A customer wrote us recently and succinctly asked “So where is version 17?”
First, I’m happy for the inferred anxiousness to get the latest version of our Pointwise meshing software. We’re anxious too. We want all our customers to start generating their CFD meshes with this new version of the product.
If you aren’t familiar with the saga, Pointwise Version 17.0 is the version of our new product that is functionally equivalent to Gridgen, the product on which the company was founded. BTW, Gridgen remains in production use and is actively maintained. But I digress.
Beta Testing is Finished
Second, I’m glad to be able to report a milestone. Two days ago we ended the beta program and began the last step of our development process which includes final testing and packaging for release. Thank you to everyone who volunteered for the beta program and helped us wring a few last issues out of the software. One fixed resulted in nearly a 20x improvement in export time for grids with unstructured blocks that have lots (thousands) of domains on a face.
What can you expect while we’re in this final step? More patience – you’ll have to wait at least four more weeks for production release. Why so long? Now that the final bug has been fixed we still have work to do.
- We re-run every one of of our tutorials on at least 2 if not all 3 of our supported platforms (Windows, Linux, and OS X). Any deviation from documented behavior is investigated and results in either a code or documentation change.
- We verify every bug fix and new feature added to the code since the last branch of the production and maintenance source code. In this case that’s Pointwise V16.04 R2 which debuted in April 2011. The list of items to verify is in the hundreds. (We maintain two branches of the code, one for maintenance and one for new features, to ensure that partially completed new features don’t pollute the bug-fix only branch that gets released about every 6 weeks.) Like regression testing, verification is performed on at least two platforms.
- We test that all the documentation is up to date including the user manual, tutorial guides, installation guides, scripting reference guide and man pages, and online help.
- Once the above tests are complete, we build the installation packages and test them on all platforms – installing, license management, and uninstalls.
Murphy often injects one of his laws into the process requiring a return to step #1 and a restart of the entire process.
We do all this despite the fact that we also perform automated nightly builds and tests throughout the year. Experience has taught us that the automated tests, while invaluable, don’t catch everything.
Finally, we can’t release a new product without making sure that everyone can find out about it so we write news releases and other documents and update the website. For Version 17.0 in particular we have something neat planned for the release to get everyone up to speed quickly on what’s new.
Hopefully you now can appreciate why it’ll be at least four weeks before Pointwise V17.0 hits the streets.
It’s Coming Soon
So where is version 17? Soon I hope it’ll be on your desktop.
If you’re not already a customer, don’t hesitate to ask us about a free trial and see what all the buzz is about.