Hi everyone,
** Development Release 0.98rc9 **
I've released 0.98rc9 in the middle of last night (Australian Time) after final upgrade/installation bug-testing (and a few quick fixes for bugs I found while doing it). The main features of the new release are on the sourceforge website, and on the developers WIKI http://phpsurveyor.sourceforge.net/phpwiki/ in the "Current Development" page: http://phpsurveyor.sourceforge.net/phpwiki/index.php/Current%20Development%20In%20Process
I spent a bit of time belatedly finishing off the templates.php script, which allows online editing of the template files. This was done after the updating of the template system to remove all "hardcoded" text, and moving the email templates out of the template directories.
I'm hopeful that there will only need to be minor bugfixes to this release before the "stable" 0.98final release is made. I'll keep an eye on bug reports coming in to see how it goes down. The major bugs in 0.98rc8 were related to the export script, which - frankly - is a dogs breakfast. It will be a joy to recode this after the database restructure planned for 0.99.
** Authentication and LDAP **
Developer Karyl Stein has posted an RFC in the "Open Discussion" forum regarding development of authentication for the next release, and it would be good for other developers to have a look at that entry and make any suggestions they have. I've also recently receive a request/offer from Alecia Powell at the University of Memphis for LDAP integration with authentication. They are considering developing LDAP integration, and offered to work with the project rather than developing it on their own. As a complete ignoramus when it comes to LDAP, I don't know what would be involved in this. I'd be interested in the views of other developers, particularly Karyl, regarding this offer. I imagine that it would have to be fairly tightly integrated with a native authentication system.
It's my view that stand-alone PHP authentication is the most important thing, and that I'd rather concentrate on that than other issues, but if LDAP authentication is not too complicated, then it may make sense to do them at the same time - or at least involve it in the planning stages for easier integration later.
** Planning for 0.99 **
With the 0.98 series out of the way it is a good time to start planning the projects for 0.99. Once we've got some good outlines of how we wish to proceed with the various work, we can then look at co-ordination of development. To summarise, at this point the main work for 0.99 will involve:
 * Authentication System
 * Modularisation
   - of the database coding
   - of the "menubars"
   - and many other areas
 * Survey Response Table - details on phpwiki
** Offers of Work **
From time to time I get emailed requests to do specific coding jobs in relation to PHPSurveyor, usually with offers of money and so forth. While I usually mull over these for a week or so imagining my new Porsche, and sophisticated dinner parties with Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, the fact is I have a full time job, and a family, and so I can't really commit myself to such work. And - being a bit of  PHP hack - I don't want the pressure of having to meet schedules, and expectations. And, also, I have to keep reminding myself that I didn't get into this for money. That's not to say I won't consider them as they come in, but the reason for raising all of this in this newsletter, is that I had the idea that - just because I can't or won't do a job - doesn't mean that others can't.
So I propose that when any offers of this sort come in I would reply offering to circulate their offer among the project developers. If they're agreeable, I then circulate the offer in case any of the project developers are interested in it. The only thing I would ask is that developers who take up such an offer ensure that they work to integrate any such work with the existing project. Any such work would be done on an agreement between the offerer, and the developer, with no involvement, or consideration, by anyone involved in the project as a third party. What do people think?
Jason Cleeland