Since April 2013, The U.M.P has been in technical development using Livecode. It started as an empty Canvas, an empty Livecode stack, and over the next 780 + days, it became the world's first conflict resolution software platform.
In the 18 months prior to this, we had done the necessary work to research what the tools of a mediation platform can be. Now it was time to build them.
"If you build it, they will come ... "
What should this platform be like? what should it look like? how does it save content? How do you create consistency in appearance and function? Who knows???, we had nothing to compare it to, nothing to reference. The U.M.P is a brand new thing entirely.
First we had to build tools .... tools to build the tools of the U.M.P. It had to store and save, retrieve and combine information. It also needed a standard way of representing its main Tools and all of their functions.
This development process then, required much dedication and patience on the part of us, as its developers. It also required contribution and patience on behalf of the people in our lives. We are grateful that the patience we gave to the U.M.P was given also to us, by all those who's paths we crossed and shared life with during this time.
Along the way, our design decisions began to culminate into something practical. Many thousands of lines of code were written, and many mistakes had to be fixed; For a long time the U.M.P was one huge bug, constantly crashing, constantly not working. There were times of frustration and tiredness. There were times when things seemed much closer than they really were. But to reach the goal, we had to keep on going, and do what we knew to do.
Heading towards an Alpha Release
At this time the U.M.P is in a usable state, and we are testing and improving all of its tools every day. It is stable, crashes are becoming rare, but there are still some gaps to fill before a version 1 release. It is at times, a little clumsy to navigate, and not all the paths between the tools are not 100% integrated.
The best part is that all of the tools work, and their basic functionality is there. Above all, it is capable of being used to reach an Agreement, which is its purpose after-all.
Bugs are an unavoidable aspect of developing software. No matter how good the programmer, or the platform, bugs happen.Bugs are to software, like the sparks coming off a raging fire. Their presence is unavoidable as long as it is humans who write code. Bugs are also entirely unpredictable, and one can never predict how much time is needed to find them, or how many there will be.
The U.M.P, we are sure, still has a few kinks, which can only be found by being used, and by feedback from users.
For this reason, we will release the U.M.P as soon as its tools are stable enough to enable users to get from A to Z, input their data, using all of the tools, and be able to build an agreement. That is our goal for the first alpha release; and we are either already there ... or really close. We have in fact used all of the tools, and we have built an Agreement, which is what the purpose of it is.
However, ..... and thankfully ....... the universe has thrown us a curve-ball, making the release date not entirely up to us.
Livecode, the U.M.P's development platform, is currently suffering from a bug which effects many of the tools in the U.M.P, making it unusable. However, the bug only occurs when we build a "standalone", which is what we must do to releaes the U.M.P onto the Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux platforms. It does not occur in the development environment which is used to work on it.
This means that we can work on it, but it cannot be released to the public until this bug is resolved. The bug has been in queue since April 21st, and it has been assigned to a developer to be fixed in one of the upcoming LiveCode 7.0x releases. More information here
We believe everything happens for a reason, and this bug has served to help us not to focus on the release date, but rather on the work of improving and stabilizing the U.M.P for its best possible initial release. We have done just that, and will continue to do so.
When the bug is fixed, hopefully very soon, we will re-evaluate the condition of the U.M.P and decide whether it is ready for an Alpha release. In the mean time, we continue to prepare it for this happy and momentous day.