|Denise (denise) wrote in dw_news,|
@ 2009-02-16 02:50 am UTC
|Entry tags:||news, volunteering, weekly announcements|
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HEY GUYS GUESS WHAT
WE'RE IN BETA TESTING
I WILL REMOVE MY CAPS LOCK ANY SECOND NOW
....*ahem* Okay, there. Caps lock off. Commencing update in five, four, three ...
CLOSED BETA LAUNCH
We pushed over our staging database to www.dreamwidth.org late afternoon EST on Saturday, as anyone who's been following our Twitter or who's visited the site since then can probably tell. Since then, we've had the excitement of:
* finding bugs in the journal importing system
* finding bugs in the watch/trust split system
* finding random other bugs spontaneously manifesting (it worked in staging, I swear)
* overloading the Apache instances on the webserver
* discovering at least one thing that should work, but for some reason doesn't
So, in other news, it's pretty much your average internal beta test.
We did a secondary code push Saturday night to catch a lot of the minor stuff, and the dev team is working on the more far-reaching stuff as we speak. Mark's been watching the server monitoring all day, since the webserver overloaded this afternoon, and everything's looking a lot better now that we've added in another webserver to divide the traffic and provide a hot-swap backup in case it dies again. (Part of what we're doing in this phase is determining how many webserver machines we need, how much RAM we need in them, and what the ideal settings for their configuration are. Clearly, we, uh, didn't get it right the first time around.)
Fun fact: our hardware setup for closed-beta now involves nine machines, and since launch, we've pushed an average of 53k/s outbound. I was looking at the Cactus graphs, and I said to Mark -- thinking that the importer might've gotten stuck or something -- "Hey, that's a big spike inbound. I wonder what caused it." He admitted it was him downloading a whole crapload of system updates for the second webserver he built this afternoon. That'd do it.
(I like looking at the graphs. They're pretty.)
Super special "omg you guys rock" thanks go to everyone who got us this far, and especially everyone who's been rushing around fixing things that immediately became apparent when we launched.
CLOSED BETA PLAN
Our QA team has begun the hard work of systematically testing all the new codepaths we've added or changed. Over the next few weeks, they'll test all of the changes we've added and report defects back to our programmers, who will fix the problems (we hope!) and report back to the testers for them to test the fix.
Meanwhile, we'll be working (at the same time) on finishing up our last blocking-open-beta enhancements and additions, making things easier to use and easier to understand, as well as expanding the functionality of things we've already added. For instance, we have the backend for the import function done, and most of the job workers, but it doesn't have a frontend yet, and Mark hasn't finished rewriting the bits involving entries and comments to use the updated backend. We also have a number of tiny little things to add to make things work logically and seamlessly. For instance, things like enhancing the <lj user> tag so that it will accept a "site" parameter (<lj user="username" site="livejournal.com">), and then updating the importer to rewrite any <lj user> tags so that they continue to point to the right place even after they've been imported -- tiny things that make our new features just Do The Right Thing automatically.
You can view our blocking-open-beta list here.
This number will fluctuate rapidly over the next few weeks! Please don't think that a high number means bad things. We'll be opening a new bug for every defect that QA identifies, every patch we write even if it isn't to fix something QA identified, every site configuration change, etc, etc. This is to make sure that we are able to properly track things. The number of open-beta-blocking bugs also varies based on whether our code reviewers have had time to review patches that've been uploaded. For instance, right now we've got 15 bugs with patches requiring some amount of review. Some of them will be a quick and easy commit and then the bug can get resolved; some of them will require a lot of one-on-work between the reviewer and the programmer; some of them are iterative-development patches, so once they're committed, the programmer takes the next step on the item. One way or another, though, we'll knock 'em all down before we launch.
A number of people have asked where they can send reports of flaws or problems they've noticed with the site so far. The most common things people want to report are display problems with the site scheme (such as problems when the font size is increased considerably over the default size, problems with sidescrolling in low resolutions, and problems with elements appearing in incorrect places) and problems with the text on the site, particularly text that says "LiveJournal" instead of "Dreamwidth".
