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IP.Board 3 Testing Procedures

As we get further along in the development cycle for IP.Board 3 an obvious step that we will be taking on soon is general testing of the new codebase. While this happens with every release, both internally and publicly, it is even more important for a release as immense as IP.Board 3. The entire underlying codebase has changed and vigorous testing will be needed to iron out all of the issues us developers have missed.

With every test phase of a product release, we frequently get barraged with requests from customers asking to be a part of the testing process. We wanted to let everyone know that we have come up with a process for IP.Board 3 that we think will please everyone - everyone will be able to test the new release if they wish to. :)

Progress is happening at an astounding rate, and right now we're working through bugs that we have identified and putting finishing touches on much of the software. The skin is still heavily being developed and worked on, both on the front end and in the admin control panel. Trust me when I say we're just as eager to get people in and show off what we've been working on as you guys are to see it. Please bear with us as we continue working on these rather unexciting yet necessary steps. We know you're anxious to see it and we want to ensure that what we deliver is what you are expecting. To that end, please also understand that future blog entries may be a little less exciting than they have been for the last several weeks.

All of us have begun testing IP.Board 3 internally. As we discover unfinished areas or bugs, we are working hard to rectify these things to get IP.Board 3 as stable as possible. We are still working through bug reports from previous versions of IP.Board, as well, to get IP.Board 3 off to a fresh start with as few bugs as possible.

Once we feel that IP.Board 3 is relatively stable, and that we have worked through all of the issues we have found internally, we will be inviting our customers (you!) to take a look and to give us your feedback. This first stage of testing we expect to remain tightly controlled, with us hosting a copy of IP.Board 3 and providing you access to this copy. You will be able to use the features and we would love for you to report back your comments on the functionality, the skin, and any issues you find. More information about what we will be looking for exactly will be available once we reach this point.

After we have ironed out all the bugs and addressed all of the feedback we can, we (as per our usual procedures) will be updating our company forum. This helps give us a chance to really test out the new release in a live environment. You'd be surprised at some of the issues that never come up during development and basic testing that come up when you move to a live environment. This also helps give us a chance to test the software under a real-world usage scenario, giving us information about resource usage and areas of the software that we feel need improvement to be able to handle today's large forums. We are dedicated to ensuring that IP.Board 3 runs efficiently so that you can don't have to worry about how your site runs, but rather how you run your site.

Finally, once we've gotten to this point and feel we've nailed down all of the bugs we can (or at least most of them) and we feel the software is stable and resource-friendly, we will open up IP.Board 3 for public beta testing. This is the point where you will be able to download IP.Board 3 and install it on your own servers (but not upgrade your live website) so that you can test it to ensure that our next generation release will meet your needs. There are, quite literally, thousands of different configuration scenarios and hundreds of different server environments out there, and this stage of testing gives us a chance to help make sure IP.Board will run properly and bug-free in as many setups as possible.

Throughout this process, we will be contacting modification authors, community project teams, and skinners to help get them started as well. We would love for IP.Board 3 to launch and have resources available right from the start, or as shortly there-after as possible. While we have no control over third parties integrating with our software, we will do what we can to assist these developers so that our customers will have as short a wait as possible for the software they need to run their sites.

From there, we plan to follow the normal routines we follow for release. We will correct reported bugs, test them internally, and release public betas for further testing. When we feel we are ready for release, we will put out a "Release Candidate" version of the software. This release is one that, to our knowledge, should be ready for prime time, but we are providing another chance for customers to test it and report back any issues that they have found so that they may be addressed before we release the software as "final" for general public usage.

We know everyone is excited about IP.Board 3, and eager to get a look at what we've been working on for the last several months. We are eager to show it off, and are looking forward to the testing phases described above. These phases give us invaluable feedback from the most important users - you!

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