Saturday, October 10, 2009

A Developer Preview

I realize as I write this that I am going to get some comments mocking the fact that X-Plane 940 is on RC, um...13. I don't decide the milestones for X-Plane, nor do I decide the version numbers. If you want to discuss why X-Plane is 940 (and not 930 or 950) and why it goes beta and RC when it does, email Austin. What follows is all about the scenery tools, not X-Plane.

With that out of the way: I have released a WorldEditor 1.1 developer preview. So I wanted to explain in a little bit more detail what the difference is between a developer preview and a beta. Here is an approximation of the standard definitions of "milestones" - they are what I use for WED.
  1. Development: not all features are coded, no guarantees about bugs.
  2. Alpha: all features are coded, no bug is so severe that you can't at least try a feature. (For example, if WED crashed on startup, it would not be alpha, because you could not test saving files.)
  3. Beta: all requirements of alpha, also no bugs that cause program crash or data loss.
  4. Release: no open bugs.
This all applies to known bugs. Beta software may crash and cause data loss - it's just that we wouldn't have put it out as beta knowing that this happened.

WED 1.1 is still in phase (1) - development, and the build I posted is a developer preview - a cut of whatever code I had laying around. So: I can't promise it isn't going to trash your data or crash! Be even more cautious with the developer preview than you would with a normal beta. You don't want to run a five hour session without saving your work, and you want to be backing up your work often - the "save" command might trash your entire project.

Why do a developer preview if it's still so buggy? Some users who know how to compile WED from its source code are already using WED 1.1 and they seem to be enjoying it. So far it appears not to be lethally broken. Given that and the fact that most of the uncoded WED 1.1 features are usability and edge-cases, it seemed like the developer preview could be useful for getting earlier feedback.

One last note: the manual is not updated at all, nor is there any documentation on the new features. Let me be clear: no tech support or help is provided what-so-ever. Do not email me, or X-Plane tech support with "how do I use WED 1.1" questions. If you cannot figure out how to use WED 1.1 on your own, don't use the developer preview.

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