The good news is, we already know about all of it, and nearly everything has someone responsible for, and already working on, fixing it! Please hang on before you report anything to us over the next few weeks. We are still in very limited internal beta, and we have a very dedicated QA team working through methodical testing of everything, including in multiple browsers, operating systems, and resolutions. Additionally, our site copy team will be rewriting the entire site's text, including any stray instances of "LiveJournal". All of this will get cleaned up by open-beta launch, don't worry.
Before we launch to open beta, we'll be adding more people to the closed beta test to have fresh eyes on the problems, to make sure that we really have fixed everything. And, of course, development will continue well past the open-beta launch date, so anything we miss will get caught then.
All of this is why we're taking the time to launch slowly and in a controlled fashion -- to make sure that as many of these flaws and defects are fixed by open-beta launch as possible.
If you're interested in helping to rewrite the site copy (the text that appears on the site), rho is looking for people to participate on the site copy team. Instructions can be found on the Wiki: Site Copy Team:
If you have any questions about the process, or need further clarification, feel free to contact rho (rho at rho (.) me (.) uk).
We've updated our launch timeline to reflect the most currently-accurate information.
Right now, we're hoping to launch to open beta in mid-April. This is still an approximation; we'll know more as we start knocking down more of the open-beta blocking items and finishing up the last frontend changes we have to make, as well as configuring the production hardware and making sure we can support a decent level of use.
We'll update you all as we get closer to the actual open-beta launch date.
No, not the thing that'll let you rename your Dreamwidth account (although we will be implementing that as well). We're renaming one of our account levels, based on user feedback. Some people let us know that they were uncomfortable with the name 'Angel Account', which is what we'd intended to call the permanent accounts sold on open-beta launch, after the concept of angel investors -- the people who provide the first round of funding for a startup company. We've taken that feedback into account and renamed the account level 'Seed Accounts' -- same metaphor ("seed capital"), less discomfort.
Projects still looking for people to give a hand:
dw-accessibility: The mailing list to plan Dreamwidth's accessibility features for people with particular needs such as screenreader-friendliness, keyboard-navigation friendliness, etc. The project leader for this project is rickybuchanan.
dw-docs: The mailing list for Dreamwidth's documentation (dw_docs). The documentation (FAQ) team is already hard at work, but this mailing list is also for people who are interested in working with the site copy team and people who are interested in doing proofreading. The project leader for this project is rho.
Call for mood themes: If you, or anybody you know, has a mood theme that's all your own artwork and you're interested in licensing the mood theme to Dreamwidth for site inclusion, contact me.
Finally, there's still the process of mining the LiveJournal suggestions community for useful and valid suggestions that may contribute to the Dreamwidth project. The From LJ Suggestions Wiki page has details.
If you have something that you think would fit into Dreamwidth, you can leave it on one of the Wishlist pages for now.
Once we launch into open beta, we'll have an official "submit a suggestion" process, where you can bring your suggestions to the community and to us for consideration. In the meantime, though, we're tracking them on the Wiki so we don't lose anybody's ideas.
TALK TO US!
As always, the dw-discuss mailing list is your place to go for questions, comments, ideas, and discussion.
For once-daily (more or less) updates on what-we-did-today, check out our Dreamwidth Twitter account.
For more real-time discussion, commentary, and the ability to consign things to hell -- or at least, to our irc bot "hEll" -- come join us
irc.dwscoalition.org, port 6667, channel #dw
Questions? Comments? Concerns? Sticks to prop us up after we've fallen over from this weekend's massive explosion of effort? Donations of Red Bull to keep Mark on a massive coding bender? Email me at denise at dwscoalition (dot) org, or comment here. We'll see you next Monday with the next update from the front lines of the War on Bugs. (Okay, maybe we'll take a little nap first. It's been a long weekend.)