An update on RT 4.0

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Congrats on the 3.9.4 beta, and on making a really hard choice. One of the reasons RT is so excellent is its excellent community, and the community is excellent because you’ve consistently supported it and kept its interests near to your heart.

Thanks for all your hard work!

–jOn Sep 28, 2010, at 9:47 AM, Jesse Vincent jesse@bestpractical.com wrote:

A good long time ago, I announced that we’d begun work on a massive
re-engineering effort to update and improve RT, replacing large
parts of the internals with a new web framework, overhauling the UI
and numerous subsystems inside the RT core. I told you that we’d be
releasing this as “RT 4” as quickly as we could, though it was a pretty
serious development effort. While we were always circumspect about
release dates, I hinted to a few of you that you might see RT 4 in
early 2008.

If you’ve ever come to one of our public RT developer/administrator
training classes, you’ll have heard me warn you never to trust a vendor
when they promise a release date, even if that vendor is me.

** If you haven’t ever come to one of our public training sessions, **
** we’re running one in Washington DC on October 25th and 26th. **
** You can find out more at http://bestpractical.com/training **

It should go without saying that we missed our original early-2008 target
date. As we worked, we discovered just how much bigger the project was
than we’d originally intended. At the same time, the RT 4 codebase was
different enough that users would probably have to completely rewrite
their local customizations and changes.

We’ve put a number of engineer-years into RT 3.999. It’s been difficult
to accept, but over the past six months we’ve come to the conclusion that
the RT 3.999 codebase isn’t going to be the next step in RT’s evolution.

That’s the bad news.

There’s some good news, too.

Since we first branched RT 4 development in late 2007 (before we released
RT 3.8), we’ve remained committed to RT 3. RT 3.8 has seen almost 2000
commits and approximately 250,000 lines of changes. Those changes run
the gamut from bug fixes to security improvements and major new features.

Over the past four months, we’ve been hard at work on RT 3.9, a new
development branch based on RT 3.8. Many of the features we’ve been
working on in RT 3.9 are driven by a generous and supportive customer,
but we’ve also been able to backport a number of features from our
original RT 4 effort.

As of today, some of the bigger features you can find in RT 3.9 are:

  • A new access-control editing UI
  • Performance improvements
  • Date custom fields
  • Timestamp custom fields
  • IP Address custom fields
  • IP Address Range custom fields
  • A new “ticket lifecycle” state engine
  • A mobile-optimized web interface
  • Browser-based theme and logo customization

We expect fast full-text searching on Postgres and Oracle, as well some
other cool features, to land in RT 3.9 within the next few weeks.

Later today, we will release RT 3.9.4, the first beta version on the
new road to RT 4.0.0. This is a DEVELOPMENT SNAPSHOT and not intended
for production deployment. It should be possible to upgrade your test
databases from RT 3.8.8 to RT 3.9.4. If you run into trouble, please
report it to rt-devel@lists.bestpractical.com.

** Sign up for the last RT admin/developer training of 2010! **
** Join us October 25 and 26th in Washington, DC. **
** In addition to the regular technical content, I’ll be talking **
** about RT’s future and showing you how to get started with RT 4. **
** You can find out more at http://bestpractical.com/training **

Before you do anything with RT 3.9, you should definitely read the
UPGRADING document, as it describes some fairly substantial changes.

We’re not yet promising that the APIs in 3.9 are stable or that
we’ve documented every problem and upgrade headache. That said,
we do want to hear about what you like (and what you don’t). Again,
rt-devel@lists.bestpractical.com is the right place to report such things.

You’ll have RT 4.0.0RC1 by December 25, 2010[1].

Best,

Jesse Vincent
Best Practical

[1] RC means “Release Candidate” – It’s important to note that I haven’t
promised a release date for RT 4.0.0. You just can’t trust vendors who
do that.


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