Our Beta 2 was made available on the website last week and the press release went out this Tuesday with headline " IBM Announces Next Symphony; Quarter-Million Registered Users in Two Months" (http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/22611.wss
). The development team has certainly been enjoying the enormous response from the community. Many people have downloaded Beta 2 since last week, we have already seen valuable feedback on Beta 2 from the community. Thank you very much!
People asked what's in the Beat 2 release, and here let me try to give a summary of Beta 2 content.
In the Beta 2 release, we have made improvements in a number of areas including installation, performance, stability, usability and quality.
Installation -- The installation is now a one click install, just click on the downloaded install file and the install begins. This simplified process eliminates installation difficulties some users had with Beta 1 because users needed to look for setup.exe after the self-extracting zip file is inflated.
Icon View & Background page -- Users have complained that there are too many Symphony icons on desktop and Start menu. Now with Beta 2, you will see one single Symphony icon after the installation as oppose to 3 application icons in Beta 1. When you launch Symphony, you will see a Home page from which you can launch any of the 3 applications, go to the Symphony website for more information or directly to the Support Forums to join discussions.
Performance -- We have made performance improvement in Beta 2 around presentation document loading and saving, for both the Microsoft Powerpoint presentations and Open Office presentations (ODP). For example time to load a Powerpoint file is reduced up to 50%, and time to save a Open Office presentation file is reduced up to 40%.
Stability -- Some code refactoring has been done to make the infrastructure more robust and stable. A number of application crash issues have been resolved and fixed in the code as well.
Usability -- There is a number of usability enhancement for all three editors. Just to list a couple here. We added two new icons in the drawing toolbar, the "Select" icon and the straight "Lines" icon. Landscape printing is now supported in Symphony Spreadsheets. And demoting/promoting numbers & bullets level inside a textbox is supported in Symphony Presentations.
Quality -- A big number of bug fixes made into Beta 2, couple of hundred bugs have been fixed as matter of fact.
We just got Beta 2 out the door, and the development team is already heads-down doing the work for Beta 3. You have helped us prioritizing Beta 3 release candidates. The focus of Beta 3 is providing National Language Versions of Symphony, and some of feature enhancement from the list (http://symphony.lotus.com/software/lotus/symphony/supportThread.jspa?threadID=3184&tstart=0
) will be included in Beta 3 as well based on community feedback.
We are planning on shipping Beta 3 soon (yes, we are going Agile!). Please stay tuned...