Episerver service and product lifecycles

To quickly get new features out to the community, and to get early feedback, Episerver sometimes includes features in “Beta (preview)” state in weekly service and product deliveries. This section explains the concept of Beta features in Episerver services and products. 

In this topic

Current Beta initiatives

The following Beta inititiatives are currently available for Episerver services and products.

Cloud services

  • Deployment API (open Beta) 
  • Smooth Deployments (closed Beta) 
  • Custom Alerts (closed Beta) 
  • Telemetry Feed (closed Beta) 

Products

  • ASP.NET Core (closed Beta)
  • Episerver Commerce CSR UI (open Beta)

About Beta initiatives

Beta features are subject to change and are not covered by normal support. However, as one of the main objectives for publishing feature previews is to get community feedback, development teams are active in responding to issues and suggestions. Production-level quality assurance is applied to features in Beta, before integrating into releases. Data migration for Beta features, both between Beta versions and between Beta and the official release, is fully supported.

Cloud services lifecycle  

Applies to Episerver Digital Experience Cloud Service.

Episerver releases cloud services in the following stages:

Beta services  

Beta cloud services and service features are initial releases of potential future services or features. Episerver provides customers participating in a Beta program the opportunity to test, validate, and provide feedback on future functionality. Feedback gathered in this phase helps in determining which features provide the most customer value, so development efforts can be focused accordingly.

These guidelines apply to the Episerver Cloud Services Beta program

  • Customers can choose to participate in a Beta program
    • An Open Beta is available as a clearly highlighted feature in the portals to all/many customers.
    • Closed Beta is only available to invited beta testers. 
  • Episerver does not make any promises on the features, functionality, or performance of our Beta products. 
  • Episerver reserves the right to change the scope of or discontinue a Beta product or feature at any point in time. 
  • Episerver does not charge customers for using our Beta products or features. 
  • Beta products or features are not included in any existing support contracts or obligations. 
  • Episerver does not provide Beta customers with discounts on future purchases of any products or services. 
  • Episerver advises against using Beta services and features for production due to their dynamic nature. 

Limited Availability services  

Limited Availability services are ready to be released publicly, pending some fine tuning. Limited Availability allows Episerver to test a product or service with a limited number of customers, and closely monitor and make adjustments before rolling it out more broadly. The goal with this is to make new features and services quickly available for customers to try them out. 

These guidelines apply to the Episerver Cloud Services Limited Availability program

  • Episerver may charge its Limited Availability customers, and pricing varies depending on features. 
  • Episerver does not make any promises on the features, functionality, or performance of Limited Availability products. 
  • Episerver does not provide its Limited Availability customers with discounts on future purchases of any products or services. 
  • Episerver provides limited product and customer engineering support, and documentation for Limited Availability products. 

General Availability services 

General Availability services released by Episerver are available for everyone's use. Episerver manages these services in accordance with documentation, Service Descriptions and contracts. 

Note: Use of Beta and trial features and services in a production environment is done at customer's own risk. Any unavailability related to such use will be excluded from any availability calculations in service level agreements.

Product lifecycle

Applies to features delivered as software packages for Episerver CMS and Episerver Commerce.

Beta features for products

Beta features in products are features that are under development, and made available to "early-adopters" interested in trying out a feature. Beta features are subject to change and do not follow semantic versioning as long as they are in "Beta" state. 

Beta features are not covered by normal support. However, as one of the main purposes with feature previews is to get community feedback, development teams are active in responding to issues and suggestions. Production-level quality assurance is applied to Beta features before integration into release packages. Data migration for Beta features, both between Beta versions, as well as between Beta and official release, is also supported. 

Enabling Beta features 

By default, Beta features are hidden to prevent unintentional use. To work with Beta features, you need a role defined with the name EPiBetaUsers. This can be provided in several ways, for example by adding a virtual role in the virtual roles section of the configuration, or by creating a role in admin view (if your role provider supports it). Then you add the users to this role. Added users must log out and in again to see the Beta features. 

For developers working with the Episerver APIs, Beta APIs are also accessible without any special configuration. 

Beta features in the user interface 

When a Beta feature is displayed to users, it is highlighted to prevent it from being used unintentionally. However, untintentional usage can not be guaranteed, so if you enable Beta features, make sure your users are aware of which features are Beta features.
   
BetaFeature.png

Using Beta APIs for products

Exposed product APIs for a Beta feature are displayed in Visual Studio intellisense as: 

NOTE: This is a pre-release API that is UNSTABLE and might not satisfy the compatibility requirements as denoted
by its associated normal version. [actual description

 

Note: Changes to APIs in a Beta feature are never considered breaking, and thus do not affect the major version of its containing software package. This means that if you take a programmatic dependency on a Beta API, you might be required to do code changes even after minor version updates.

Beta programs for products

When joining the Episerver Beta Program and participating in projects, you will have the opportunity to provide feedback and influence the development of new features on a regular basis. You will become familiar with upcoming new technologies early on, and be able to prepare for upgradings, allowing for smooth transitions with less impact on productivity when going live with a service or product.

How to participate

The Episerver Beta Program is open to Episerver customers free of charge.

Consider the following before joining:

  • You should have a fundamental understanding of the Episerver platform.
  • You must own a valid Episerver license service or software subscription.
  • Ensure you are able to put in the time and commitment required.
  • Be prepared to use the software and promptly provide feedback.
  • A non-disclosure agreement (NDA) must be signed prior to participation.
  • Participants for each project are selected by a number of criteria such as availability and features used.
  • Episerver will provide setup and user instructions, follow up on feedback and keep you informed of progress.

Note that a Beta program follows the Episerver Continuous Release Process, meaning that features and updates can be expected throughout the duration of a program.

Contact your Episerver sales representative to join the Episerver Beta Program.

Last updated: Oct 28, 2019