Having a rational and structured process for releasing updates for any software project can mean the difference between stability and problems. The repercussions of a poor release process can be farther-reaching than anticipated.
Based on this logic, and after a recent maintenance update gone bad, the TYPOlight team announced plans to revamp its release process.
TYPOlight (news, website) is a LGPL-licensed open source web content management system built on a LAMP foundation, with PHP 5 support and a taste for Ajax tricks. It also offers built-in web 2.0 features using Mootools.
Originally released in 2006, the German-based web CMS is a stable, open source content management option.
But a recent issue with an early iteration of TYPOlight 2.6.5, which contained a variety of bug fixes, resulted in massive problems in the core code. The problem stemmed from a user's request for the ability to preserve file names of thumbnails to improve search rankings. Unfortunately, due to an overlooked file structure, it only worked if there weren’t two files named the same.
Reflecting on that scenario (and bearing in mind hindsight's 20/20), Leo Feyer of TYPOlight noted, “My actual mistake, however, was not to miss this detail, but to publish the feature in a maintenance release.” In most cases maintenance or bug fix releases rarely contain new features, while a release of new features may contain some bug fixes.
Changing the Release Strategy
After trying to add new features to an unplanned maintenance release and fielding the problems that ensued afterward, TYPOlight has opted to revisit its original release plan. No more scheduled maintenance releases.
Sticking with what works means more than one minor new feature release per year and maintenance releases as needed. But maintenance releases will only address bug fixes, etc., and will not contain new features. There will also be periodic major releases scheduled for large amounts of new features and updates.
The objective behind this change is to liberate the TYPOlight team to focus more strategically on features and address bugs separately with maintenance releases as needed. It also plans to avoid pushing new features that have bugs (but don't we all?).
Now on version 2.6.7, TYPOlight has fixed the issues associated with the problems from the early release of 2.6.5.The firm recommends using the Live Update Service to minimize work needed to update and avert potential problems associated with making them.