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Beta Testing

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What level of interest would there be in setting up a dedicated “Beta Testing” area here at CadTutor?

 

Several CadTutor members have developed AutoCAD add-ons for public distribution, hosted here and/or at sites such as Autodesk Exchange. The early life cycle of such apps would benefits from testing by users, both experienced and novice. (Developers are notoriously bad at testing their own software. :unsure:)

 

There would be several issues with which to contend, many of them similar to issues discussed in this thread as related to the Application Archives sub forum. (Incidentally, I think the officially sanctioned Autodesk Exchange site has cost the Application Archives forum some traffic.)

 

One of the critical issues raised in that previous discussion revolved around the access/requirement of source code – as opposed encrypted/compiled. I suspect that having access to the source code would be fairly rare. Much of the beta testing, as I envision the process, would be for paid apps. Conceivably those developers would prefer the code remain proprietary. As a matter of fact, some of the testing may relate directly to the licensing routine/algorithms.

 

What new issues would this raise? Compensation for tester may be a common concern, though, I suppose that could be set by the developer. What do we think?

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What might be the impact on CadTutor?

 

With regard to the viability of this site:

 

It could be done at Autodesk.Discussions, but there may be other liability implications given the connection to the mother ship. I suspect that Autodesk would prefer to just deal with Apps very close to publication; only providing the Bundling/Installation packaging services in preparation for their hosting the app at the Exchange.

 

Theswamp.org has the beta testing culture built right in, but the developer/developer interaction avoids many of the pitfalls (i.e., important feedback) that developer/user would encounter.

 

CadTutor encompasses the full spectrum of AutoCAD expertise. Great for providing feedback to a developer. It may also encourage 'less than expert' AutoCAD user to participate in beta testing knowing that they could get UI help even if the developer is off-line.

 

As previously discussed here, a blanket disclaimer would need to be instituted to isolate CadTutor from any Developer/Tester disputes.

That notwithstanding, compensation to CadTutor is certainly not out of the question.

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Definitely not a lot of interest.

 

Am I missing other venues for beta testers? Do you (developer members) have other methods and/or user groups that assist in early project development? Care to share?

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I would not mind testing some add-ons and such for others as I do not develop myself.

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I'm just passing through to say that this is a very interesting topic, Sean; as soon as I get a major submittal done, I'll have time to share some thoughts, and personal experiences on this.

 

Cheers

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Cool. I have some stuff working, the most immediate being a 2015 version of the Text To Geometry routine. I had to fix a couple of issues, and I'd like to make sure there are no others before re-submittal. I'll post the bundle package later today.

 

There is also an 'Unroll Developable Surface' routine in development. I'd need a lot of feedback on that, given that I hope to eventually post it as a paid app. We'll see.

 

I still think CadTutor would make an excellent beta testing portal for Exchange apps. Maybe this is a start.

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Definitely not a lot of interest.

 

Am I missing other venues for beta testers? Do you (developer members) have other methods and/or user groups that assist in early project development? Care to share?

 

 

 

I think you will find plenty of testers but your posts seemed to be directed towards CADTutor and the logistics of using it a resource for this type of thing.

 

 

Personally, I would love to test things but do not want to commit to anything as the timing and the type of testing is going to affect my availability and/or ability to test.

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I think you will find plenty of testers but your posts seemed to be directed towards CADTutor and the logistics of using it a resource for this type of thing.

 

 

Personally, I would love to test things but do not want to commit to anything as the timing and the type of testing is going to affect my availability and/or ability to test.

 

Despite my post #6, the purpose of this thread is really about the viability of having a central location where developers could interact with a large body of users who have already demonstrated a willingness to seek/provide feedback. (Any beta postings I make will not be in the Feedback forum)

 

I think the goodwill already established by the CadTutor site would be comforting to all parties – if, indeed, DW is interested.

 

I am often out of contact for long periods; it would be nice to know that a troubled beta user could get prompt support from the CadTutor community at large.

 

I’m not exactly sure how a Beta Testing sub forum would be setup. I could see some developers/developmental efforts requiring only a few testers – perhaps needing some way to choose/limit the participation. Other programmers may beta test licensing schemes – necessitating the transfer of personal/financial information; others may be to test non-traditional ways of monetizing software.

 

It's a brave new world, but a little scary at the same time. A forum that documents this part of the Autodesk Exchange developmental process could be a valuable resource.

Edited by SEANT
grammar

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I think it would be far simpler than you're anticipating, and no additional dedication of resources, etc. will be needed from this forum.

