Welcome to a new year! We hope you had a great Christmas and New Year and are busy getting into everything 2020 has to offer. As we all get into the new year, this week’s In-Process provides an update on where things are at currently.
First of all, yes things are still moving on 2019.3, in fact, we’ve just released a New Beta! Yes, we’re also well aware of the new year, but we’re sticking with the “2019.3” version number anyway. Partly it’s stubbornness, mostly it’s because the 2019.3 name has already been communicated in a lot of places. While it wouldn’t affect add-on compatibility, it would likely cause confusion and concern. Add-on authors have been hard at work updating their amazing offerings to work with NVDA 2019.3. So we’ll stick with that name and put forward that the moniker is “retro” but the software is cutting edge!
So, that’s the name sorted, where’s the software? Good question. We’ve all been getting back to work, and catching up on correspondence and GitHub issues from over the break. Before Christmas, we released NVDA 2019.3 beta1, and this week we’ve followed up with NVDA 2019.3 beta2. Head over to the announcement page to find out what’s new and download the new beta.
We’re watching for any issues anyone has encountered with NVDA 2019.3 beta2 to see how everyone finds it. If you do find anything amiss with the beta, lease do Report Issues on GitHub. If there are issues with the beta, then we’ll work on addressing them and put out a new beta shortly. If everything looks to be running smoothly, then we’ll move to a “release candidate”, or RC build. The RC build is the last step before the final stable version. If anyone finds any issues with an RC build, then we’ll go to another RC build before the final version comes out.
Basically the timeline from here is:
1) Release beta version (done) 2) Any issues, return to step 1. 3) After allowing several weeks to test, release RC build. 4) Any issues, return to step 3. 5) After a week or so with no more issues, release NVDA 2019.3.
If you haven’t yet tested the beta, now is a great time to do so. You don’t need to install it, you can “Continue” from the license screen for a quick look. You can also setup a portable version so you can run it to test things without affecting your installed 2019.2.1.
If you do test it and find issues, please, report them as soon as possible! Please also check against 2019.2.1 as well. This will confirm whether the reported issue is new, or an existing problem. That will help us know where to look for the problem.
Should I download the beta?
Someone asked on the user group recently whether they should try the beta. Here’s my answer:
The main purpose of alpha and beta releases, is to test new features and bugs. (I mean bug fixes, we never introduce new bugs! wink)
These builds are mostly used by developers and more technically-minded types. End users are welcome to download these pre-release versions with a couple of caveats:
- Alpha and Beta versions play an error sound whenever NVDA writes an error to the log. This may or may not coincide with a problem experienced by the user. Often, an error occurs, but NVDA then tries something else which works. In this case, an end user would otherwise not notice anything amiss.
- If reporting an issue, make sure it IS an issue, and not just an error beep. Errors in the log should be fixed, but aren’t as high priority as something which impacts users. Also, if reporting a bug in a prerelease build, please test against the last stable build as well. Knowing that a bug is new since then (or that it was always present) helps with knowing where in the code to look to fix it.
- Of course we aim for alpha and beta builds to be stable and fully working. Newer code may produce unintended consequences on some systems that weren’t anticipated. We recommend anyone testing prerelease builds be comfortable using portable or temporary versions. Always keep your stable build handy, just in case.
When we get to a “Release candidate” build, that is the last step before releasing a stable version. At that stage we DO want as many people as possible to test it and install it. If we don’t have any issues reported with this build, it will basically be identical to the final release. It is much easier to fix a problem found in an RC build, than one reported two weeks later in the final release.
One of the big changes in 2019.3 is the move of our source to Python 3. Followers of In-Process will be aware that this has meant that add-ons need to be updated also. The majority of add-ons have now been updated. There are still some in progress, and some which we are not aware of work on.
For those asking, I am happy to provide an update on NVDA Remote. NV Access submitted pull requests for updates to NVDA Remote yesterday. These should resolve most of the issues to make NVDA Remote compatible with 2019.3. Thanks Reef for your hard work on that! It is also worth testing the beta now to determine which other add-ons you use, if any, have not yet been updated. If you find any, you can encourage the developers of those add-ons to update them before 2019.3 is released.
Speaking of correspondence, thank you everyone for your emails over the new year. We came back to lots of messages, wishing us well over the break, reporting issues or asking questions. We are almost caught up with emails which have come in to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ve also caught up on the NVDA Email List and our Twitter and Facebook mentions and messages. If you haven’t got a reply, feel free to reach out again just in case it’s fallen through the cracks.
That’s all for this week. Next In-Process we should be at or very close to, the release of NVDA 2019.3. We look forward to joining you then! In the meantime, do please test NVDA 2019.3 beta 2, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook to be the first to know when the Release candidate build comes out!