It was one year ago (May 31, 2007, to be precise) that we first launched Bungee Connect as an early access beta. In the past year, Bungee Connect has matured in leaps and bounds. Now, well into open beta, we want to start providing our growing developer community with information as to what’s coming in each release with a published set of pre-release notes.
We update the platform every 6-8 weeks, adding new features and making many improvements. In order to smooth the release process for our developers even further, we are also introducing a “BCDN Preview Release” program, allowing developers to try out the new features before the full system update.
We provide details for both of these in the post below.
Bungee Connect Product Manager
Director of Bungee Connect Developer Network
June ’08 Release
Target Date for BCDN Preview: Friday, June 6
As always with software development, this is a target date and is subject to change. Our goal is to communicate (via this blog) what’s going on as soon as we know that the schedule will change.
Target Date for Release: Friday, June 20
We currently plan the release to be 2 weeks after releasing the BCDN preview. We may change this timeframe based on what we discover operationally, and on needs of the BCDN developer community.
As usual, we have several items coming in for this next release. Here’s the high-level list:
- Share Extended with “Update Version” Support
In the last release, you got a very early version of the Share, providing you and other BCDN developers with a much easier way to share code with each other. This upcoming release, we hope to deliver the first enhancement to the Share. Currently, if you include a project from the Share in your own solution, any changes made to the shared code will not benefit your solution. The ability to update will allow you to update your solution to include the latest version of the code in the Share. Of course, when including another developer’s shared code, we strongly recommend that you thoroughly test each version before deploying.
- Better Toolbars
We hope you find that the toolbars are more contextual in this release. Here’s how the toolbar looks today:
The planned change moves the general-purpose buttons inline with the tabs for Start, Design, Staging, etc. The contextual buttons will now be part of the Design Editor. The result yields about 55px of vertical space to the main workspace, and moves the buttons closer to the area where they are needed. (As we start rolling out more features for editing your code, this move will help to accommodate many more buttons, too.)
Here’s a design preview to give you an idea of the coming change:
- Forms Simulate in Separate Memory Space
Simulate is a powerful and much-loved tool in the Builder. It allows you to immediately see how your forms and application logic will work at runtime, and it also enables real-time debugging as you develop your applications. With the help of several BCDN developers, the simulate feature has matured considerably (remember life before breakpoints?).So the next big step is to isolate simulations so that they run in separate memory space from the Builder. This protects your Builder session from potential problems with your simulation. You will also find that each simulation works almost like a code snapshot at the time you simulate. Any code that you have already tested in simulate will require a new simulation to see the effect of changes you might make. This makes it possible to simulate a form before and after making a code change, and compare changes in two side-by-side simulations.
- “Simulate” and “Simulate with Debug”
In addition to simulate running in separate memory space, you will have two ways to simulate: “Simulate” and “Simulate with Debug.” The first performs a lightweight simulation for when you just need see how a form will render. The latter simulates a form with breakpoints and event management enabled for full debugging.
- BAS Tab (Bungee Application Server)
We announced in a press release in April that we’re working on a Bungee Application Server and that we’d be making this server available to members of the Early Adopter Program. To those participants who are interested in this, get in touch with us about how to get started on this program.
- Datasource Deprecation and Removal
Now that we have database connectivity working (MySQL, PostgreSQL), we intend to deprecate the use of the native Bungee Datasources. We removed the ability to add a Datasources last fall, and few BCDN developers ever implemented these for serious projects. However, we do want to advise BCDN developers of the change. For now this is merely a deprecation—there is no change that will break current applications using a datasource. However, a breaking change will be coming in a future release so you should immediately begin migrating any applications that use the native Bungee Datasources.
BCDN Preview Releases
A few BCDN developers have requested that we provide a preview period of each release before rolling it live. To that end, we are introducing a BCDN Preview prior to this release.
From now on, for each of our planned releases we will provide a minimum two-week test period for BCDN developers. The preview will always be the exact version—feature complete, tested, and ready-to-roll—that we plan to release. The only code changes that we would introduce to this version would be serious code defects or breakages that somehow were not detected by the team at Bungee Labs.
In order to help you test the new system’s features and API compatibility with the current production version, each BCDN Preview will have a snapshot of your code solutions from the time that we announce that the latest Preview has gone live. Be advised that this will only be a snapshot of your code—changes you make on the Preview system do not apply to the production system, and will be lost when each Preview period ends. (Eventually, we expect to be able to provide a way to preserve your work done the preview system.)
If you’re interested in using the preview, bookmark https://bcdnpreview.bungeeconnect.com. We will use this same URL for each preview. Between previews it will link back to the BCDN blog.
As always, we’re eager to hear your feedback about these plans and our approach, so please leave us comment, and expect a prompt response.