Pilot Program: Help us improve reliability of minor updates

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The Drupal Association seeks volunteer organizations from Agency and Drupal site owners running production Drupal 8 sites for the creation of an official minor-release beta-testers program.

Since Drupal 8.0's release in November 2015, the Drupal community has successfully transitioned to a scheduled release process whereby two minor releases are made every year.

The most recent of these releases was Drupal 8.6, released in September 2018.

In a significant change from Drupal 7, these minor releases may contain new features and maintain backwards compatibility. This means that every six months there are new features in Drupal core, instead of waiting for the next major release.

This rapid acceleration in feature development has resulted in the need for greater real-world testing of upgrade paths and backwards compatibility. Drupal core has a vast automated test-suite comprising almost 25,000 tests—however, these can be greatly complemented by real-world testing of production sites. There are an infinite number of ways to put Drupal together that cannot always be handled in automated tests.

In order to improve the reliability of the minor-releases, the Drupal community—in conjunction with the Drupal Association—aims to develop a minor-release beta testers panel comprised of agencies and site-owners who maintain complex Drupal 8 production sites.

Many companies and Drupal users are looking to help with core development but aren't always sure where to start. Membership in this panel presents a new way to help the development of software that powers their website.

Who should apply?

Agencies and site owners who maintain large and complex Drupal 8 production sites. In particular, sites that use a wide range of contributed and custom modules or have large volumes of content.

What is involved?

When the beta release becomes available, the Drupal core committers will work in conjunction with the Drupal Association to contact the members of the beta-testing panel to advise that the next minor release is ready for testing.

Members of the panel will be asked to attempt updating to the beta using a staging version of their site (not straight-on production) and report back any issues found. New issues will be opened to track and resolve reported issues. The community will try to resolve the issue before the release deadline. If an issue cannot be resolved in time for the scheduled release, it will be documented in the release notes, or if it is severe enough, release managers may opt to revert the change that introduced the issue. Participants whose testing participation lapses may be removed from the program.

At the moment, testing of the new release occurs in a largely ad-hoc fashion, but once the program is established, this will become more structured and maintainers will have access to statistics regarding the breadth of testing. This will then inform release management decisions in regards to release preparedness.

What's in it for participants?

  • Updating early helps find issues beforehand, rather than after the release is out.

  • Reporting issues encountered lets you tap the wealth of experience of the Drupal core contributors that you'd not have the same level of access to if you update on your own after the release.

  • All organizations and individuals taking part in the testing will receive issue credits for both testing the update and fixing any issues that arise.

  • Satisfaction in the knowledge that you helped shape the next minor release of Drupal core.

  • Advanced preview of upcoming features in Drupal core.

Apply to participate in the program

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