsmadesimple.org/viewforum.php?f=89. Here you can report your problems. You can also review what others have tested, and try to reproduce them, to provide additional information.
Additionally, the #cms IRC channel on freenode http://webchat.freenode.net/?channels=#cms is available to allow talking about your issues in real time. You may also use your favorite IRC client. Many members of the Dev Team are continually on this channel and may be able to answer questions or assist you with isolating a problem in real time.
As a reminder: when resolving issues the developers need as much information as possible. This includes the expected behavior, actual behavior, steps to reproduce the issue, messages generated in the system, logs and/or displayed to you, and information about your environment. Often an issue is only environment-specific, and although you may be experiencing problems, others may have no issues with the exact same test. We absolutely NEED as much information as possible in order to resolve issues in a timely manner.
Let's have fun
Although testing can be a time-consuming, and not-so-easy task, we need your help to make CMSMS as stable, secure, and fast as possible, So let's have some fun with it!
This is a great opportunity to learn about some of the advanced features of your favourite content management system, to improve your skills, to build your personal brand, and to make some new friends. We look forward to talking with you.
The CMSMS Dev Team