PlecoDict - availability

John

举人
We are still on track for a summer release, and our current goal is to have a stable, usable beta test version ready by the end of July (and possibly even a week or two earlier). We plan to make this test version publicly available, so those of you willing to put up with the occasional bug or software crash should be able to upgrade as soon as that beta version is ready. Assuming our revamped online store is up and running by then, we should also be able to start selling the new dictionaries, so those of you who are really eager to start using the new 200,000-entry ABC dictionary will hopefully have it in hand soon.
Since the above was written at the beginning of June and although I appreciate that last minute issues may arise at any time etc, I was just wondering whether, at the moment, the timing is still on track for a beta release (plus the release of the new dictionaries) sometime in the next 3-4 weeks ?
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
Well there have been a few late issues (plus I just moved to a new apartment, which has kept me distracted for a few days - perfect time for the lease to come up :lol:), so at this point I'm not really sure. It's pretty clear that we're going to miss the deadline for this to be of much use for summer school students, so practically speaking the main thing we need to shoot for is to have a usable, stable beta version and the new dictionaries ready by mid-to-late August so that people can have it for the start of the new school year. I'm pretty sure we'll be able to accomplish that. But as for getting a beta out within a few weeks, we'd still like to do that, but if the online store isn't ready yet or we aren't generally where we'd like to be stability-wise, we may end up releasing it with the Oxford only and making it clear that this is strictly for "power users" for testing purposes.

So I'm afraid I don't have a definite answer for you on this. Sorry.
 

mark-kun

Member
A beta would be fantastic. I'm using the Oxford dict now and while it's pretty good, the definitions could definitely be better. Keep up the good work Plecosoft!
 

John

举人
We're now planning to release a usable beta-test version (one for which you can purchase/use the new ABC/NWP dictionaries) around the end of August
Can I start holding my breath waiting for the beta any day now ?
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
Yes indeed you may :D

In the end we decided to call this a "preview release", as in addition to being a beta there are a few features we don't quite feel are ready for prime-time yet (import/export of flashcard lists, document reader, mixed pinyin/character searches, on-device adding/editing of custom dictionary entries, and a couple of other things including a few we haven't even announced yet) but will be in the final release. We'd like to have taken an extra week or two to get them working, but we're feeling an enormous amount of pressure with the start of the school year to get something out ASAP so we're saving them for a later beta.

But pretty much everything that worked in the Oxford is working in this, as are a lot of the new features (flashcard frequency adjustment, wildcard searches, small fonts, simultaneous TC/SC display, rich text, new interface) and of course the new dictionaries. The only major Oxford 2.0 feature I can think of that's currently missing is Instant Access, but that'll definitely be in the final release and we've even got a new enhancement that allows it to work reasonably well even with fancy text editors like WordSmith and Documents To Go that have often given it problems before.

So if it isn't out on August 31st it should certainly be out a few days later. (hence the "around")
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
We're still fixing some major bugs, plus after a little field-testing we realized there were a couple of interface things we really needed to clean up right away in order to avoid waves of panicked confusion when we release this. It still won't be quite where we'd like it to be, but hopefully it'll be usable enough for a lot of people until we get the completed version ready.

I know this is waaaay off from our original release date estimates - I'm thinking that from now on we should take a page from Blizzard and not say anything at all about release dates until we actually have something to release. The pressure of meeting a specific timeframe forces you to cut corners in product development (or just temporarily strip out features like we're doing), and it's become pretty clear that like most software companies we have no idea how to accurately predict release dates.

But it should be ready very soon. Really.
 
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