Reflections and Projections

openlp.org being put through it's paces

I'm back from honeymoon, and feeling relaxed and refreshed. I was pleased to see all the bug reports and related requests when I got back. Thanks to you folks, openlp.org is being put through it's paces and refined into an almost bug-free piece of software.

So I just wanted to say thanks to all those folks who have been rigorously testing openlp.org to see that it meets their requirements and operates without problems. Without you folks we wouldn't be able to put out such a fine piece of software (if I might say so myself).

Please continue to test openlp.org, and send us bug reports (if we don't have them already), Derek and I would like to kill as many bugs as possible in RC5, probably have an RC6 to make sure we have no more bugs left, and then release the final version.

Release Candidate 5 released

Hi All. Release Candidate 5 has now been released. Due to the nature of some of the issues/problems raised in RC4, we felt that we should add an additional RC version before going to a full V1.0. This was mainly due to a lot of rewriting of code to sort out some of the 'little quirks'.

The main issues corrected were:

  • A theme import/export problem (involving the delete option)
  • In the Bible verse 'Verse' layout mode, verses are not split across slides
  • A Bible verse bug seen in imported Bibles was fixed
  • A bug in the deleting of songs was fixed
  • Auto Open Last OOS feature was fixed
  • Missing last slide character bug was fixed

For all you Vista users out there, the missing DLL (d3drm.dll) that was causing issues, will now be installed if you are running on Vista. It has also been confirmed that Powerpoint in Office 2007 is compatible with OpenLP.org.

With any luck, this will now be the last release before V1.0.

God bless, Derek.

The openlp.org Roadmap

A couple of people have been confused, and rightly so, about openlp.org's roadmap of development. There have been some interesting developments, so here's an updated roadmap.

The Situation So Far

Firstly, we will be releasing the final version of 1.0 in late October most probably (I'll be on honeymoon for the first 2 weeks of October).

Secondly, we had some wild and crazy ideas about versions and things, which we've had to scale down. Initially we had 3 versions: version 1.x would be Windows-only, continuing the current branch of development; version 2.x would still be Windows-only, but with a revamped interior and a different database engine; then version 3.x would be the new cross-platform, C++ version.

Recently, however, I have come to my senses, and decided to scrap the proposed 2.x branch, because there is no viable need for it. All the grand ideas we have for 2.x could quite easily be implemented in version 1.x. So now we have 1.x as Windows-only, and 2.x (the old 3.x) as the new, cross-platform, C++ version.

And then lastly, since we don't have any full-time developers, only part-time enthusiasts, we cannot have any fixed release dates. Derek and I have tried to do our best, and have had partial success. A deadline gives us a nice goal to aim for, but if we don't make it, we're not worrying.

Looking forward to version 1.2

The next version of openlp.org will be version 1.2. Where's 1.1 you ask? Well, that's the development version. Odd numbered versions are development versions, and even numbered versions are stable releases.

The first thing we are going to do is a massive code cleanup. Tim originally wrote this code before he'd gone to college and learned all those impressive coding techniques, and thus we've got a bit of a mess on our hands. So while there won't be any visible changes, there will be a number of "structural" changes to make it easier to develop and maintain openlp.org.

After the code cleanup, we're gonna start looking at implementing a number of the most prominent features. One feature we're going to have a go at implementing is integration with OpenOffice.org. That has probably been our number 1 feature request. Another feature we'd like to implement is text-over-video.

What we will most probably do is create a feature vote topic in the forums, where you vote for which feature you'd most like to see in openlp.org. That way we can "democratically" select which features to include in the next version of openlp.org. I must stress that not all features will make it. As much as we'd like to include all, we don't have the time to do that. It comes down to a "features versus working product" debate, and I always sway toward the "working product" side.

There are also various features that I would like to include as well. One of them is extra options for songs, like verse display order and support for guitar chords (although I'm not sure if we'll actually include the latter just yet).

The Roadmap

  1. End of October: Release openlp.org version 1.0
  2. End of January 2008: Finish code cleanup.
  3. End of May 2008: OpenOffice.org integration, song enhancements, display enhancements.
  4. End of June 2008: openlp.org 1.2 beta 1

Of course in the mean time, if there are any small bugs to 1.0, we will fix them and release 1.0.x.

Let me just issue my disclaimer again. These dates are basically sucked out of my thumb. I don't know how long they will take, and I don't know how busy us developers will be. I'm hoping that we can stick to these proposed dates, and perhaps even be able to finish some items before these dates.

Conclusion

I hope this manages to clear up confusion about versions, and also gives you an indication of where we're going with openlp.org.

Note: I don't know where the C++ port is in terms of progress, I'm not in charge of that part of the project. You'd need to speak to Tim directly. You can get hold of him via his e-mail address, tim [at] openlp.org.

