Becoming A WordPress Beta Tester WordCamp Columbus – June 2011
Who Am I? • Kim Parsell • Born & raised right here in Ohio • WordPress user/developer/tester since 2008 • Author of the WP Hide Dashboard plugin
Show of hands, how many here are: • WordPress users only? • Developers that use WordPress to build sites for others?Now, how many of you have: • Upgraded your WordPress install & it broke? (Yes, weve all had that happen, & we hate it when it does.) • Tested a new version of WordPress before it was released (beta, RC)?Hmmm, not too many hands on that last one....
Beta Tester Benefits: • Preview all the cool new features coming in the next release. • Test your plugins & theme to make sure theyll work right once you upgrade. • Developers, you can detect possible conflicts with client sites, begin working on solutions before the next release, not after. • Plugin & theme authors, you can troubleshoot potential bugs or conflicts, & prepare your next release.
Some WordPress numbers: • WordPress project leaders: 6 • Extended core team: 8 • Core contributors: - Version 3.1: 180 - Version 3.2: 101 (so far)For those keeping score, thats roughly 120-200 people working ona new release.
Compare that to: • 30+ million users with: - Thousands of hosting server configurations - Millions of possible theme/plugin combos • Potential for issues & conflicts: HIGHThe dev team & core contributors work hard, but they cannot testevery possible server configuration, or plugin/theme combination.They need help from people like you.
How do I get started? • Set up a separate WordPress install on your server to use for testing. (Running bleeding edge code on your live website is for experienced users only.) • Grab latest stable version (3.1.3) & install it in a subfolder, such as: http://yourdomain.com/testwp/ • Go to Settings/Privacy & check “block search engines” to keep your test install from getting indexed.
Now the fun begins • Install the WordPress Beta Tester plugin, by Peter Westwood: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wordpress-beta-tester/ • Activate the plugin, go to the settings page (Tools/Beta Testing) & select Bleeding edge nightlies. • To grab the latest code, click on the upgrade link & press the Update Automatically button. • Your test install just went from WordPress 3.1.3 to WordPress 3.2-RC1. Congratulations, you are now running bleeding edge WordPress code.
Take it for a spin • Kick the tires, honk the horn, test the turn signals, play with the radio. • In other words, put it through the paces. • Write posts, make test comments, upload media, add links, embed video, etc. • Do what you normally do with WordPress & see if you can break it.
Update your test install daily • Each night, a new version of the trunk code is zipped up & made available for download to testers. • Log into your test install, click the link in the footer, & update to the latest. • Take a spin through everything to make sure all is still working properly.
Oh my word, its broken. Now what do I do? • You may have found a bug. • Document what you were doing when it broke – details matter here, so include as much as possible. • Document the error message you got or the unexpected result you received. • Try to duplicate the error - do the same thing again, see if it happens twice.
Yep, it happened again • Try deactivating all of your plugins, switch back to the default theme, & try it one more time. • Did it still give you an error? If so, then youve possibly found a WordPress bug.
How Do I Report It? • First, read the WordPress Codex article on Reporting Bugs: http://codex.wordpress.org/Reporting_Bugs • Follow instructions carefully in 4.1 – Before You Report A Bug – to ensure that your problem really is a bug. • If youre new to beta testing, join the wp-testers mailing list, & send an email with the details of your issue. Others will be happy to help you sort out whether its a WordPress bug or not.
Houston, We Really Do Have A Problem • It truly is a bug, & nobody else has reported it yet. Time to submit a Trac ticket. • Log into Trac using your wordpress.org forum username & password. No account? Sign up at the forums & get one. • Fill out the form, providing as much information as possible so someone else can reproduce the issue. • Include your forum username in the CC: field. Click Preferences at top of Trac to include email address you want notifications to go to. • Submit the ticket, and...
Just kidding.The dev team & core contributors do closely monitor Trac for newticket submissions, & activity on existing tickets. • You will need to monitor the ticket (remember the CC field?) & provide any feedback requested. • If a patch is submitted, youll need to test it & let them know if it fixes your issue. Lather, rinse, repeat until the ticket is resolved.
What is this patch you speak of? • A patch is a file that lists changes to be made to program files in version-controlled software. • WordPress is managed via Subversion & uses Trac, an easy web-based project management & bug tracking system.
• Yellow – the 2 files being compared• Red – the lines to be removed• Green – the lines to be added
How do I create a patch? • The first thing youll need to do is download & install a Subversion (SVN) client. • For Windows users, TortoiseSVN is the hands-down easiest SVN client to use, & its free: http://tortoisesvn.net/ • For Mac users, there are several options: - Versions: http://versionsapp.com/ - Cornerstone: http://www.zennaware.com/cornerstone/ - SmartSVN: http://www.syntevo.com/smartsvn/
• Next, youll need to download a copy of the latest trunk code via your chosen Subversion (SVN) client.• Create a folder on your computer called wordpress-3.2-svn- trunk. Open that folder, right-click & choose SVN Checkout.
• Youll be presented with the checkout window. Enter the URL of the wordpress.org SVN repo in URL repository field.
• The files will begin downloading to that folder.
• Open the folder & find the file you need to change. Open it in your favorite plain-text editor. Do not use a rich-text editor such as Word or OpenOffice to edit the files.• Make the changes necessary, then save the file.• Youll notice that the green checkmark has changed to a red exclamation point. That means the file has been changed & is no longer in sync with the repo version.
• Time to make the donuts...errr, the patch file. Right-click, go to TortoiseSVN, and select Create Patch.
• A pop-up window will show you the list of changed files. Make sure the file(s) you want to include in the patch are checked, then click OK.
• Youll be prompted to save the file. Create a folder called patches, then type in filename you want to save it as. I use the format ticket#.patch.• The TortoiseUDiff editor will open & show you the patch file you just created.• You can then attach the patch to the bug ticket you created in Trac so it can be reviewed by the dev team & possibly committed.• Now wasnt that easy?
But I cant code... • Thats okay too! You dont have to be able to code to be a beta tester. • You can still test & report bugs, display issues in the admin interface, the default theme (currently Twenty Eleven), even typos, punctuation & capitalization errors. • Find them, fix what you can, submit a Trac ticket with a patch or without.
Bringing It Home • Beta testers != WordPress Whiners Club • Beta testing WordPress is a privilege & a responsibility. • Be constructive & thorough with your feedback. • Treat the dev team, core contributors & other testers with respect – youll get the same thing back from them. • Dont be discouraged if your ticket is closed as WONTFIX. Read their reasons, learn, keep on testing. • Be encouraged when your ticket is marked FIXED. You just helped make WordPress better!
Where you can find me: • Follow me on Twitter: @kimparsell • Find me at: http://kpdesign.net/Thanks for flying with WordPress today!
Were working on the next WordPress release, &we need people to test it.To help find bugs in the code so we can fix them.To check the new admin user interface for issues,& the new Twenty Eleven theme too.Because we want WordPress to be awesome, &work properly for everyone.But we need more testers...MOAR TESTERS!Youre going to help us, right? :)