Our latest release
On the night of August 29th, we put a new release in place. Usually we like to give you a list of all the exciting things you can do with the new release. Usually our releases have new features, tweaks and things our customers have asked for. Unfortunately this isn’t one of those releases. Sure, there are a few things in here that you might enjoy, but mostly this release was something we needed to do.
We got a little behind. We built our system over 7 years ago and have made a lot of incremental improvements since. But, the technology underneath our system has been growing up around us.
A couple weeks ago the Firefox group released version 6 of their browser. Upon testing the system we noticed that the editor that is used to build most of your pages didn’t work in Firefox. It was already having some issues in Chrome and Safari so we needed to upgrade. But to upgrade that component meant we needed to upgrade other things.
So we put our heads down and worked hard to upgrade our platform from the 7-year-old .Net 1.1 Framework to the .Net 4 Framework. To do this, we had to touch just about every one of the over 200 web pages that make up our complete Content Management System.
This is probably the biggest release we’ve ever done to our system, even without any major feature announcements. I know that it didn’t do a lot of things for you, but it was hard work for us and we’re feeling very proud of it.
As you can imagine, this isn’t the kind of thing you do without a large share of potential problems. So, we spent a lot of time over the past two weeks trying everything. We ran the whole system through its paces. And we’re glad we did. We found some issues that were introduced thanks to our changes. We found some issues that have been around for some time. We kept testing until we felt like we’d caught everything we could.
But it’s almost impossible to find everything. You guys do things with the system that we have trouble anticipating. So all day today we watched carefully. We watched for tickets in our support site. We watched for errors in our error log. (Did you know that every time you or one of your users receives an error message we track that and do our best to incorporate fixes?)
Well, I’m happy to say that we think we’ve got most of the bugs fixed and that we did it all without your website being down for more than 30 total minutes. We had 5 minutes of time today (around 2 pm Central) where sites weren’t working unexpectedly. We had about 3 minutes where Ministry home pages weren’t working. We had a few issues with emails not being sent out of the system. But as of right now, we are tracking down only 2 last issues and hope to have them fixed by tomorrow.
What’s in it for you? Well, we’re using Microsoft’s latest web technology to power your site. That should mean faster sites. That should mean fewer bugs. Hopefully that means a better experience for you and your visitors.
But there are a few improvements baked into the new stuff. These include:
- Our new editor is really pretty slick.
- It should work in every major browser.
- You can now click a button to open in full screen mode.
- The image manager is greatly improved including an image editor.
- We added the ability to upload thumbnails with your Ministry and feature a ministry as a highlight.
We’ll be working on our normal round of improvements coming up to the system. Plus, we’re already working on our next major release. Internally we’re calling it “iMinistries 2.0” and I can’t express just how excited we are about it. We’re building the whole site again from the ground up to be faster, cleaner and more flexible than ever. Some of the highlights of what we’ve already done include much greater design flexibility, total integration with social media sites like Facebook and Twitter and version control. When we’re ready, we’ll provide some sneak peeks.
As much as I’m expressing our pride in what has been done, we’re not proud that any of you found bugs or had issues today. We are sorry for that. As usual, our customers have been gracious and understanding. Thank you for that. And, thank you for your continued business.