2021

Anatomy of a Version Update

Thu, 24 Sep 2020

Releasing a new version of Orchid's modules requires a team effort. Find out a little about what's involved.
 

This is an updated version of an article we first published in October 2017 as we prepared for the v2018 release. It remains just as relevant today as we prepare for v2021.

We hope it helps to explain why new versions of Orchid modules aren't instantly available, and why they can't be backward-compatible with earlier versions of Sage 300.

The launch of a new major software version always represents a busy time for us at Orchid, and v2021 is no exception. As soon as Sage announces the release of their new version we start fielding enquiries from our customers about when the updated Orchid modules will be available, so we thought it would be timely to give an idea of what’s involved.

While we are forewarned that the new Sage 300 version is coming, the starting gun really fires for us when Sage announces the availability of their new modules, and we’ve taken delivery of the matching new Sage SDK (Software Development Kit). Only then do we have full visibility of what’s changed, and can start working on our own code.

What follows is several weeks of full-on work for our developers. For each of our modules we need to:

  • Step through all our code, modifying each reference to a Sage object so that the recompile will pick up the new version.
  • Check for any changes to the Sage objects (e.g. new fields), and make whatever changes are needed to our code for it to align.
  • Thoroughly test all aspects of our modules to ensure nothing has slipped through the cracks. This includes configuring our test environments with multiple ‘as at’ dates, so we can check that things like version expiry warnings work as expected, for both on-premises and subscription licenses.
  • Update our product documentation.

Only when all this is done can we package up the new version and load it into the Resources area of our website for our business partners to download. We need to repeat this process for each of the Orchid modules, so rather than doing a ‘big bang’ release, we prioritize modules based on business impacts to our customers, starting with EFT Processing.

Once the full suite of Orchid modules is ready we generate fresh activation codes for all sites with active licenses and distribute them via our registered business partners.

And all this is just for a straight ‘compatibility release’ to align with the new Sage 300 version, in addition to the coding and testing of our own enhancements.

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