Koha Release Manager newsletter #10 2012-08

Welcome to this monthly RM newsletter.

Release Plan

The “Release Plan” announced last month rised many questions, i’ll try to answer here and now.

  • ->sept 22th: Any patch can make its way to be included into 3.10 I’ll push any enhancement (new feature) bugfix or that “passes QA”
  • sept 22th: feature freeze. This is a very important date. After the Feature Freeze, I won’t push any enhancement that I think is a risk for stability. It will be delayed for 3.12. See next paragraph for more explanation, and a list.
  • oct 22th: string freeze. After this date I won’t push anything that changes/introduce a string.
  • nov 22th: Koha 3.10.0 is released

Feature Freeze details

The “Feature Freeze” is a period we use to improve the stability of Koha.
Maybe you’re asking yourself: “where instability comes from”?
It comes from the fact that some code introduced has a side-effect on an existing code/feature, breaking it. The volunteers testing things does a good job at searching (and finding) those cases. But sometimes, it’s very hard to detect, it can be seen only when there is a lot of people/volunteers testing, because it requires a specific configuration to appear.
For example, when 3.8 was released, the “hourly loan” feature was working well. But the change in the size of a database column (to contain hours/minutes) broke things like overdue notices.
Those side affect can’t be avoided, but a way to limit them is to give more time to find them.

So, the “Feature Freeze” period is the time where the RM don’t add anything into Koha that has a risk of side effect.

Another example: there is a patch waiting to be tested and sign-offed that says “Normal catalogue detail view in staff client doesn’t show missing serials or subscription history note”. It’s a tiny enhancement, adding some display, that has a 0 risk of side effect, so it could be added after the “Feature Freeze” (if it’s signed off and passes QA of course).

The best option is, maybe, that I list the enhancement submitted that won’t probably be pushed after the Feature Freeze date. This list includes all patches that “need signoff” or “need QA” at date of writing this newsletter.

Patches that I think I won’t push after Feature Freeze (see disclaimer below)

  • Bug 8726 – Did you mean? plugin for broader/narrower/related terms
  • Bug 8523 – Authority hierarchies only support UNIMARC
  • Bug 8435 – new permissions on subscriptions “superserials”
  • Bug 8415 – Link Serial with Acquisition
  • Bug 8304 – composed authorities Rameau management
  • Bug 8211 – Add “subject (broader),” “subject (narrower),” and “subject (related)” options for search
  • Bug 7887 – Add Option To Include Items That Will Be Available When Calculating Holds Ratios
  • Bug 7572 – Add Clubs & Services Feature
  • Bug 7419 – Add authority deduplication script
  • Bug 7243 – Do not take rentals as fines
  • Bug 7162 – Factorize code for order cancellation
  • Bug 7688 – Change subscriptions numbering pattern and frequencies
  • Bug 5339 – Parcel closing in acq
  • Bug 5335 – More granular VAT
  • Bug 7751 – Decrease loan period on items with a high number of holds
  • Bug 8137 – Checkout limit by patron category for all libraries
  • Bug 7919 – Display of values depending on the connexion library
  • Bug 7294 – status “in order”
  • Bug 5786 – Move AllowOnShelfHolds system preference to the Circulation Matrix

Patches that I feel I won’t push after Feature Freeze, but it need to be investigated more (see disclaimer below):

  • Bug 8484 – Add ability to choose if lost items are removed from a borrowers record.
  • Bug 8343 – Editable discount rate and miscellaneous charges during ordering
  • Bug 8236 – Prevent renewing if overdue or restriction
  • Bug 7957 – Routing lists: manage several routing list for each subscription, and export them as CSV
  • Bug 7673 – New patron permissions
  • Bug 7295 – list of librarian managing a basket
  • Bug 5356 – Shipping billing address improvements
  • Bug 5342 – Serial claiming improvements
  • Bug 6813 – Acquistions – duplicate search across orders, suggestions and catalog

The 2 previous lists have been made just by looking at the bug description, not at the code. I may change my mind and decide not to push a patch that is not in this list, or push a patch that is in this list and should not be.

What will govern my decision? I’ll ask myself the following questions: which files and modules is this ENHancement modifying ? Does it change database schema ? How large (in lines of code) is the patch ?
An enhancement that does not modify existing files (just adding new files), doesn’t change the DB schema will probably be OK even after the FF date while an enhancement updating circulation rules won’t !

The best option, if you want to promote a patch in this list, is to sign it off (or ask a QA team member to QA it). Anything QAed before sept 22th will be pushed -if it passes the tests I make before pushing-

String Freeze details

Entering the “Feature Freeze” probably mean no more enhancements will be added into the 3.10.

Bugfixes, will be pushed, of course. If a proposed bugfix introduces/changes a string, the release team sometimes ask for an alternate version without such changes, sometimes add the fix into Koha for 3.10, sometimes delay the fix to the next release (if the bugfix is minor)
The “String Freeze” date also means that the 3.10 project is created on http://translate.koha-community.org/, and translators can start their work.

As a conclusion: I hope this change in the release workflow will result in a rock stable release, so early upgraders to 3.10.0 won’t face any blocking bugs.

Important patches pushed in august

I’ve been AFK for 3 weeks in August, but pushed a lot of things before leaving, and many things when coming back : 69 bugs (more than 90 patches) have been pushed. Most of them are bugfixes, only a few are worth being listed on this monthly letter:

Add tab in patron record to show patron’s routing lists (bug 7839)

This add useful information. I’ve pointed that there are a lot of tabs on the patron detail page, maybe some ergonomic tweaking will be made to reorganize things

Re-order administration page to better match configuration priority (bug 8655)

The admin-home.pl page has been reorganized. Everything is still here, but be carefull, maybe not at the same place ! We think this change gives more clarity & visibility to what is more important.

Community organization

As you may already have seen, we’ve started to think of our next release team. I won’t be your RM anymore in november, there is one candidate, Jared. If you want to apply for any role, just reach the wiki page and add yourself (http://wiki.koha-community.org/wiki/Roles_for_3.12)
We will vote on the next IRC meeting (october 10, 10+00 UTC)

Koha 3.8 Release Manager Founder and owner of BibLibre, french company dedicated to OpenSource and libraries