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Blender Developers Meeting Notes

41

codeBlender 2.50 development planning inside!

Hi all,

2.5 scheduling

Meeting went over the previously proposed roadmap, for completeness I repeat all information here, but updated to reflect the meeting feedback.

A rough big picture for the next 11 months you find in this schedule:

2009-planning

click to enlarge

Some notes to understand the basics behind the proposed schedule:

  • Durian lasts either 6.5 or 9 months... we only know this early november. It means that some of our film development targets can shift a bit.

I've split the development targets basically in these milestones:

  • 2.5 beta 0: Get back at least what worked in 2.4x (with agreed exceptions, like some py im/export scripts)
  • 2.5 beta 1: Wrap up what's minimal required for 2.5 (Make a feasible pick of all things we need now, and what to do later.)

This then should be the (first) version usable for docs or books.

All of the other new development projects (bmesh, render, etc) move to after this deadline, which we define in three intermediate release steps, for example:

  • 2.5 beta 2: BMesh, modeling projects
  • 2.5 beta 3: Animation features
  • 2.5 beta 4: Render/composite features

Which (not coincidentally!) aligns with the durian project anyway. To celebrate a succesful Durian film we can then move to a 2.6 version in the summer after, which also should wrap up and complete all 2.5 projects and expectations.

Meeting agreed on officially make this a "2.5 series of beta releases". We also will work out a more faster way to number versions, for example to end this 2.5 beta series with a stable 2.6.

We also accepted to do more releases (official builds) this year... feasible should be three or four per year.

This schedule is still a topic for discussion on the bf-committers list, my aim is to try to get a good generic consensus on it. I'll also need to know all the other developer targets and predictions... like for the game engine, dynamics, video, sound, etc etc.

2.5 projects

These GSoC branches will now move to 2.5 trunk soon:

  • Collada
  • Python im/exporters
  • Raytrace optimize
  • OpenGL drawing optimize (VBO)

Benoit reports good progress on his new IK module.

William will work on an updated list of 2.5 UI todos, and check with Ton on a good planning to spread targets over the various beta milestones.

We will need 2.5 beta splashes! [See the ] proposed layout for splash screen.
As usual we'll involve blenderartists.org forum for submitting artwork; the previous three judges should each appoint another judge and inform me about it! Official announcement will follow.

Nathan points at his RedMine port of the Blender projects site: http://rm.letworyinteractive.com

You can already login there, get a new password and look around. Note that if you used your email address twice (or more) on projects.blender.org, your account hasn't been ported over yet.

-Ton-

About Author

Bart Veldhuizen

I have a LONG history with Blender - I wrote some of the earliest Blender tutorials, worked for Not a Number and helped run the crowdfunding campaign that open sourced Blender (the first one on the internet!). I founded BlenderNation in 2006 and have been editing it every single day since then ;-) I also run the Blender Artists forum and I'm Head of Community at Sketchfab.

41 Comments

  1. To clarify one matter: originally I proposed to just call the builds 2.5.0, 2.5.1, and so on... but to communicate the status well we'll include 'beta' in the name until we consider the 2.5 project stable, which can be already with beta2... :)

    -Ton-

  2. I like the layout of the 2.5 splash(by william i think). nice work. I like the recent files, and blender hotkey choice selection there.

  3. Indeed Ton, I've seen software developers demonstrate their nearly-final products but still label them as "pre-alpha" to clear out any negative impressions that this will be the final product. There will be a lot of eyes on the 2.5 release, so it's a wise decision to care about their first impressions of Blender.

  4. Nathan's RM site is down atm , no doubt adding updates & tweaking configs.

    Must say that I'm really liking the look of the current splash screen proposal.

    Any chance of adding in Houdini shortcuts to the splash screen as well?! The guys here are wondering if we can customise that element ourselves if need be! :D

    I also like the look of the (longer) schedule, more time=more polish=better end results!

    Beta's make sense .01 releases can come after it's been stabilised as Ton & co suggest.

  5. I would like to propose one more phase in the Durian-project, which is private testing of all dvd masters, before they go in production. There have been quite some mistakes with blender dvds in the past, which should have been obvious in a proper test phase with a dozen private testers. Confidentiality also wouldn't be a problem, if every beta tester would have to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) in prior, if you want extra security including a copy of an id card.

