NVDA 2019.1beta1 available for testing

Beta1 of NVDA 2019.1 is now available for download and testing. For anyone who is interested in trying out what NVDA 2019.1 has to offer before it is officially released, we welcome you to download the beta and provide feedback.

Highlights of this release include performance improvements when accessing both Microsoft word and Excel, stability and security improvements such as support for add-ons with version compatibility information, and many other bug fixes.

Although we recommend always reading the full list of changes (linked below), it is worth noting several important changes in regards to add-ons and other custom code:

NVDA will no longer automatically load custom appModules, globalPlugins and braille and synth drivers from the NVDA user configuration directory. This code should be instead packaged as an add-on with correct version information, ensuring that incompatible code is not run with current versions of NVDA. For developers who need to test code as it is being developed, enable NVDA’s developer scratchpad directory in the Advanced category of NVDA settings, and place your code in the ‘scratchpad’ directory found in the NVDA user configuration directory when this option is enabled.

Also, add-ons can now specify a minimum required NVDA version, and the last tested NVDA version, in their manifest. If this version of NVDA is outside of the specified range, NVDA will refuse to install or enable that particular add-on. This version of NVDA will however still allow installing and loading of add-ons that do not yet contain Minimum and Last Tested NVDA version information at all, but upgrading to future versions of NVDA (E.g. 2019.2) may automatically cause these older add-ons to be disabled.