IBM announced Sametime 8.5.2 Interim Feature Release 1 this week. Much buzz has circulated about the new features already, and you can read about them in the announcements. But in the vein of my "Why better" postings, including the prior post about Why Sametime 8.5.2 is better last May, I want to briefly share some of the quality improvements we have worked on for this Interim Feature Release, or IFR 1, as well. Every software release from IBM containing new function must also identify and achieve specific quality improvements. As an interim feature release, the aggregate underlying development effort is smaller than a full feature release, which means the quality improvements are also fewer than for a full feature release, but we were able to take some good steps anyway. The quality focus in this release was on the serviceability attributes; which are the abilities to diagnose and correct any problems. We focused on providing more helpful and more meaningful log and error messages in three specific areas: (i) the install experience, (ii) the NAT ICE SDK, and the (iii) Meetings.
Within the install, we improved the log and error messages related to validating server connections for other servers in the deployment, such as DB2 and LDAP servers. In addition to improving the validation itself, we also surfaced to the user what is being validated, and what the status of the validation is. Moreover, we reviewed the not yet externalized error messages and externalized them where it made sense to give the user more information. This is ongoing effort that will continue to improve end user messages in future releases.
For the network address translation (NAT) interactive connectivity establishment (ICE) software development kit (SDK), used for integrating awareness into other applications for example, we enabled full detail prints of IceSession and MediaSession failure traces, as well as TURN - or Traversal Using Relay NAT - server details when the IceSession is created. We also made a number of improvements to the Logger output from the C++ ICE SDK.
For Meetings, we focused on improving the log messages associated with the AppShare protocol and updated many key messages.
A simultaneous announcement of Sametime Unified Telephony (SUT) 8.5.2 IFR 1 was also made this week. With the new SUT release, we now support virtualization of the SUT server. And we completed a Telephony Control Server (TCS) configuration tool, which can dramatically lower the time needed to configure your solution. We are already receiving very good feedback on this tool. We also coded an automatic restart mechanism for the event of a TURN server crash. Internally, we had also set targets for further expansion and coverage by our automated test suites, especially in the Audio Visual (AV) and Sametime Unified Telephone (SUT) functionality areas, and those targets were also met.
For a discussion of these releases, I recommend listening to Episode 79 of the This Week in Lotus podcast, entitled Why Sametime 8.5.2 IFR 1 definitely ain't no Turkey! Enjoy the new releases taking Video chat and Unified Communications to new heights. To filter the blog and show just the 'why better' entries, click the "better" tag in the line just below the blog entry title.