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.