Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Qwicap 1.4a34

Qwicap 1.4a34 was released this weekend. With four busy months elapsed since the previous release, 1.4a12, it was time to declare something "done" again, because a lot fixes and improvements have accumulated over that time. The development of this version has coincided with the development of our second and third large, Qwicap-based web applications which will be supplying the end-user and administrator interfaces to UT Austin's new identity management system. The same four developer team is responsible for both applications. They're up against the challenge of schedule-constraints, the rapidly evolving, still-under-development code of the identity management system itself, and the fact that none of them had used Qwicap before (well, one had used its XML engine a few years back). So, I've been watching their progress with interest, wondering which aspects of Qwicap would work well for them, and which wouldn't.

So far, with both applications in an advanced state of development, and user testing of the end-user application already complete, the results are encouraging. The team seems uniformly pleased with the experience of working with Qwicap, and they're already planning to use it as the basis of their future projects. Though I visit their office daily to see how things are going, and to take a look at any problems they want a hand with, there have been remarkably few problems. They've found some minor bugs (minor in that there were small, simple fixes), a few more troublesome bugs, and they've needed a few new features. The more troublesome bugs were interesting, because they were the result of the team choosing a flow-control and markup handling strategy that had never occurred to me, and consequently it was a bit surprising to Qwicap, too. What stunned me was that it worked, and worked well in all but a few obscure cases. I had to sit down with the team-lead and walk through the relevant code several times before I even understood why it worked at all.