We have recently received a few e-mails and messages in the forum about the quality of the latest updates. I will try to explain what has happened, what we are already doing to ensure the quality of ChurchTools and how we want to improve it.
ChurchTools exists for 12 years now. At that time, software development was quite different and ChurchTools also went through some of these developments. But some things are still on a level that no longer correspond to the current standard.
We are continuously developing ChurchTools. This applies to things that are seen from the outside, such as appearance, operation and new features, but it also applies to the technical foundation of ChurchTools. In this way, we want to bring ChurchTools up to date with the latest technology in order to be able to further develop ChurchTools more easily and quickly.
In version 3.27.0 we have carried out the largest conversion of the base and integrated a new PHP framework (Slim) in ChurchTools. In addition to many other things that this framework offers us as developers, a new Api is also being created, which will make it easier to access ChurchTools via an interface in the future.
This change has led to some of the problems in the last versions because these changes have been quite extensive. Of course, even such changes should not lead to a decrease in the quality of the releases and we want to work on that and enhance the quality.
WHAT WE ARE CURRENTLY DOING TO ENSURE THE QUALITY OF CHURCHTOOLS:
We develop iteratively in two/three week cycles. This means that we meet every two or three weeks to discuss what will be implemented in the next iteration. At the end of an iteration we internally publish a new alpha version, which needs to be tested. The version will be released internally as alpha on Wednesday and then tested. The testers include all ChurchTools employees. If this test is successful, we will continue with the beta test. The beta version will be tested by two large churches until Monday. If Monday no problems with the version are known, it will be released.
WHAT WE ARE GOING TO CHANGE TO IMPROVE THE QUALITY:
We have primarily noticed three points which we will improve.
The test phase from Wednesday to Monday is too short. We are now extending the test phase by one week. This means that we will have two Sundays in the test phase, during which the version will be used by the beta testers.
The current beta testers are good, but not yet sufficient. Many ChurchTools installations have different configurations and are used differently. In order to be able to display this variety in beta testing, we have now increased the number of beta testers and also paid attention to using different installations.
If someone would like to be a beta tester with his congregation, he can write to us at email@example.com. As a beta tester you can report the problems of the version directly via our internal chat and they will be handled quickly.
Automated tests: In the future, we will also rely on automated tests that regularly run through the functionalities of ChurchTools and automatically notify us in the event of errors. The integration of the new PHP framework Slim makes it easier for us to write tests in our PHP code. However, automated tests do not help us directly for the next versions but are a long-term investment that will have an impact over the long run.