On using NVDA development snapshots (alpha), beta, or release candidates #adminnotice


Given what's going on now, and will almost certainly go on again, I feel that this message is really necessary at the moment.  Although focused on NVDA, the principles apply to any use of alpha, beta, or release candidate software from anyone.

Joseph Lee eloquently wrote:  Another huge reminder: betas are meant to gather feedback before software goes live. Things can break, including add-ons not working properly or not even running at all, so please don’t panic.

The part of this that I wish to emphasize:  Users of alpha, beta, and release candidate software are expected to report issues as part of the deal.  This software is not made available so that random users can "get a sneak peek," but in an effort to actually test it and see what does and does not work.  The earlier you are in the process, the more issues you should expect, and the more work you should expect to undertake to report them.

Alpha and development snapshot software is a work in progress.  Your feedback and bug reports when you hit a bump are a part of both the work and the ability to make progress.  Almost anyone using alpha software knows this, and proceeds accordingly, providing feedback for virtually every bump they encounter, even if that feedback is only adding a comment to an existing report of a sort of "me too" nature so that the extent of the issue can be framed.

But the above really seems to get lost when it comes to beta and release candidate software, and it can't and shouldn't.  Using pre-release software puts obligations on those that use it to make reports of issues to "iron out the kinks" and further development.  That's the very reason you are being invited to use it.

With what's going on right now, it's pretty much a foregone conclusion that there are going to be some breakages, particularly in relationship to add-on compatibility, most of which can be easily fixed once identified.  And that's where Joseph's "don't panic" comes into play.

If you hit an add-on incompatibility, and it's not resolved within 24-48 hours, then I'd report it.  I suspect that there are going to be a number of these "quick fix" type compatibility issues so this is one of the rare occasions where having tons of reports about the same issue likely wouldn't be helpful.  If you're hitting other issues with NVDA itself, or an add-on that is compatible with 2021.1 but not working correctly, then those should be reported immediately.  Remember that NVDA issues are reported via GitHub while Add-On issues are reported to their respective developers (some of whom are using GitHub to manage their add-on projects, some of whom are not, so dropping an e-mail is a good first step).

But if you are using pre-production software, part of the deal is that you're a tester and you have an obligation to report issues as you find them.

Brian - Windows 10, 64-Bit, Version 21H1, Build 19043  

I do not understand why some seek to separate a person from their actions.  The self is composed of an individual’s thoughts, actions, and expression, which are contained in and actuated by the body.  What you do and say is the clearest indicator of who you are.

      ~ Brian Vogel