Quarterly missive from the 3.12 RM (#2) and alpha release

Welcome to this, my second newsletter as RM. Apparently my plan to write an RM newsletter monthly was a bit over-optimistic. These have been an eventful three months. Since my last newsletter, 558 patches by 35 developers have been pushed to master, representing somewhere in the neighborhood of 235 bugs.

Alpha release

As I write this I am uploading a tarball for an alpha release of 3.12 to downloads.koha-community.org. A Debian package of the alpha will follow in due course. If you are not using git for testing, please consider installing the alpha (BUT ONLY ON A TEST SYSTEM) and give it a whirl. The more bugs we find and fix now, the more stable 3.12.0 will be.

Feature slush

On March 15, 2013 Koha’s master branch entered a “feature slush.” This means that only those features/enhancements with patches currently attached to a bug Bugzilla will be considered for inclusion in 3.12. Any feature/enhancement that does not have a patch attached to a bug (or otherwise made available via Bugzilla) will have to wait until 3.14. Moreover, any features/enhancements that require substantial revision in my opinion will be bumped to 3.14.

Feature freeze

Koha’s master branch will enter feature freeze on or about March 22, 2013. This means that no further features/enhancements will be pushed for Koha 3.12. If you have a feature or enhancement you really want to get into 3.12, this coming week is your last chance: swap sign offs/QA reviews with someone else, get partner libraries involved… just get that patch moving. However, a warning: do not allow your QA standards to slip, because any feature/enhancement that the RM marks “Failed QA” during the feature slush will be moved to the end of the queue, and almost certainly bumped to for 3.14 due to the logistical challenges of dealing with the volume of patches I anticipate over the next week. Which brings me to our next topic…

Hackfest in Marseille

This coming week BibLibre is hosting a hackfest in Marseille. I will not be there, but many other Koha developers will be. Since the hackfest falls during the feature slush, this is an excellent opportunity for folks to test and QA some of the many patches currently in Bugzilla awaiting attention, as well as finding and fixing bugs. And, speaking of patches in Bugzilla…

Patch backlog

The Koha project is fortunate to have many active developers. Aside from the hundreds of patches pushed in the last three months, there are also numerous patches on bugs in Bugzilla awaiting attention. We haveĀ 149 bugs in the “Needs Signoff” status andĀ 137 bugs that have been signed off and are awaiting QA. That’s a lot of patches! Please take a moment to sign off on a patch or ten, and, if you’re on the QA team, QA a patch or ten. Koha will thank you!

Major features

As one might expect with the number of patches that went into Koha these past three months, there have been a couple of exciting new features:

* Owen from the Athens County Public Libraries has been hard at work beautifying and modernizing the staff client. He and Corey from Catalyst’s Open Source Academy are the ones responsible for the beautiful new toolbars in the staff client, and Owen has single-handedly replaced almost all of the tables in the staff client with a new, more modern option.

* Chris Cormack implemented Mozilla Persona authentication for Koha. Mozilla Persona is similar to OpenID, but allows you to store your credentials in your browser than on a remote server. This is a very cool feature, and means that you only have to enter a password once when using services that support Mozilla Persona.

* Jared Camins-Esakov (oh, that’s me!) has ported Evergreen’s QueryParser over to Koha. The new QueryParser offers librarians a much more powerful search syntax, while eliminating a lot of the problems that users encounter (quotation marks not working, for example).