Category Archives: FileSender 1.0.1

Google shuts down Gears website in December: time to upgrade to FileSender 1.1!

Google announced last week  “On December 1, 2011, Gears-based Gmail and Calendar offline will stop working across all browsers, and later in December Gears will no longer be available for download.”

FileSender sites running version 1 or 1.0.1 rely on Gears to support uploads larger than 2GB.  After Google executes its plans there will no longer be a well known location for users to download the Gears plug-in.

If you run a FileSender service and you wish to continue to support uploads larger then 2GB, now might be a good time to upgrade to FileSender 1.1!

FileSender 1.0.1 Fall Special with HTML5

After all the leasons learned from developing the HTML5 parts of FileSender 1.5 Chris was curious to see whether he could get the current 1.0.1 code to support HTML5 uploads, with little effort.  Leveraging the similarity between Gears calls and HTML5 FileAPI calls he managed to backport the HTML5 functionality to the current 1.0.1 code 🙂

The trunk now contains 1.0.1 HTML5 patch that replaces Gears with HTML5, adds one crucial little detail to the uploads page and removes the Mac “uploads > 2GB are not supported” message.  There is one minor issue with progress bars overlapping, other then that it appears to work just fine.

We now have an opportunity to use Chris’s 1.0.1 HTML5 patch for creating an interim release based on the stable and well tested 1.0.1 code that supports >2GB uploads without Gears.  Barring service affecting issues popping up during the quality assurance process such a release should be ready in about two weeks.

Given that FileSender 1.5 will go through a quality assurance cycle before releasing, a fully tested production release of 1.5 will not be available before December.

We feel offering production sites the option to run a FileSender service without the Gears dependency is important enough to to test and package the HTMl5 patch into a “FileSender 1.0.1 Fall 2011 Special” release.  This special release will be packaged and distributed under a separate
name (filesender-html5) and will have the same version number (1.0.1) as the current production release.  We estimate this to take about 4 weeks of lead time.  The testing, packaging and release process of the Fall 2011 Special will not involve our developers, they will continue to focus on the 1.5 release.

Why not a “FileSender 1.1” you might wonder?  One of our guiding principles is POLA, the Principle Of Least Astonishment.  We’d hate to create unexpected surprises for production sites when releasing.  A FileSender 1.1 release would trigger a near-automatic upgrade for those of you using the Debian or RPM package.  For reasons of your own you might not want to upgrade, you might be happy with 1.0.1 as is.  By releasing a one-off special package you have the choice.

The extra support load of having two 1.0.1 releases to support is pretty minimal: we only fix crucial service-affecting bugs in 1.0.1 (none have surfaced so far) and thought the release package will take some months to ship the 1.5 release is in its last stages of development.


To sum up, under the assumption that thorough testing won’t reveal any service affecting issues, we’ll have a FileSender 1.0.1 release without Gears dependency in about 4 weeks.  This special release will be packaged and distributed under a separate name (filesender-html5) and will have the same version number (1.0.1) as the current production release.

It won’t be perfect, but it’ll do the job.

Status FileSender 1.5, 5 July 2011

As of this weekend ‘nightly’ builds of the development branch of FileSender 1.5 are available in the various *unstable* repositories.  Thanks Xander!  Information on how to get and use the FileSender 1.5 development code is found here:

Major changes compared to FileSender 1.0.1:

  • Replaced Flash User Interface with a HTML-only interface
  • Dropped Gears dependency, upload of large (>2G) files now requires a modern HTML5 capable browser, other browsers are limited to 2G uploads (using a small Flash-component).
  • Added automatic language selection (English, Norwegian Bokmål, Dutch currently present)
  • Added Database Abstraction Layer (MDB2) to facilitate the use of MySQL as backend.

Note that the 1.5 code is not stable yet and can and will change rapidly. Not every little detail is working yet and formal workflow testing hasn’t started so do not use the 1.5 builds on a production server.  If you test, find an issue and wish to report this, please check the known 1.5 bugs first 🙂

Please report to the list and not to individual team members.

The path forward looks -roughly- as follows:

  • squash known bugs
  • start testing according to formal test workflows
  • fix bugs discovered in formal test workflows
  • start beta release cycle: FileSender-1.5-Beta1, find issues, repair issues, FileSender-1.5-Beta2
  • when comfortable with any remaining issues, issue FileSender-1.5-RC1
  • when RC1 does well, re-label to FileSender-1.5 and release

I don’t think we will need more then two beta releases but one never knows.  Viewing the progress we have made the last month I would say that a beta ought to be available in September.  How long it will then take to take this beta to full release depends on what we find which again depends on how well it all is tested.

We are going to need field testers, both to ensure version 1.5 installs as smoothly as did version 1.0, and to make sure it works for end-users.

If any site is willing to be a field-testing site, please contact us through, or contact one of the development team members directly.

To close with: work on automated testing is progressing as well, we now have a Selenium test server up and running.  Thanks AARNet!  Great work Wendy!  We expect to be able to automate at least part of the testing needed for the FileSender 1.5 release.  We are going to need volunteers to make sure test workflows are tested on the many commonly used browser/OS combinations we list in our browser compatibility matrix.

Status FileSender 1.0.1, 11 May 2011

FileSender 1.0.1 is a bugfix release, check the previous status update for the 1.0.1 release for more details.

The final bit of code to entirely fix ticket #389  (proper check of max_gears_size check) is now committed to SVN and the package for 1.0.1 is ready for what we hope to be final testing.  If testing is a success we might see FileSender 1.0.1 released next week 🙂

Status FileSender 1.0.1, 5 May 2011

FileSender 1.0.1 is a bug-fix release. Most notably it’ll allow for:

  • a semi-colon to be used to separate To: addresses, making copy/paste easy for Outlook users
  • use of SimpleSamlPHP 1.7+
  • an experimental feature for a different way of handling email bounces and SPF

Check the release schedule for details and pointers to relevant tickets.

The 1.0.1 release is being packaged (thank you Xander!) and is currently undergoing testing (thank you Xander and Wendy!).  There currently remains a small issue with the fix of  ticket #389, which properly implements the max_gears_size check.  The package is expected to be released this month. Track the progress using the 1.0.1 view on open FileSender tickets.