 

Just post your work as a 'show your stuff'-like thread, in the LISP or VBA/.NET forum (unless there's a more applicable forum that I am unaware of?), and politely ask others to offer feedback... Several members have done this here and elsewhere when they come up with something new, or a new version of an older routine, etc.

 

You're not really asking for anything different here, and methinks it unlikely that you're going to be able to pick and choose participants from an all volunteer membership.

 

... My $0.01 (I'm still busy... Err... Overwhelmed with work, and needed +/- 2 minutes away from this never ending project!).

 

 

 

Cheers

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. . . . Just post your work as a 'show your stuff'-like thread, in the LISP or VBA/.NET forum (unless there's a more applicable forum that I am unaware of?) . . . .

 

 

I suppose that alone would be a good start. Something that was not so language based.

 

 

The issue that set me off was licensing. A developer may have a routine that they prefer remain proprietary. An open invitation to software that had a faulty licensing scheme could be a disaster. Limiting access would mitigate the risk.

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Incidentally, I have used 'Show your Stuff' on several occasions. Mixed results.

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Having been involved in commercial development the licensing is always a big issue, the phone call having problems turned out to be trying to load the software on a friends computer without paying.

 

The other thing is this software I have developed every man and his dog will want it, 2 copies later !

 

Like you and others I have posted a lot of stuff that I consider is missing in CIV3d got like one reply.

 

I suggest the plan of attack maybe here is a big wish list of stuff or what exists now would anyone be interested ? Then build a client base start low cost and as more is added so is price. Start with a google add on describing your software bundle makes sure you have the words Free download, finds free first.

 

Ps I have used your text to geometry and its great.

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Thanks Big Al. The ‘Text to Geometry’ routine remains as my biggest seller – if I can say that about a free app. I’m having a hell of a time, though, getting a 2015 update posted due to a couple of somewhat obscure bugs. I think I have everything sorted out, but I’ve thought that before only to have the Exchange find one more issue. Bottom line is that I don’t have the reason, or resources, to run that routine on all possible setups.

 

All in all, not too tough of a situation with a free app. I’ll just post it somewhere here or at theswamp.org and monitor whatever feedback ensues. It doesn’t really matter if that cost me a couple of additional downloads at the Exchange.

 

 

I think Kean Walmsley at Through the Interface mentioned that the Exchange's current sweet spot in pricing was ‘free’. While I do see the value in ‘good will’, a developer would like to think that the process has more potential than that.

 

Exchange Apps deal with a different type of customer than Mobile/Phone apps. Would ‘in app purchases’ work with AutoCAD users? Or ‘Nagscreens’? Or something totally different? Those types of questions could also be addressed/discussed in this new sub forum I’m suggesting.

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Probably the most succesfull I can think of was the LT lisp enabler, unfortunately we know what happened to that. The other poster here who is developing a civil suite surfaces, cross and long sections etc is on the right track but there are other low or free ones out there.

 

One way to market succesfully would be to only do so many, want the unlimited well you pay a small fee. If you want to pursue commercial I would compile to restrict freebie distribution. Something I have been meaning to do was compile a list of all my programs with description, so make some free others if you want again you pay. Or like Lee-mac try donation like shareware if happy please pay.

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Thanks Big Al. These are the types of issues that all developers would find interesting. Wouldn't it be nice to see a breakdown on the level of success for each monetization method.

 

A paid app would likely find it difficult to compete against a free app. The developer of a free app, though, would probably limit how much of their own resources the were willing to devote. The user of a free app may be willing to pay $$ for a more complete service. Kind of a tough cycle.

 

A variation on that dilemma may be driving the multitude of new ways to generate income from phone/mobile apps. Choosing the right one could be critical.

 

I could see an app's comprehensive beta test including several different forms of introductory modes and/or fee generation.

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Is that to say you were a beta tester during Civil 3D 2011 development?

 

I participated in the initial Rhino 3D development. Pretty interesting. A lot of forward and backward movement while McNeel and crew sorted the program out. McNeel set up a Newsgroup just to contain all the communication.

 

At the end of it all Rhino 1.0 (around 1998 ) was offered to all beta testers for 1/4 the eventual sticker price. Pretty good deal all around.

Edited by SEANT
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No Seant pre Autocad architecture just run on my Civil 3d platform, draws walls, doors windows in smart ways.

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I'm happy to facilitate this in whatever way you think is appropriate. If you think we need a new forum on the board for beta testing, that can easily be set up. Just PM me and let me know.

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