This month we've focused on greatly improving an existing module (Distributed Values), adding a completely new module (Assigned Test Platforms), and improving the overall look and feel of Centercode. With the improvements to Distributed Values, beta managers will be able to accomplish challenging and complex logistical tasks faster and more accurately. For example, scheduling a series of meetings with small groups of beta testers or notifying testers of shipment tracking numbers can now be easily handled with distributed values. Assigned Test Platforms allow companies to more closely bind the products users are beta testing with to the project they're participating in. Beyond enhanced reporting and filtering capabilities, this allows hardware companies to automate remote provisioning of their beta products. Lastly, we spent an enormous amount of time polishing our interface across the board. The details of this build are below, we hope you enjoy.
Distributed Value Enhancements
We've greatly extended our Distributed Value system to cover a wider range of scenarios that our clients were facing. Specifically, we've added two new methods of distribution (self-selected and preassigned) that each have two variations. This brings the total methods for distributing values to participants to five. They are:
- Automatically Assigned - Values will be assigned sequentially to users who view this resource. This is useful for distributing product keys, incentive codes, and other values that are not preassociated with specific users.
- Self-Selected Dates and Times - Date and time-based values will be presented to users as a list, allowing them to make selections of their choosing. This is useful for scheduling meetings with groups of users. Note that both a date and time are required for this value, and they will be adjusted to the users set time zones.
- Self-Selected - Values will be presented to users as a list, allowing them to make selections of their choosing. This is useful for allowing users to pick a preferred incentive reward.
- Preassigned Dates and Times - Each date and time value will be preassigned to one or more users of your choosing. This is useful for assigning set meeting times to groups of users.
- Preassigned - Each value will be preassigned to the associated user you provide. This is useful for providing assigned values like a shipment tracking number.
New Distributed Value Tasks
- How do I add Distributed Values to Content or Releases?
- How do I configure Automatically Assigned Distributed Values?
- How do I configure Self-Selected Distributed Values?
- How do I configure Preassigned Distributed Values?
Assigned Test Platforms (Available in Centercode Program Edition)
Assigned Test Platforms (ATP) is a brand new module within Centercode that allows test platforms to be better integrated into beta tests at the project level. ATP will allow testers to link the specific platforms being used in a beta test to the project itself, rather than attaching them to individual pieces of feedback. This will make their test platforms more readily available in views, filters, dynamic tags, and reporting. It also opens up completely new functionality. For example, you can then restrict users from testing with the same test platform in concurrent projects if that might result in version conflicts. And for products that utilize remote provisioning or firmware flashing (e.g., set-top boxes and mobile devices), requesting device-specific information like serial numbers in an ATP makes it possible to integrate with in-house provisioning systems to automate beta build distribution.
ATP includes a number of unique features that allow for very flexible implementations and a wide variety of uses. If you'd like to learn more about ATP (beyond the general documentation provided below), please feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a demo.
New Assigned Test Platform Tasks
- How do I enable Assigned Test Platforms for a Project?
- How do I setup an automated E-mail to help remotely provision my beta hardware?
Visual Polish and Theme Changes
We've made a large number of improvements to the overall look and feel of Centercode. For example, several consistency passes were made on common interface elements including success confirmation messages, page headings, and submit buttons, as well as general polish across nearly all interface elements. While everyone will benefit from these enhancements, customers using our basic themes instead of custom themes will see the biggest improvements. The basic themes have been significantly enhanced to provide a much-improved aesthetic.
Custom Themes Updates
As stated previously, an enormous amount of effort was put into updating our theme system to be much smoother across all of Centercode. Part of this upgrade included ground up revamps for all existing custom themes. Due to this (and other general improvements in this build), all themes will appear visually different in various ways, all of which we hope are more visually pleasing and user friendly. That said, if you are currently using a custom theme, and are not satisfied with some of the updates or would like additional changes made, please feel free to reach out to our support and we’d be happy to discuss and tweak to your liking (free of charge of course). While our goal was to better centralize our theme code to be much more consistent, we will still have no problem further customizing your theme to meet your needs.
Base String Updates and New Strings
Along with other visual improvements, many of our base strings have been updated to be more consistent across our toolset. Please note that if you’ve already customized these strings, our new base updates will not overwrite your own customizations. In addition, a number of brand new strings have been added. For example, for messages which indicate an action was completed successfully. For customers with heavily customized or self-localized implementations, we recommend that you browse through the site from both administrator and beta tester perspectives to ensure that all new strings meet your requirements. All strings may still be customized from within the Centercode String Management tools, but feel free to reach out of you have questions or need help in doing so. Upon request we can provide a list of all new strings to allow for easy importing.
Moving toward Mobile and away from IE6
In the near future we’ll be announcing our exciting plans for major improvements in accessing Centercode via mobile devices, including both tablets and mobile phones. In preparation for this new offering, as of this release (9.4) we are discontinuing support for Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 in Centercode. Within the last 2 years this has become a common practice amongst most web-based software companies due to the many compatibility, performance, support, and security issues this 10-year old browser causes. While we will not initially be restricting access from IE6 outright, we are recommending that users access Centercode from any supported browser of their choice, including Internet Explorer 7-9, Safari, Firefox, Opera, or (our favorite) Chrome. If you have any questions about this change and the effects it may have, please don’t hesitate to contact email@example.com.
Centercode Support Bar
Managers or internal teams will notice a new Centercode Support bar at the top of the screen when logged into Centercode. When clicked, the Support bar presents quick and easy access to Centercode support materials, including our new Community Forums. The ability to Request Help, Report a Bug, Suggest a Feature, visit our Blog, peruse documentation and Release Notes, and discuss beta testing with other Centercode customers is now only two-clicks away. If you'd like to hide the support bar, simply click Centercode Support and it will tuck away until you need it again. This setting will be retained between your login sessions.
Centercode Community Forums
The Centercode Community Forums are a new initiative, available exclusively for our customers, that creates a place for discussing both beta testing and Centercode Centercode. It's been a long-standing wish among our customers to have a community where they can interact with their peers at other companies, and now they'll have that opportunity. The Community Forums consist of four subforums:
- Ask the Community is intended for any questions you have about Centercode, beta testing, UAT/CAT, or any other relevant topic.
- Share Your Experiences is a place for our customers to share best practices, creative ideas, testing triumphs, and the occasional frustration.
- Feature Requests is dedicated to suggesting new features and functionality for Centercode.
- Centercode University is where we'll be posting advanced tutorials and innovative ideas to get more out of your Centercode implementations and improve your beta tests.
Additional Small Changes and Enhancements
- Forum threads can now be marked as read from a specific post onward. More information on how this is done can be found here. This will be useful for saving your place in long posts.
- Green confirmation messages have been revamped, and will also be much more consistent now.
- Button usage has been standardized and visually improved across the entire tool.
- Remove buttons throughout Centercode are now displayed as links.
- Removal pages throughout Centercode have been made more consistent and standardized (as well as provide better information on the item being removed in many cases).
- User interface layout has been reworked to be faster, cleaner, and more visually polished than ever before!
- Default strings have had a significant pass for consistency, grammar, and intent.
Additional 9.4 Release Resources
Centercode Dev Team