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Quality is (still) a feature... Oh yeah, and so is speed

By Byrne Reese
Posted July 2, 2008, in News.

Three years ago, at the same point in the life cycle of Movable Type 3, we took stock in what we had built, and turned our focus to product quality. That tradition continues today with Movable Type 4.2.

Movable Type 4.2 is not a release of Movable Type narrowly focused on bringing more bells and whistles to the platform, but instead on making dramatic improvements to the fabric of the product in order to pave the way for more exciting things to come. And we are not just talking about performance, although that is a core focus of the release. We, learning from projects like Apple's Snow Leopard, want this release to be about setting new standards of quality for the product.

To that end, Movable Type 4.2 has been an opportunity for us and the community to make changes to our development and testing process so that going forward we can ensure an ongoing level of quality our customers and users expect and deserve. Here are just a couple of the things members of the team have been working on in effort to improve code quality:

  • Mark Paschal, the creator of Action Streams, has been working on building the most extensive unit test framework Movable Type has ever had. Not only will this help us to bring future versions of Movable Type to market faster, but it will also help us to elevate the quality of every release of Movable Type going forward by automatically running every release through a battery of automated tests.
  • Fumiaki Yoshimatsu, our lead engineer in Japan, has been conducting a line-by-line code audit looking for a variety of issues that even our manual QA tests may not be able to test adequately.

However, there is more to quality in our eyes than a lack of bugs in the core product, it is also about ensuring a clean, painless, anxiety-free upgrade path for our users. That means giving plugin developers time to report forward compatibility issues they find in their plugins, and then fixing the compatibility issue as opposed to asking them to retool their plugin or theme. Why is this important? Because users should not suffer the anxiety of breaking their site, or be forced into hours of work to update their site just to take advantage of a new version of software.

Finally, this release is not only about improving the quality of our core open source platform, but also of our commercial products as well. Therefore we are happy to announce today the availability of, for the first time, a public and open beta of our Movable Type Community Solution (MTCS). MTCS is a premium product offering released last year that powers sites like Boing Boing, Talking Points Memo, Serious Eats, the Kenneth Cole blog and many others which many of our users and community members have been curious about. So today is a not just an opportunity for our customers to help us test the Community Solution, it is also an opportunity for all of our users to kick its tires, give it a spin and see if MTCS is a product they might want to recommend to the company they work for, or to their clients.

To everyone who has been participating in the beta so far, to all of those who have already submitted feedback or bug reports, and to all of the community developers who have contributed bug fixes, we say "thank you." One hundred times: "thank you!" And to everyone: we invite you to download Release Candidate 3 and to continue helping us make this one of the best releases in MT's history.

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14 Comments

http://emailtoid.net/i/803da982/0ba609a5/

http://emailtoid.net/i/803da982/0ba609a5/ on July 2, 2008, 11:13 a.m. Reply

Will a free MTCS Open Source version continue to be available in the future? Will MTCS follow MT4 releases and have an Open Source and commercial version?

Byrne Reese

Byrne Reese on July 2, 2008, 11:41 a.m. Reply

To be perfectly clear, MTCS is not open source, but we are making a beta of MTCS freely available on movabletype.org for the purposes of testing. As with all betas, when the beta period expires all downloads to those beta builds will be removed.

lezardbreton.myopenid.com

lezardbreton.myopenid.com on July 2, 2008, 12:06 p.m. Reply

If I understood correctly, after the beta period, we won’t have any access to MTCS stable builds?

http://emailtoid.net/i/803da982/0ba609a5/

http://emailtoid.net/i/803da982/0ba609a5/ on July 2, 2008, 12:24 p.m. Reply

@Byrne Reese

Thank you for the clarification.

Byrne Reese

Byrne Reese on July 2, 2008, 1:02 p.m. Reply

Stable builds of MTCS will remain available for purchase.

lezardbreton.myopenid.com

lezardbreton.myopenid.com on July 2, 2008, 1:33 p.m. Reply

This looks very sweet : I’ve installed it on my Mandriva system and it is definitely much better than MTOS. Anyway, I will just try it, as there is no way I will use it in the future :(

kimonostereo

kimonostereo on July 2, 2008, 1:42 p.m. Reply

Is there a change log for RC3?

Carlo

Carlo on July 2, 2008, 4:01 p.m. Reply

Long ago an MTCS personal license was mentioned. I still haven’t seen anything about it. Will it be available anytime soon? I’ve been waiting for that for the longest time since I can’t really afford the prices offered to enterprises and such.

hudson

hudson on July 2, 2008, 7:19 p.m. Reply

Any chance the Custom Fields lost data upgrade bug has been fixed? I’ve been hoping for it in every release candidate— and it’s been a pain in the butt upgrading and then reverting back to the betas each time in the hope it’s fixed.

budgibson.myopenid.com

budgibson.myopenid.com on July 3, 2008, 5:18 a.m. Reply

This is going to sound super anal, but here goes anyhow. What about a test suite for plug-in developers. In Test Driven Development, the requirements are expressed by the test suite. You could express your plugin api the same way. That way, it acts as a contract between you and the developers. New versions of the API have to pass the old test suite plus the new requirements as expressed in the new tests.

If you got this to work, then you could have plugin developers develop to a test suite before product release with less fear of breakage.

budgibson.myopenid.com

budgibson.myopenid.com on July 3, 2008, 5:31 a.m. Reply

I like the idea of MTCS as an actual product you can buy. As you move through all the ways to squeeze marginal profit out of the concept, consider the gazillion non-profits that are out there and that all want to create communities. My cut would be to sell something like MTCS through hosting providers.

It could also become a typepad product, but typepad’s limitations would reduce your market reach.

My other recommendation would be to come up with clear pricing schedules where I could just buy what I needed without having to go through some sort of negotiation with (or in my case, complete ignoring by) your custom pricing sales team.

penny-stock

penny-stock on October 30, 2009, 1:23 p.m. Reply

Movable type is my Favorite. Keep us the Good Work.

Kevin

Kevin on July 5, 2012, 8:35 p.m. Reply

One hundred times: “thank you!” Well we are saying thank you to you, because of your good work, giving us more opportunities.

Peter Smolenvil

Peter Smolenvil on August 5, 2012, 10:42 p.m. Reply

“turned our focus to product quality” - It seems you have done great piece of work :)

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Byrne Reese

Byrne Reese was previously the Product Manager of Movable Type at Six Apart, where he had also held positions as the Manager of Platform Technology and Product Manager for TypePad. Byrne is a huge supporter of the Movable Type user and developer community. He dedicates much of his time to promoting and educating people about Movable Type as well as building the tools and plugins for Movable Type that are showcased on Majordojo. He contributes regularly to open source; and he is an advocate for open protocols and standards like Atom and OpenID.

Website: http://profile.typekey.com/byrnereese