In-Process 16th Feb 2017

Welcome to In-Process. This edition sees the release of audio training material, as well as a release candidate for NVDA 2017.1. There is also information about our upcoming appearance and presentation at CSUN. So, without further ado, let’s get right into it!

Audio training material available

The long awaited audio version of the Basic Training for NVDA is now available from the NV Access Shop.

The material comes as downloadable Daisy MP3 for easy navigation. There is also a sample of the audio material which can be downloaded or listened to online.

CSUN

Held in San Diego, California from the 27th Feb to the 4th March, CSUN is one of the largest assistive technology conferences in the world. Sponsored by the California State University, Northridge (CSUN), the conference has been running for 32 years. NV Access will be presenting a session on “NVDA, the free screen reader: 2017 and beyond”. If you will be at CSUN, we’d love to see you at the session or around the conference.

Our session is on Wednesday 1st of March at 1:20 PM. The location is Hillcrest AB which is on the 3rd Floor of the Seaport Tower.

2017.1rc1

2017.1rc1 is now available for download. To explain what that is, it’s worth a quick explanation of our development cycle.

When a new feature is added or a bug is fixed, it initially goes into a “Next” build for testing. “Next” is our version of an “alpha” build. A new feature in a Next build may not be completely stable and may even cause other unexpected side effects. It is important for a few users to try it on different machines and confirm that it works as expected. A feature stays in Next for at least a fortnight for testing. The next step is to put the feature into a “Master” build. Master is a “beta” quality build with features that are a little more polished and closer to release. If no major issues are identified then it is considered ready to go in the next stable version. We don’t encourage most users to run Next or Master builds as their only version of NVDA.

The last step before the release of a new version of NVDA is a “release candidate”. Widely distributed, a release candidate is like a final check to ensure there are no major bugs. The final release, a week or so later, will be identical to the last release candidate. A fortnight before the release candidate comes out, we freeze master builds from any changes which will affect text strings such as messages. This gives the translators time to ensure translations for their language are up to date as soon as the next release is available. We have a great community of translators, but we are always keen to hear from people interested in becoming new volunteers, particularly for out of date or missing languages. Please see the NVDA Translating and localization page for more information.

We would encourage you to try out the release candidate and let us know any issues you find. If any major bugs are discovered, then we will endeavour to fix them and release “rc2”.

So, after all that, where can you get the 2017.1 release candidate? I’m glad you asked! Here is the release notice and link to download: 2017.1rc1 released

Highlights of this release include reporting of sections and text columns in Microsoft Word; Support for reading, navigating and annotating books in Kindle for PC; and improved support for Microsoft Edge.

Finally, after we’re confident there are no major bugs in the release candidate, we roll out the next stable release of NVDA (in this case, it will be NVDA 2017.1). We aim for four releases per year in approximately February, May, August and November. NVDA itself automatically checks to see if there are new releases and prompts to update if there is a release of the same kind (if you are using a Master build for instance, it will alert you if there is a new master build. If you are using a stable release, it will alert you when the next stable release is out).

Reporting bugs

If you do find any issues with any build of NVDA, the best place to report them is our GitHub page.

You do need to create an account before you can post an issue on GitHub. Any comments or questions about an issue are all in one place which you can follow. You will also get an e-mail when your issue is resolved and available in master snapshots.

It is worth searching for the issue you are having, as it may be that it has already been reported. If an issue has already been resolved, then a build with a fix may be available. If not yet resolved, you may be able to provide extra information on the problem.

It is important to include as much detail as possible when reporting a bug. At the very least include:


  • NVDA version or build and whether installed or portable

  • Windows version, and if using Windows 10, which build

  • The steps you took which caused the issue to present itself

  • The expected behaviour

  • If the issue involved NVDA crashing or freezing, include the NVDA log, ideally with the log level set to debug.

There is a page with information on NVDA logs and crash dumps, including how to find them on the NVDA Wiki.

All things going well, I will have one more February update for you when we release 2017.1 and before we leave for CSUN. Failing that, I’ll be back after CSUN to let you know how it went.