Many software developers use CodeMeter Runtime and encrypt their applications with AxProtector. They want to know when new innovations or changes to their encryption software or the licensing technology for their products will be available.
At Wibu-Systems, all software development is coordinated with a planned release date in mind. New features are introduced at the earliest possible point in the process. This leaves more time for testing the new features. Time is also needed to update technical documentation with all of the new innovations in user manuals and help documents.
Apart from adding new features, a great part of software development is given to maintaining the existing product. This is a continuous process: Signatures need to be updated and the requirements of new operating systems need to be implemented. Patented technologies, like SmartBind for binding activation processes to specific machines, need to be tested for their compatibility with new OS versions. The mechanisms must function correctly and smoothly, and developers need to check whether the new operating systems have introduced features that could improve the binding process.
Better Safe than Sorry
Product quality comes from the development phase, not later testing. However, testing is essential in order to be sure that the new features or bug fixes did not introduce new flaws in some other area in the product. With this in mind, Wibu-Systems conducts automated testing for all versions coming out of the build system. Every nightly build goes through hours of automated test scripts on several systems to check whether the software behaves as expected. And software features are not the only thing to be tested so scrupulously: different CmDongle types are tested in conjunction with this process as well.
For software development, the start of the final tests represents the end of the development phase proper. For the testing team, it is the signal to get busy. Before the final tests commence, the best combination of differently scaled test formats for different operating systems is defined in a special matrix. This keeps the testing efforts to a manageable size, while ensuring coverage for the various OS versions (32-bit vs. 64-bit, real vs. virtual machines). All tests are processed manually and in line with the defined testing schedule. At the same time, specially qualified testers conduct compatibility tests with older versions of the software.
The Gamma Phase
The work pays off: Display errors are common as the new design of a web interface might look ‘off’ in some language versions, or a new term has not been localized at all. Developers are ready to remedy these problems immediately. After the software has gone through the first extensive test and is stable and looking good, the gamma phase gets under way. In this phase, interested clients have the opportunity to install a pre-release version to test how well the new version works with their own software. Their feedback is included in any late changes to the product.
On the Launch Pad
The first release candidate is developed after these extended tests have been completed. From this stage onwards, only minor changes requiring tiny interventions in the code are allowed, and even then only after intensive scrutiny. The shipping tests start at the same time as manual, focused tests that check and verify the results of the previous, more expansive tests. Once these are passed, product management clears the release, and the new version is ready for our clients approximately four to six weeks after the commencement of the final tests.
Waiting for the Next Release
Wibu-Systems publishes its two flagship products CodeMeter and AxProtector simultaneously, which reflects how closely related and interconnected the two products are. There are two regular release dates every year, at the end of March and the end of October.
Immediately after the release of CodeMeter, the final tests for CodeMeter License Central get under way, so that the back office solution for the distribution of licenses to end users can release the new license features as soon as possible. Testing and release takes approximately four weeks.
Quick Bug Fixes
In the unlikely case that a bug manages to slip past the testers and only gets discovered in the field, an immediate response is essential. A remedy is found, and a new release is built and sent through an accelerated final testing process. This process checks the specific bug fixes before moving on to the shipping tests. A service release of this type can be made public within one week or less.
KEYnote 32 – Edition Fall 2016