    I don't have to say who'll be your first applicant for private beta? ;)

  6. splash is awesome! haven't tested the new ui, but i hope it's a leap forward, although i like the current ui!
    i wish for some animation system updates (some of them are being worked by the blender devs!!) and more glsl.

    now, how about branding the supposed 2.5 version as 3.0?
    since most features are new/upgraded, this would be a perfect chance to match the python way of doing things ("there's _one_ way of doing something"). if someone has scripts that are not compatible with new modules he would be advised to use the stable 2.49x version. obsolete modules should be removed and the versioning scheme would be 3.0, 3.1, 3.2, etc to mark stable/concrete releases.

    above all, a big thanx to the blender developers/community for such a fine product!!

  7. Everything is sounding great! Having the 2.5 series as 'betas' is a good idea.

    The splash screen mock-up looks really cool! Would it be possible to have 5-10 different images that it changes between? (a different image every time you start up blender, similar to the BN header) Just seems like it would fit with the overall look of the splash screen.

  8. The Redmine site runs on a shared host, so has pretty much limited memory. This can lead to application errors when a lot of people are looking at the roadmap and the repository. This normally should be gone by just retrying the link again (maybe a few times).

    Main point for this test site is to see how it works in general regarding functionality, so please ignore the application outages.

    As a small addition to the account porting: all accounts have been ported, but retrieving lost password for emails that have been used for multiple accounts is not working yet. I'm working on a patch for that, so stay tuned.

    Most important features for the redmine installation are:
    * working search
    * roadmap/changelog based on issues+versions
    * release planning
    * better reporting possibilities.

    Also, if people have feedback about the redmine site, they can drop it either in here or maybe on IRC in #blendercoders or so. I'm still looking into how we can finetune it for optimal use.

  9. I think the splash screen idea is really great, though i think the final version should be tweaked a lot ;) (i am faithful that even without mentioning this here, the final result will be astonishing cool).
    It's really user friendly and looks more 'mature' than the old start up screen. that's just one more thing (idea) i love about the upcoming blender...

  10. blender's startup is fast and doesnt make sense to have a splash but now it makes total sense
    wow i like the options like hotkeys , left mouse,tutorial etc
    really one thing i want to see(and a lot of people) the option to change layouts(not maya 3dmax crapp)

    thank all of you for your hard work and patience
    (sorry my bad english lol)

  11. I knew it was going to be Beta release due to the facts that the new goodies are still in development.

    2.60 will be the main release that will take on the 3d arena Oh! boy this is going to be a good ride!

    note: I have a secret!,I have a secret!.Nope I'm not telling.

  12. New splash looks great. I totally agree with "Links" and "Recent files" part, but "Hotkeys" & "Select with"? This should be definitely in program settings.

    The logic is clear - every time i run program i may decide to open other file, Links belongs to program info. But how often do I change my Hotkeys settings or Mouse select button? Only once (immediately after instalation :D). This feature could work for some DEMO purposes like Siggraph, not for common user, so it should be way to disable it (or enable it - by program parameter or in options), or customize whole splash screen.

    Splash screen should be as simple as possible and I thing that links and recent files is enough and there is no need to mix it with settings part.

  13. The splash seems unnecessary, you should be able to change your "select with" and shortcut keys from the User Preferences window. Your recent files should be in the File menu and the links should be in the Help menu.

  14. LOL...... years and years waiting for 2.5 and 2.5 won't be at all :-))))
    2.5 has became 2.5 beta and, as the 2.5 beta series ends and you'd expected 2.5 stable ------> you got 2.6 instead :-P

  15. I'm a bit confused about the whole naming scheme, it seems to be going in a totally different direction from the last few years. Based on that scheme, we would have "2.50 beta, 2.50 beta2, 2.50 RC..." until the final release 2.50, then start working on 2.51... But now they're going to RELEASE "2.50 beta, 2.50 beta2" until the final release 2.6?? Or is the plan to release 2.50 (2.5 beta 1), 2.51 (2.5 beta2) until 2.6? In that second case, it seems like the releases would not hold up to Blender standards.

