With the pending update of RadControls "Prometheus" for ASP.NET quite a few customers have asked us whether it is safe to use Prometheus controls in production when the suite has a Beta tag.

Before I answer the question, I’d like to add some background on what RadControls "Prometheus" is. RadControls “Prometheus” is the next generation of our ASP.NET product line. It’s built on top of ASP.NET AJAX and provides the richest, most powerful and fastest toolset for delivering rich ASP.NET applications. It has all of the benefits of the existing suite plus incredible performance improvements, great integration between all elements of the UI package and adds some amazing new components.

This begs the question - if it’s that good is it safe to use it for production? The short answer is “yes” and we wholeheartedly recommend to customers to use them. The Prometheus product line has a Beta tag but the Beta has a different meaning. Re-engineering a rich suite like RadControls for ASP.NET is not a trivial task and we knew it will take us about a year. There was the issue that some things are quite different in Prometheus compared to RadControls for ASP.NET (single assembly, different naming convention, different client-side API and so on). In order to highlight those two important things we decided to use “Beta” to warn customers that things are a bit different and the suite is not yet complete. We made a decision to stay in beta up to the point where every ASP.NET control has a Prometheus counterpart and customers feel convenient with the new toolset (all ASP.NET controls will have Prometheus counterparts in March 2008).

So, not having a “beta” in our arsenal, how could we signify that some elements of the components are not ready? We decided to name them “Futures” (yeah, you know the concept from the AJAX Toolkit). Futures do not have any release cycle – they are rolled out as soon as we have something to ship for the community to review. A component that’s in the Futures is essentially the traditional beta – it’s for review, but not for production use. It becomes ready for prime time only when it gets moved to the Beta release and starts following the tri-yearly release cycles of the Telerik UI product lines.

Since day 1 (apart from a small bump with RadEditor Prometheus where we put it in the beta distribution before it was ready for it), we have developed Prometheus software to be production grade. In essence, all components that go in the Beta build are the official products. Here’s how the Prometheus lifecycle works:

  1. Create an internal build. Make a few iterations.
  2. Create a Futures release. Get feedback.
  3. Prepare internal Release candidate. Undergo extensive internal testing.
  4. Move product to Prometheus Beta. Customers can safely start using it.

If you are working on a new project you should not worry about using controls that are part of the Beta package. Our recommendation is to use those, over their ASP.NET counterparts as they offer quite a few functional and performance improvements.


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About the Author

Vassil Terziev

As Chief Innovation Officer at Progress, Vassil Terziev is responsible for identifying growth strategies and new market opportunities, as well as promoting internal innovation.

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