More on the Alpha Version
So far three people have asked me for a copy of the alpha version. (First in the queue as always, was Yves Catineau, who gets a special mention in the new “Credits” page as the original Tarrasch booster).
I’d just like to clarify a few things. I am quite happy for people to download the program just to have a casual play. Participating does not mean that I am expecting you to do a lot of free testing work for me! Of course it would be nice if you did a lot of free testing work for me but it is entirely up to you !
To this end I just emailed out an invitation to participate to everyone who has commented on the blog, or contacted me by email with comments or requests recently.
I haven’t thought about how to organise bug reports yet. For now emails, or blog comments are fine. If things get messy, I will look at a google docs page, or a wiki, or something.
I might start with a couple of bug reports of my own;
1) I only support ASCII comments. Sorry, this is really poor internationalisation on my part, I need to build unicode support in so that non-English speaking users can comment more freely. Allowing users to specify alternatives to N,B,Q,K,R (eg S,L,D,K,T for German users, I think) would be a nice feature before V2 ships as well.
2) The menu->Games->Session screen shows may extraneous selected games.
3) Undo at the moment is Tarrasch V1 like, basically just takeback. A bug is that you can load a game, go to the end and start undoing the last moves of the game!
4) Often I haven’t properly indicated whether menu items are unavailable by greying them out.
5) Not so much a bug as a missing feature; I need a context (right click) menu to enable editing of !,? etc and +/-, +-, += etc. You can type ‘!’ say as a comment and then promote that comment and it attaches itself to the move, but I recognise that’s not a sufficient solution.
No doubt there are many other bugs. I am not really a believer in the “developers cannot test their own code” school of thought. I can test my code, but on this occasion I chose not to. Why not ? For Tarrasch V1 I remember I stopped coding, and did nothing but testing for a long time before I announced a beta version of the program. I found and fixed a lot of bugs.
On this occasion though, I was frantically coding write up to the last minute, and only lightly testing each feature immediately after finishing it. Hence missing cases where implementing one feature damages another. The reason for that was that I didn’t think my credibility could sustain a lengthy delay while I tested and tested, especially as there is still missing functionality. I decided it was better to release a lightly tested demo now, than a more heavily tested demo later. The justification being that it is only a demo. It will be interesting to see whether my decision making turns out to be well founded.