In-Process 16th August 2017

As we move ever closer to NVDA 2017.3, this week’s In-Process, as always, is packed full of practical information and tips.

To start, some organisational news. Last week, Jamie Teh announced that the time has come for him to move on from the NV Access team. Jamie has been a key part of the NV Access family for the last decade. We will miss his valuable contributions and whimsical banter. Fear not, as this in no way signals a decline for NVDA or NV Access. Jamie is moving from one dream job with NV Access to another, working with Mozilla. He will continue as a director of NV Access, and will still be using NVDA himself. Jamie’s work at Mozilla will likely also entail contributions to NVDA. For more information from Jamie himself, read Jamie’s announcement in full.

NV Access will be advertising a new position shortly. If you are in Australia, and working with us is YOUR dream career, start preparing your CV now!

Mick had a very productive week in Redmond, working with Microsoft and other AT vendors. Over time, this will result in improvements to NVDA, as well as improvements to products from Microsoft.

Earlier this year, during NVDACon 2017, Reef ran a very interesting session on triage. The results of that session have been tremendous. Enthusiastic community contributors have taken on the task of looking at new issues. These volunteers are doing great initial triage; seeking more information where needed. The backlog of old GitHub issues still awaiting triage is rapidly shrinking. If you report an issue, triage may not happen immediately but will happen sooner than ever before. If you are interested in learning how you too can help with this, the NVDACon session on non-code contributions is still available.

Speaking of NVDACon, planning is already starting for NVDACon 2018. Expressions of interest are being sought for several positions on the committee. Further information is available on the NVDACon email group. See for information on NVDACon itself.

I know many of you are reading through this looking for information on NVDA 2017.3. I’m very excited to announce that… there is more information on 2017.3 coming up very shortly!

In-Process often mentions the Next and Master builds of NVDA. They are a great way to test out new features and fixes that are being evaluated. All going well, many of these updates may make their way into a future stable build. If you do test out Next or Master builds, one thing you may come across is the error sound. The error sound is a flat two-tone sound that plays when an error is encountered and recorded in the log. This can be confusing, particularly when the error sound plays, yet there is no adverse effect. For the most part, you can ignore such errors if everything else appears to work as it should. The nature of pre-release versions, however, is that there may also be actual problems. If something doesn’t work, please do report it on GitHub. If you would like to try out snapshot builds of NVDA, then please head over to the snapshots page.

Note that updates only occur to newer builds of the same type. If you are using the “Master” builds, they will only update to newer “Master” builds, for instance. The exception is release candidates. If you install NVDA 2017.3rc1, it will update to NVDA 2017.3rc2 if there is one, and to the final NVDA 2017.3 when it is released.

Snapshot builds, of course, are a progression towards the next stable build. As many of you know, the next stable build of NVDA is not far away. We are well into the translation freeze period. No new features are being considered for NVDA 2017.3 at this point. This gives the wonderful people who translate NVDA time to ensure their language is up to date. Doing this ensures that everything in NVDA 2017.3 should function in each of the 50 languages it works in from day 1.

This doesn’t mean that work on new features and fixing bugs stops. Not at all! What it does mean is that the work done now will progress towards going into NVDA 2017.4 later in the year.

So back to the hot topic, and what WILL be in NVDA 2017.3? Well here’s a few tidbits:

– The ability to show Braille messages indefinitely

– Reporting of flagged messages in Outlook

– MathML supported in Google Chrome

– Support for new OneCore voices in Windows 10

– In Browse mode for Microsoft Word, it is now possible to navigate to spelling errors with w (and shift+w)

– The date picker is now supported in Outlook appointment dialogs

– A sound is now played to indicate the appearance of suggestions in certain search fields in Windows 10. These include the Start menu, settings and mail search fields.

– More notifications are now reported, including in Skype for Business desktop and Microsoft Edge

– You can now type in both contracted and uncontracted braille on a display with a braille keyboard. You can also enter Unicode Braille characters

– New braille translation tables for Danish 8 dot computer Braille, Lithuanian, Persian 8 dot computer braille, Persian grade 1 and Slovenian 8 dot computer braille. Also, improved US English 8 dot computer braille.

– New OCR functionality in Windows 10 (Note for Windows 10 users, this will replace the add-on).

… Plus, much more! And that’s only in the “New” features. There are heaps more things that have been fixed or improved.

The Release Candidate for 2017.3 is due out on Thursday 17th. The release candidate has all the changes that the final 2017.3 will have. It is a great chance to test this as if any major issues are found, we can address them before the final version comes out. UPDATE: NVDA 2017.3rc1 is now out! See the NVDA 2017.3rc1 release notes and download link.

We do encourage most users to download the Release Candidate and we’d love your feedback on it in the E-mail list.

All things going well, NVDA 2017.3 should be out by the next In-Process, so I’ll talk to you then!