Posts tagged Release Notes
Introducing Report Releases

Several years ago at a conference I saw a presentation on “continuous delivery.” This cloud based software provider had no releases, they just continually rolled out changes. While I don’t think we nor our customers are ready for something like that, I have been quite interested in seeing if there are elements of our system where we could try this out if it benefited our end users. With Jennifer Escamilla assuming her new role this past year as Escape Online 5 Product Manager, one of her tasks was to see how we could take advantage of the concept.

BOB: So Jennifer, today we launched a new release process. Can you tell us a little about it?

JENNIFER: It’s for reports, and for those reports and changes to them that basically “stand alone,” i.e. they aren’t dependent on other system changes.

BOB: How often will we make the new report releases available?

JENNIFER: We are beginning with report releases twice per month on the second and fourth Wednesday.

pic_news_500ReportsAvailable

BOB: What’s the real benefit to our users?

JENNIFER: Our quarterly releases are huge – often 150+ fixes and enhancements. When someone submits a nice enhancement to a report, it may take two release cycles to see the enhanced report, which is over six months. There’s really no reason for this other than that is how we have done it until now. Our system has over 500 reports and our end users run them millions of times per year. So you can imagine how important ongoing enhancements are to them.

pic_news_128ReportsUpdated

BOB: But we don’t always take that long to get critical report fixes out, right?

JENNIFER: Right. If a report has a bug, or any significant error, we usually fix these immediately, and distribute to customers through a process called a “patch.” These will basically go away since report releases will be happening twice a month now.

BOB: Will the QA process for reports change?

JENNIFER: Not at all, reports are QA’d just like every fix and enhancement in a release. The difference is in how soon we get the updated/new report into users’ hands.

BOB:  Is this going to be a lot of work for system managers?

JENNIFER: We have made the process quite simple. We are sure they will be excited to get new and enhanced reports to all their users with just a few clicks. And like we just mentioned, report patches will be eliminated or greatly reduced. We are also going to conduct a webinar for our system managers to brief them on the new report release process and answer all questions they may have.

BOB: What about report changes that go along with major changes, like the recent ACA enhancements we did?

JENNIFER: Those types of report additions/enhancements will continue to go along with regular general releases.

BOB: How are users going to know about the bi-monthly report releases, i.e. which reports are new or have been affected?

JENNIFER: Just like the general releases you will be receiving an email from Escape letting you know the report release is available. Users know they'll find updated and important information in the Online Resources area of our system. We have a new activity there - Report Release Information - which will be updated with each report release.

“I really like the look of this new ReqPay90 report. I especially like the fact that it's a simple to read listing, and I love the way it includes checks cancelled after the end date of the report. Thanks to you and everyone else at Escape who worked to get this new report developed.” ~ Administrative Clerk, COE Business Office

BOB: Will we see other types of more frequent releases from Escape in the future?

JENNIFER: Some elements of our system don’t “break away” as easily from the structured release process like reports do. Nevertheless, the sooner we can get enhancements that have been properly QA’d into our users’ hands, the happier we all are. So we are using this as our first foray. Working with our customers, we will see where we can go from there.

BOB: Great job Jen, both Escape and our customers are benefitting from your new role as Product Manager.

JENNIFER: Thanks Bob, I’m looking forward to working with our customers on this new process. We will adjust as necessary and make great progress like we always do.




Friday Feature - What's Up with the Release Notes

Friday Feature LogoThe release for 14.01 is almost here! And, of course, you want to know what is in it. Who doesn't? Aren't we all avid readers of the Release Notes? Well, if you are like me and read every word of the Release Notes, we give you two ways for you to see Release Notes in Escape Online.

Release Notes from the Help MenuThe first method is from the Help menu. The Help menu always has the Release Notes for the release you are currently using. (The Help menu also includes user guides that are customized to your role. The Help menu you see here is for an Admin user.)

But, what if you want to see Release Notes when the new version is only on your test system? (Eager anticipation! I like it!) Or, you want to see the release notes for a previous version.

Or, you want to see the release notes for this time last year, maybe trying to refresh your memory on all of the Year End changes. We have got you covered there too!

Release Notes in Online ResourcesAll Escape Online Release Notes for the last two years can be found in the Release Information activity in the Online Resources module.

This module is available to EVERY user!

Not only does the Release Information contain Release Notes, it also includes Known Issues, the ever popular Top 10 video and, last but not least, Terri Hammond's always informative video recording of the Release Review.

What fabulous news for all you avid readers and video watchers!




Escape Online 5 v3.13.01 Available Now!
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If you missed my email regarding Escape Online 5 v3.13.01 being released last week, you may want to check your junk folder or tell your System Administrator to put me on your email whitelist immediately.  Why wouldn't you want to hear from me?!

As the title suggests, we are happy to announce that we released Escape Online 5 version 3.13.01 and it is available for download now.  This release contains all of the fun AB340 functionality, several client changes, and over 180 change requests!  If you have any questions regarding new software functionality, contact your Escape Customer Care representative today, or click here to automatically pop open an email message addressed directly to yours truly and we can discuss getting your Test system upgraded.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles\FreeDigitalPhotos.net