With another month of active beta testing, our code is growing more stable by the day. Since Drupal 6 beta 2 was released, we have committed over 180 fixes to the Drupal 6.x code, so we are proud to announce the release of the third beta version of Drupal 6.x for your testing. This beta version includes usability improvements and lots of bug fixes for issues which the testers encountered. The first beta announcement provided a comprehensive list of high level improvements made since Drupal 5.x, so in this announcement we'll concentrate on how you can help ensure that Drupal 6 is released as soon as possible and is as rock solid as the previous Drupal releases that you've grown to love!
Major changes made since the release of Drupal 6 beta 2 include several code and interface documentation fixes and improvements, HTML validity fixes, performance improvements and easier to use templating. The core system now also runs without table locks and temporary tables, making Drupal usable in more shared hosting environments, and also improving performance at the same time. Localization support in the installer is now complete, as well as error reporting and requirements management through the installation process. One of the major usability improvements in this beta release is the addition of drag and drop ordering support to the blocks, menus and filter formats administration interface.
So when does 6.0 get released?
We plan to advance to the last beta in around a week, and then the first Drupal 6 Release Candidate next, unless major bugs appear in the beta versions. Drupal 6.0 will be released after (a) there are no more critical bugs and (b) we've had at least one release without adding any more to the list. When will that be? Well, it depends entirely on how many people chip in and help out! The more people help, the faster we can find and fix bugs, and the faster 6.0 gets released. The faster 6.0 gets released, the faster we can start adding new features to Drupal 7.0. So help out where you can, and let's make this the best and most solid release of Drupal yet! :)
How do I help test the beta?
Start by either installing a new Drupal site or upgrading an existing one running on a previous version (see INSTALL.txt or UPGRADE.txt in the package). When setting up a new site, you can use the development module to generate some test data (content, users, etc) to help you start testing quickly. As with everything still in development, we do not recommend running any beta release on a live site. Also, always make sure to backup of your data before performing an upgrade or start testing.
New Drupal users
Are you completely (or relatively) new to Drupal? Or do you know just enough to be dangerous? Are you used to working with other content management systems, and willing to lend your perspective in improving the way Drupal works? If so, you're a perfect candidate to help with usability testing and improving documentation! As you're going through Drupal 6, take notes on things you find difficult or confusing, and translate those notes into an issue which will show up in the issue tracker. Make sure to be as clear as possible about what the problem was and provide suggestions on how to improve it -- this makes it easier for developers to help!
Do people often congratulate you on your ability to break things? Are you a creative individual who likes to experiment with things in unconventional ways to see what happens? Do you enjoy looking over other peoples' work and picking nits in order to make it as good as it possibly can be? If any of these apply to you, you could make a great tester! We need testers both to try out different aspects of Drupal itself, as well as take a look at the issue queue to check bugs to see if they're valid, and also test patches to see if they work properly. Read more on setting up a testing environment and how to apply patches.
Module and theme developers
There is no better way to shake out any lingering bugs with the API and to ensure that your modules and themes will work with the new version of Drupal than to update your modules and update your themes! Make sure to file any bugs that you find!
Drupal Ninjas and Ninjas-in-training
If you're adept at Drupal hacking, or are eager to learn, a great place to start is with the bug tracker or the patch queue. Even if you don't have a full solution for a problem, often even a step in the right direction can be enough for another developer to take it home! Read up on how to create patches.
Drupal interface translators
The interface strings of Drupal 6.0 are not frozen yet. We improved on a lot of help texts and interface elements in this beta version. A notice will be sent to the translators mailing list, when the interface is close to being ready for translation. Until that time, there is no point in starting to translate, so we are not providing translation templates.
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