    Perhaps that large splash screen should show up by default, but users can disable it (and go back to the 2.4x - style splash) if they wish. One of the advantages to blender is the <1 sec time between clicking to start up blender, and actually starting to work.

  16. Well lets compare with Gimp.
    They have stable and unstable versions. Like the current 2.7x is a development version, which will be stable in 2.8x.
    It's a bit the same here, 2.5 beta's as development versions and then the stable 2.6 series.

  17. I think that by convention the 'Open' button ought to have an ellipsis, i.e. 'Open...', indicating that it will launch a file-choosing dialog.

    I like the splash screen as proposed, though I would probably uncheck that 'Show this window when Blender starts' option pretty quickly. There is definitely a tension between being welcoming to new users and encouraging them to really learn the software, not just run it via the 'helpful hints' screens. I'm sure we're all aware that a lot of user feedback outside of the hardcore central community has wanted to move toward a more friendly user experience. Personally, I quite like blender's resemblance to the 'vi' of 3D apps, but one checkbox on a new install is a concession I'm willing to make.

  18. the new naming convention doesn't make sense. So they're using the 2.5 series to make betas?

    wouldn't it be better to have 2.5 beta 1, 2.5 beta 2, etc. And then release a final 2.5?

    If blender 3.0 will be "the perfect" 3d application, isn't 2.6 too close to that number.

    2.5 has been announced as a mayor release, people are expecting 2.5 to be the real deal, not an incomplete product. I know the betas will be great, but I would be careful not to break expectations with 2.5.

  19. I like the idea behind the new splash screen. People new to blender will be able to start using it with their favorite shortcuts without having to find the settings. More advanced users can deactivate it.

  20. Will the "Manual" and "Tutorials" links point to a 2.5 manual and 2.5 tutorials? If not, it might be a good idea to wait until those links are listed in the splash. Looks great, though. However, it's no longer a splash screen, it's a startup screen (which I think is a great idea). What will users see if they elect to not see the startup window? Maybe the same window can be displayed but sized vertically so the additional options aren't visible.

    quote:
    ------------------------
    * 2.5 beta 1: Wrap up what's minimal required for 2.5 (Make a feasible pick of all things we need now, and what to do later.)

    This then should be the (first) version usable for docs or books.
    ------------------------

    That's good info to keep in mind, thanks.

  21. nice! that startup screen looks really professional. does this mean we'll get normal realeses now, instead of for ex. the 2.4x series lasting 4 years?!

  22. I agree with j09, I find the naming confusing.
    After a beta, I would expect a final version, so after
    2.5 beta 1(=2.50 beta 1), 2.5 beta 2 (=2.50 beta 2) etc, there should be a final version 2.5 (or 2.50), NOT 2.6.

    It works this way for most projects (Firefox 3.5 beta followed by Firefox 3.5, or Ubuntu 9.04 alpha 1,2,3,4,5 followed by Ubuntu 9.04 RC followed by Ubuntu 9.04). Why not have a Blender 2.5 final??
    Everybody expects Blender 2.5, and there won't be one! Just beta versions!

  23. So 2.5's a flippin' beta release? Make the release date later, I don't care, but please don't give us a beta release. Seriously. Have it come out in January even, if it means a stable release.

    On the other hand, we users don't understand dev-notation. the 2.4x series could have been all betas, for all we know. Maybe 2.5 will be what we hope it to be, we just don't understand 'cause we've never seen a dev-schedule before.

    EDIT: Oh cool, you can edit your posts!

  24. I'm of the opinion that the Beta releases are a very good idea. The only stumbling block with it is that you have to clear up any misconceptions about the quality of the builds.

    On another note, I tend to think that it would be better to finish with a 2.5 final, rather than jump straight to 2.6 stable. Again, this is about perceptions. The whole community has been on the edge of their seats for the 2.5 series. Even though the functionality would be there, to then skip the 2.5 series to jump straight to 2.6 would be an anti-climax.

