Here’s the big picture of our journey to Dgroups 2.
Alpha phase – at present we are making sure the Dgroups 2 platform allows one to perform all activities one is used to. Dgroups is all about email: consequently most of our work now is about tuning the new platform to offer what is needed to continue smooth operation mailing list operation.
This is purely software development and testing operation: we work against a list of requirements for the new platform making sure we cover all aspects of important functionality of the existing one. The work is divided in three functional areas: email, web user interface, and user profile features.
Beta test – as soon as we complete all the major features, we’ll open up the platform for an increasing number of existing Dgroups users to look around, try new things, see how their groups will look like.
At this stage, the platform will have all major functions available, but those will be rough around the edges. We’ll continue polishing and working as you look around. We’ll all communicate a lot about what you like or not and whether we’re missing something crucial that the majority of you were able to do with the old system. During this period, we’ll provide you with a copy of your data from the live Dgroups site, but only to look at – you will still use the existing live site to run your groups.
If you are feeling good about what you see and are tolerant towards technology, go ahead and create a few new groups using the new platform. Sure, it won’t be 100% finished, yet it won’t be crashing either.
Transition – when we’re sure it all works well, we’ll ask you not to create new groups on the existing live site, but to use the new one. Existing groups might still function on the old site for a while, but all new stuff goes through Dgroups 2. At this stage, we’ll have full support in place, all email messages will pass through the new platform and continue to the old one – thus the new one will be a mirror of whatever is going on with the current platform.
We want to give you some time to check the new platform and look around, learn the basics without pressure – your important groups will continue to run on the existing platform you already know so well.
Switch – once you get to know enough of the new platform to send and receive messages, approve new members, add resources, …, we’ll just flip the switch and immediately the new platform will start sending messages instead of the old one. All messages will already be there, we’ll copy all resources in advance. No downtime.
The Great Beyond – on February 20, 2009, we’ll shut down the old Dgroups system forever. That day on, we’ll work hard on new and exciting things to make Dgroups the best place on the Internet for international development community to conduct their dialogue.