Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Sakai 2.5.3 Released

I'm pleased to announce the availability of Sakai 2.5.3, the second maintenance release of the Sakai Collaboration and Learning Environment in the 2.5 series. This release includes 39 bug fixes and performance enhancements in Assignments, Blog, Database, Entity Broker, Messages, Forums, Worksite Setup/Site Setup and Wiki. This is an important milestone in the changes the community has been making in its release practices as the fixes selected for inclusion in the release targeted a subset of tools. The release is available in source, binary and demo versions from the main Sakai Subversion repository or from the Sakai website at

I’d like to thank all the QA and release team members that made this release possible: Bryan Batotich, Alan Berg, Angela Henry, Govind Iyengar, Matthew Jones, Huzefa Khalil , Peter Knoop, Michael Lockett, and Anthony Whyte.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Stepping Down from Sakai QA Director role

As many already know, I've accepted a promotion at Indiana University and will be stepping down from my role as the Sakai Quality Assurance Director. If you're interested in the 'official community announcement' it can be found at

Working on the Sakai project as the QA Director has been an honor and a privilege. Over the past few years we’ve made serious strides in improving our processes and testing practices that have lead not only to increased quality in our software but an increased collective consciousness about what quality means to us as a community. I look forward to seeing the momentum carried forward under new leadership.

Many of you may be wondering my new role at Indiana is. The position is the Quality Assurance Team Lead / Project Planning Coordinator which is one of two team lead positions that were added to the IU team that works on Sakai. I’ll be doing a lot of similar things I did for Sakai on a local level, but I’ll also be involved with other activities, like project management. As Michael mentioned, my responsibilities in this role do include community engagement so I’m extremely pleased to say you’ll still be seeing and hearing from me!

I do want the community to be assured that there will be a smooth transition to the new QA Director and that the release and testing activity for 2.6 will remain a top priority for me until the new QA Director is hired.

Test case documentation

This evening I was perusing Confluence and noticed a recent update for some ongoing work with Sakai Session clustering via Terracotta. The title referenced manual testing and of course caught my eye. I found one of the most awesome documents about the testing I've seen in confluence. This page details the environment, configurations, test cases and current results . . . . check it out at Two thumbs up Cris Holdorph!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Sakai Project Coordination - Day one am

Interesting update from Linda Place, the lead of the Performance work group. Many of you might not know this but since the conference last summer in Amsterdam a small group has been working on a proof of concept for a community wide set of processes and practices for performance testing. this includes
  • provisioning of test environment - creation of sites and users. This is based off of work by Alan Berg
  • Use of open source tool (Grinder) to create test scripts
  • Baseline tests and results
Linda, Chris Kretler and Alan Berg will be holding a session that will include a demo Tuesday at 17:00 in Amphi 55A. If you're hear in Paris I encourage you to attend. For those of you not attending, I will blog afterward.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

It just gets better and better

Lately I've been feeling a little discouraged about what I perceived to be a lack of enthusiasm and dedication toward bettering our QA processes . It was a hot topic at the last conference, but there hasn't been a lot of wide discussion. Boy was I wrong! Things must have been simmering below the surface. Within the first hour of the project coordination meeting in St. Paul, MN there is serious agreement about incorporating unit and performance tests into the process as we explore the kernel extraction and separate release process. How cool!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Sakai just might be ditching that frumpy dress

If you haven't seen MyCamTools yet you have got to check it out! For those of you familiar with igoogle, you'll be delighted to see that the folks at Cambridge have a working prototype where igoogle meets Sakai.

AWESOME!!! It's about time Sakai stopped wearing that frumpy dress and put on something a bit sexy. There are sweet little widgets that allow you to quickly add a file or post an announcement to any of your sites without further navigation. Users can pick and choose to make a highly personalized environment.

For those of you interested, there are a few more screen shots and a bunch of information on Confluence. If you happen to be here in Minnesota, definitely take the time to stop one of the guys from Cambridge for an in person demo.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Hot Diggity - earthquake in the midwest!

This morning started out with unexpected excitement. Normally, I don't make it a habit to get up at 5:30 am but needed check on some system maintenance. I'm sitting on my couch, logging into Oncourse with both eyes barely open and I start to feel this tremor. I live in an older apartment building and the first thought that crosses my mind is "seriously! is this place going to collapse and good thing I'm on the top floor - I'll be at the top of the rubble." Guess what? I don't want to die!

The intensity increases . . . . my blinds are starting to swing, the wine glasses begin clicking and suddenly the whole building is shaking! By this point I'm onto the fact that it might be an earthquake but am still in disbelief that it's *really* an earthquake. Come on' I'm in Indiana! Eventually I shuffle over to a doorway. The shaking didn't last much long, but I could feel tremors I felt for a few minutes after. When it's all over, I'm still wondering if it really happened or if I just dreamed it.

Rest assured, I'm safe and don't see any damage :) For inquiring minds, Sakaiger and Sakaigress are safe but still reeling from their first earthquake experience :)

The USGS has got the 411 on this most unusual occurrence -

Saturday, March 8, 2008

2.5 Release and QA Happenings of late

I'm back from a hiatus I took from posting to my blog and from here on out plan to be posting much more frequently. Between my last post and now life has pretty much focused on testing and preparing for the Sakai 2.5.0 release. Those of you familiar with the our past time lines, the testing cycle for 2.5 has been much longer - we're well past the 5 month mark. While this is a little longer than I'd like to see, this extra time has allowed us to refine our processes for the betterment of the release. When it's all said and done I believe well have a better tested release that folks can confidently install than ever before.

We're so close to releasing I can taste it! There was a last minute gotcha design bug with new functionality with the gradebook. The project team was able to quickly work with the community to determine a solution that wouldn't result in a substantial amount of time being added to the testing and release cycle. The speed in which the community can rally together to resolve a problem never ceases to amaze me. We should have the final release candidate to go on Monday and my hope is that the code will be good to go by mid-week. Once the release artifacts are built, 2.5.0 should be officially announced.

Then the community can turn it's attention to a 2.5.1 maintenance release . . . .

On a sad note, I learned last week that Margaret Petit's contract with Stanford is up. I'm fairly certain that Margaret predated my involvement in Sakai. She's been a great asset to the QA WG and contributed greatly to moving quality forward. To give you an idea of the impact she's had, she's filed 459 bugs (which btw, is more than I have!) and verified countless others. With all that knowledge and experience with Sakai, it is my hope that another institution snatches her up and that she is able to continue to work on the project.