A thought on version numbering

Just want to say what an amazing piece of software that SuiteCRM is - 'really appreciate all the hard work that went into it.

I think the latest release (7.9) really should be called 8.0. From a user standpoint it’s a HUGE change in workflow and UX.

I know from a coding standpoint there are reasons why you choose a major number upgrade, but I think a lot of folks may have held off on upgrading to the latest release if they knew it would be such a huge change – perhaps waited till a .1 update came out. (Me for instance)

Pretty minor point I know but something I think is worth considering

You are absolutely right! I would have checked more carefully what’s new in an 8.0-version, and i would definitively have waited before upgrading to this version.

From now on i will create a babckup-script that saves a timestamped db-dump and a copy of the suitecrm-directory. Would have saved a lots of trouble if i had had that before…

From my perspective as someone who spends a lot of time here, those signals were given in several ways:

  • there was a lot of previous discussion on the key trouble issues with this upgrade; we were warned.

  • 7.8 was declared a Long Term Support version, knowing that some people would have to stick with it longer

  • the release notes have a few pointers about extra steps and about deprecation of the SuiteR theme

  • there was a Beta version (not all upgrades have this)

  • there was a Release Candidate version (not all upgrades have this)

However, I seem to observe that many people did not get these signs at all (and I’m not saying it’s their fault, I’m just observing). It seems many people look at Betas as “something some geeks are kindly testing for me” and actual releases as “now it’s time for me to upgrade!”.

So surely there is room to improve but it’s some combination of

  1. it would have been great if some nasty bugs had been caught earlier

  2. finally getting out a version of SuiteP that is spaced for desktops and for screen-density - this is relatively low-effort compared to all the grief it causes

  3. the community needs to understand better what SalesAgility expects of them in terms of Beta / RC testing

  4. I’ve seen some people here who use risky maintenance strategies (no test servers, upgrades without proper backups) that add to the problems. This adds quite a lot of anxiety to the process. Let’s hope those people also improve their processes in the future.

  5. people need to read release notes before installing!

The part that interests me most is number 3 - apart from several ongoing efforts to add more automatic tests, it would be great if more serious human testing in the real-world took place for these riskier upgrades. Maybe with some more community organization and communication we could get something going in this regard…

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One thing for me is that I just found out about SuiteCRM after working with SugarCRM, so I was unaware of your first point.

re: #3 - I think as SuiteCRM can be a bit fidgety to install, people may be less inclined to set up a 2nd install to fully test betas. I’ve installed lots of open source packages and Sugar/Suite has been the most challenging to get up and running. Contrast this with Wordpress (which does infinitely less things) where installing can take like 10mins tops.

Perhaps there could be an accessible beta-test instance set up so we all could log-in and futz about with it so it would be easier to give feedback on new UX approaches, etc?

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There are online demos of SuiteCRM (hosted by SalesAgility and Softaculous), but they don’t usually install the Betas, just the main releases.

But some of the critical things like Email aren’t easy to test from public demos at all… the truth is SuiteCRM is a complex system which people use in many, many different ways, and it’s hard for you to be sure something serves you until you’ve really set it up for your users, with your data.

But I think the key to the easiness of testing lies with Virtualization. I have about 10 different SuiteCRM VM’s, and if you count all the snapshots that I’ve reverted I must have tried about 100 installs. Revert to a snapshot takes 5 seconds and is an excellent process for downgrading back to something that works, in case you get in trouble… :slight_smile:

With time, we’ll get all of these processes improved, and make the app less “fidgety”, as you put it. But it takes time, I guess.

Thanks for sharing your impressions.

As a new user, I wanted to say that after testing version 7.9 I decided to use 7.8.4 for production (while keeping 7.9 installed to help with bug fixes).

Before reading this forum, I was not aware of the history behind 7.9 nor the long term status of 7.8 since I just went straight to the main website https://suitecrm.com/

The main page advertises 7.9 and the download page puts it first as the latest version. 7.8.4 is available just underneath but there isn’t really any reason a new user would assume 7.9 is not the current stable version.

Thing is that I think 7.8.4 should be the current stable version and 7.9. still in RC – this is not a criticism, since 7.9. has a lot of changes so it is normal it will take time to get it to stable. But at the minimum some extra info on the download page would be good for new users I think.

Thanks for all the good work!

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