[UPDATE 21 Aug 2013: posted new build correcting first few reported bugs. Please download new build if you are running the beta.]
We have a beta version of Sente 6.7.0 for OS X that you are welcome to try if you would like to help find any outstanding bugs.
Before you dive in, though, let me warn you that there are very few new features in 6.7.0, but there may be lots of bugs. So, those of you who like to participate in betas just to see the new features -- you can probably skip this one. And those of you who are working on a deadline? I would recommend you stick with 6.6.
Now, why, if there are almost no new features, should there be lots of bugs in Sente 6.7.0? Good question. It all has to do with a lot of under-the-hood changes that are intended to have no external impact, but which should improve things in the long run.
These under-the-hood changes mostly fall into two categories.
One, Sente 6.7 is a 64-bit application, while all previous versions have been 32-bit apps. The most important consequence of this change is that it lets us use features of the compiler that are not available with 32-bit apps. Unfortunately, this transition can introduce subtle logic errors that are usually easy to fix, but not always easy to discover. These bugs are not normally crashes -- although they can be. Instead, they usually result in a feature not working quite the way it is supposed to.
The second major change is that the app now uses ARC (Automatic Reference Counting) for memory management. Only programmers will care about exactly what this means, but the high-level description is that this changes completely the way in which our code manages the space that it uses for storing information in RAM. It has no effect on how things are stored in the database, just in memory as the app is running. As you can image, this is a profound change to the application and the impact is widespread. Over time, this will result in fewer crashes and quicker resolution of those crashes that do happen. Until then, the most likely result is that some operations will result in either a crash or no action at all.
Now that I have made this beta release seem about as unappealing as possible, I would like to ask for help in tracking down any remaining issues. We have been running the new version in-house for several months now and it is quite stable. We have run through long lists of test cases to verify that they still work. The problem is that there are almost certainly a number of paths that we have simply not checked, but which you might use. The only practical way to find these issues is for people to put the app through its paces.
What can you expect if you decide to try out the beta release? Mostly, it should just work exactly as the official release does today. You may stumble on a command that does not work (e.g., it was only a month ago that we tried out the sync status display for the first time since the changes and it did not work; we fixed it almost immediately). When something does not work, it will often be highly repeatable, so just tell us what you did and we will immediately work to track down the problem.
If you do find a problem in the beta release that prevents you from getting something done, you can simply fall back to the 6.6.x release -- they are completely compatible with one another and you can switch back and forth at any time.
So, we would really like some help in testing the new version. We have made literally thousands and thousands of small, but important, changes to the code and we almost certainly made some mistakes. Until the new version has been in use for a while for real work, it will be difficult to be confident that it is at least as solid as the last version.
If after knowing all this, you are willing to help out, you can download the beta here:
There will be an automatic update when the release is official. Until then, I will post information about new builds here and on Twitter (@senteapp). And, remember, the big change in Sente 6.7 is in the iPad version where there are big changes to the PDF editor -- coming soon!