February is nearly over and so we are getting ready to release the ObjectDock 2 BETA.
Here's a quick status report on where things stand:
General Objectives of the ObjectDock 2 BETA
A lot of our development effort for ObjectDock 2 has gone into revamping the plumbing of ObjectDock to support 64-bit and Windows 7/Vista more natively.
The current ObjectDock works on Windows 7 and Windows Vista but some of the functionality either gets disabled or is flaky (the system tray and start menu features for example). Needless to say, the updated more secure architecture of Windows 7 and Vista made some of these features more difficult.
So one of the first things we're going to be looking for is how well this works.
Secondly, there are a "ton" of new features rolling into ObjectDock 2. Some of these features will be available in 2.0 and others will roll out over subsequent months as we nail down getting said features to function identically on Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 and then 64-bit versions of the latter two.
This next week I plan to put up a guided tour of the ObjectDock 2 beta and outline what is expected to be in by v2.0 and what we plan to put in in subsequent updates.
User Feedback Effects
The feature set of ObjectDock 2.0 is already set. In addition, the feature set of v2.1 and v2.2 has already been outlined internally. What we will be looking for from beta testers are what kinds of things they would like to see added during the v2.x generation of ObjectDock.
Originally our plan was to release the first beta of ObjectDock 2 this past Thursday. Unfortunately, a number of elements have not come together yet that we need to release the beta.
These elements are:
1. Assets. We are replacing the backgrounds, icons and other visuals for the v2.0 launch. I've made it clear to Stardock Design that I expect these assets soon but their schedule has been very tight with new projects from HP and Dell. That said, at some point in the next couple weeks if we don't have them, we'll put out the beta with the art assets we already have.
2. The new configuration. The lead developer of ObjectDock (and the same person for the past several years, Jeff Bargmann) has developed a pretty amazing configuration system for ObjectDock 2. This new system was necessary in order for us to realistically continue to add features withou the UI looking like a complete hack (i.e. like ObjectDock 1).
The delay in finishing the configuration has been due to me asking for Jeff's help on updating the architecture for ImpulseReactor that we are debuting at GDC in the first week of March. Once he's finished that, he'll be able to return fully to ObjectDock 2 to finish this part.
Once item #2 is complete, we will put out the beta regardless of whether item 1 is complete or not. However, we won't release the final v2 without the assets because frankly, the icons and dock backgrounds need to be updated imo.
So that's where things stand. Thank you for your patience and we look forward to hearing your feedback and ideas!