RC4 is here!

Hi folks, the long awaited release candidate 4 is finally here! A few more features crept into this release candidate, you'll be pleased to know, and we've fixed one or two other things that had the potential of going wrong. Please have a good look at this release, test it out thoroughly, and file bug reports in the appropriate bug reports forum topic. This is hopefully our last RC before we release 1.0.

I also just wanna say a big thank you to all those people who have responded to my call for documentation. We've got some good stuff lined up, including a user manual that can be distributed with openlp.org, and possibly also screen casts demonstrating how to use openlp.org.

This is probably the last post from me for a while. As some of you already know, I'm getting married at the end of this month, and so I'm concentrating my full efforts on preparing the wedding and accompanying arrangements. Please keep us in your prayers.

Vista problems

A couple of guys using Vista have told us that the problem is that openlp.org is looking for a file that doesn't exist in DirectX 10 anymore (openlp.org uses DirectX 9 headers). You need to download and install D3DRM.dll. You should be able to simply copy the file into the openlp.org directory (on most systems it should be "C:\Program Files\openlp.org") and openlp.org should work fine. Let me know about this, I'm operating on hearsay.

On the other hand, I've moved to Linux full time now, Kubuntu 7.04 (Feisty Fawn), as my main desktop, although I'll still have a Windows box around to develop openlp.org.  If you haven't looked at Linux yet, I would strongly recommend you do! Download a CD image from www.ubuntu.com and try it out!

Jabber contacts

Hi folks, we've just added a jabber server to our system, so that now you can contact us on our openlp.org jabber accounts. My jabber ID is raoul (at) openlp.org and Derek can be contacted on derek (at) openlp.org.

Also, we're nearly ready to release RC4. Both Derek and myself have been really busy, and I'm just busy working on the image resizing tweaks, and then we'll release RC4.

We're still alive (barely)!

Well, sometimes that's how I feel. I'm starting to get bogged down with wedding preparations, never mind the extra bit of part time work that I have on the side (any extra income at the moment is needed) which takes my evenings and my Saturdays away.

I've noticed that we're getting more and more support requests in via our support(at)openlp.org address. Please remember that our primary support line is through the forums. Unfortunately we don't have the resources to cope with the all support requests. So we need people to help us there.

Also, we need more people in the forums to take on a more active role. Those forums are not for you to ask questions and us to answer, we're hoping that more experienced people can answer questions too.

And then again we still need people to help with documentation. I honestly don't want to spend my honeymoon writing documentation. That's the only free time I'm gonna have in the next 3 months.

I'm sorry if this sounds like a rant, but I'm getting a little tired of being a one-man-show here. If you really like our software, and you wanna show us some grattitude, please get involved. You don't need a PhD in computer science to help out. You just need a willing heart and an hour a week that you can spend on openlp.org.

Still looking for documentation..

We're still looking for people to help out with the documentation. That's the final part in the "release" of openlp.org. Unfortunately neither Derek nor myself have the time at the moment to do that, so we'd really appreciate the help.

You don't need to be able to devote 3 hours per day to it, all we need is a few people who can each complete one part, and then we'll be more than halfway there. If you reckon you can write up a "how to" on something like adding a song or creating a new theme, or any one of the many tasks and actions in openlp.org, please let me know.

So if we can get about 20 people just writing up 1 section each, then we'll have 20 sections done, and it's taken maybe an hour of your time.

You can either use the contact form, or contact me directly at raoul-at-openlp.org.

OpenSong Song Importer

Well, on Sunday afternoon I didn't have much to do, so I decided to sit down and write an OpenSong to openlp.org song importer. And I did. Except it had a few bugs. Then I couldn't stop thinking about it, so yesterday evening I sat down and found and fixed those bugs.

In the mean time, Justin Corwin has been at it again, writing a bunch more utilities, including an OpenSong song importer.

You can look at all the utilities on the Utilities page.

Nearing 1.0 final release

Well, this weekend I released Release Candidate 3, with a few more improvements (they're not really new features, but they are improvements to existing features). So Derek and I were chatting last night about the current state of openlp.org, and we are pretty sure that if there are no more bugs in RC4, we will release 1.0.

In terms of the distribution (or marketing) pack, a designer friend of mine who has been associated with openlp.org since the early days has had a bit of time on his hands recently and has been having a go at designing posters and the like. I'm going to see how far he has got, and then we can start putting the pack together.

However, we still need people to assist with the documentation. This is an area that is sadly lacking, and neither Derek nor I have the time to write up the documentation. If you see yourself being able to help out, please contact us, either through the site contact form, or by e-mailing support-at-openlp.org, or by e-mailing me personally at raoul-at-openlp.org.