March 2019 Development Roadmap

Beacon updates have been frequent, but minor. I’ve been trying to do no more than one per week of bug squishing. Version 1.1.4 seems to be a pretty solid release, so it’s time to start looking forward.

Near Future

The current focus is on helping users help themselves. I have been working on writing lots of help articles for a pretty comprehensive knowledge base on the website. This process takes time, no only because of the content itself, but the screenshots and other artwork needed. Plus, it’s not really my favorite thing to do. I’d rather be writing the code.

After the new support content launches, that will become the basis for another couple of tutorial videos. I said in my first (and only, so far) video that I would produce more, and I’m going to stick to that.

More Distant Future

The next significant update for Beacon will be 1.2. I’m calling this one the speed update because on top of the planned new features, I’ll be updating lots of backend code. Beacon will begin to use compressed JSON files coupled with a new JSON generator. As a result, instead of taking a couple seconds to save a large file, Beacon will be able to save in a fraction of a second. Update: Turns out my performance gains were completely wiped out by my pre-processing requirements. Compression is still happening though.

For example, my personal cluster file is around 10MB on disk and takes roughly 6 seconds to save to the cloud. Under Beacon 1.2, I’ve been able to get the file size down to about 400KB and saving near instantly.

But don’t worry, I know some users keep their files in a version control system, so the human-readable version will still be available with the new speed improvements. Just not the size improvements.

On the less technical side of things, I plan to introduce new editors for harvest rates and breeding. I will likely pick a third editor to include as well, though I may stay at two because the breeding editor will be rather substantial.

A Personal Note

Support for Beacon recently has been fantastic. Sales of Omni have been better than I hoped and it has really helped keep my focus on delivering an even better app. It opens doors, such as the performance improvements because I can afford to buy the plugin necessary to handle the JSON faster. Interest in Beacon has jumped since launching Omni, which is an interesting phenomenon I didn’t expect.

So thank you. You guys are awesome.

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