    .....in my opinion. =)

    Please note, I am incredibly proud of Ton, Brecht and the rest of the team for all the efforts they're putting in. Its incredible to watch this unfold. I stand in awe of your leadership and 1337 programming s|<1LLz!

  25. This is a great roadmap, but i do feel the final release should be 2.5 and NOT 2.6. We would like to have a stable 2.5 release (forgot about odd and even release for development and production ready version). If needed we can have beta relases with "2.49 beta xx" and finally jump to 2.5 with bugfixs. But try to have the final release as 2.5. Secondly, startup screen idea is good but we dont need to force it everytime, may be the first time after installation would do.

  26. I like the idea of using phases in the naming convention.

    2.50phase1:(whats working in 2.4x)
    2.50phase2:(minimal required for 2.5)
    2.50phase3:(modeling)
    2.50phase4:(animation)
    2.50phase5:(compositing)

  27. Please give the 2.5 release line a name that reflects the quality of the build. I.e. only call something a beta if it is of lower quality than that of the 2.4x series of releases. If it is the same quality then don't confuse us by calling it beta.

    If the quality is not as good as we have come to expect then the beta label makes sense.

  28. A 2.5 beta should end in 2.5. or 2.50. Jumping to 2.6 is a bit random, especially when you look at the previous 2.4x versions. Also I'd expect not a 2.5 but a 3.0 beta series that ends in a 3.00 final release looking at this being a (almost?) complete rewrite of blender.

    So personally I think going from 2.5 beta series to 2.6 a bit weird and not very logical. Of course the version naming is arbitrary and its the app itself that counts, but you get the idea. People will download the latest version anyway.

    But if the supposed beta is actually a fully functional version it should be not a beta. Choices, choices.

    2.50 Beta1
    2.50 Beta2
    2.50 Beta3
    2.50 (Final)
    2.50.1 (fixes, yeh drop the a,b's and c's)
    2.51 (new releases)

    Or make blender 3.

  29. @gundampilot - "The splash seems unnecessary, you should be able to change your "select with" and shortcut keys from the User Preferences window. Your recent files should be in the File menu and the links should be in the Help menu"

    I`m pretty sure that the recent files will be available also in the file menu but having them on the splash screen can save your some time. The same thing is with the hotkeys. You can access them through the preferences menu at any time but if you`re a newbie, you just change the hotkeys from the splash screen and you don`t have to dig through menu. Sounds user friendly to me.

    Sorry for my English ;P

  30. SeanJM thank you.

    I tend to think in overly present world situations.
    If you gonna make mention of max , maya and modo.( of which ruled my 3d career).

    Please do an XSI hotkey and theme to nab up us old XSI guys please?

    with a cherry on top a cherry? If not just stick with pure Blender hotkeys and temps.

    Assuming these are by default.

    Again to all the blender DEVs good work. I to will try to follow the foundations model of doing friendly work, with our first video game using the blender game engine.

    cheers...

  31. Pah! I'll repackage it as 2.5. And have an optional "0" for all who want it. We 2.50'ers shall have our cake and eat it in paste form. Because that's how it'd come out of a blender.

  32. "but 'Hotkeys' & 'Select with'? This should be definitely in program settings."

    "The splash seems unnecessary, you should be able to change your 'select with' and shortcut keys from the User Preferences window."

    I disagree.. a lot ;). This is a startup page. Probably a one time startup page. This is the first thing new users see. The greatest barrier to any new program is relearning keys to similar functions. The right select/left place option is the other huge barrier to blender uptake, so having a left select/place option is great up front. That's is though, the rest is intuitive thanks to the new ui stuff.
    People assume defaults are the way the program works. This is clearly indicate that anything you don't like in blender can probably be changed.
    Also this layout has a nice gap for any other basic options that a new user needs to decide on before learning it. Maybe a 4 pane/single pane?
    The keys selector is number 1 on my obligatory idea's list :D http://blenderartists.org/forum/showthread.php?t=167553

  33. "•2.5 beta 0: Get back at least what worked in 2.4x (with agreed exceptions, like some py im/export scripts)"

    Wait a second, i'm confused by what you mean by this. Will 2.5 beta 0 be recognizable as a 2.5 release, or will it just have all the same functionality as a 2.4x?

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