Today marks the launch of ChangeWindows 4.5.1709. Actually, we released this version a couple of days ago and iterated upon it in the past couple of days and this announcement is for all these changes (most of them are new today, though). Microsoft has recently made a number of changes to the Windows Insider Program and this version is an answer to that.
Skip Ahead, introduced in version 4.4, is now being considered as a full ring by ChangeWindows. We’re no longer going to label builds that are exclusive to the Skip Ahead ring as “Fast Ring” builds. Microsoft can use Skip Ahead as a fully independent ring from Fast, because they won’t do that doesn’t mean that we won’t consider it as such.
Server and Team Preview preparations
This update also marks the return of support for ChangeWindows to report on Server Previews, we removed this (I don’t know why, honestly) and now it’s back so that ChangeWindows can report on it as you would expect. Furthermore, since Redstone 2 Microsoft has a “Insider Preview” system for Team which still hasn’t been used, but ChangeWindows now has support for it, all that’s needed is the flip of a switch.
With Redstone 4’s development cycle likely being the final round for Mobile as far as we know (these Mobile builds will still be Redstone 2), we’ve started to prepare for Mobile’s removal from the Insider Program and eventually Windows as a whole. The Fast and Slow Ring for Mobile can now be disabled on ChangeWindows when that time comes (by me, of course). Depending on how Microsoft will move on with support of the platform, the Release Preview Ring will disappear as well.
Note that this only means that these rings will be removed from the Timeline sidebar and Rings overview, not from our previously published content.
Dropping build administration
Prior to the introduction of Skip Ahead, ChangeWindows would use 1 table for milestones, 1 table for each individual release and 1 table to connect both: the “builds” table. That table connected each individual build to its corresponding milestone. Due to Skip Ahead, this system can no longer be used and the “releases”-table now links directly to the “milestones”-table. Thus this administration and logic all has been removed.
The sidebar on our Timeline has always been a quick overview of the highest build in each individual ring. With the addition of Skip Ahead, the PC rings took up 4 heights and we thought that was to much. The solution is to make the sidebar wider. The reason the main content was as wide as it was is because from ChangeWindows 3.0 until ChangeWindows 4.2 we used to show changelogs on the timeline, but we don’t do that anymore, so the available space went to waste. Not anymore.
Xbox Delta and Omega, and other name changes
ChangeWindows 4.5 also introduced the new naming for Ring 3 and Ring 4 for the Xbox Insider Program, Delta and Omega respectively. We also updated “Semi Annual” to say “Semi-Annual” from now on.
Multiple minor design updates
The build page now has an updated header, which looks less “heavy”. We’ve also updated the settings page with some more modern looking radio and checkboxes. Another change you may notice is that certain elements will take up less space. This update is heavily focused on better use of your screen.
Fixed bugs and other improvements
- Our Patrons are now shown on the About page.
- A platform that supports LTSC in a milestone that doesn’t have a LTSC release will no longer show the “LTS”-placeholder in the milestone’s platform details.
- Platforms with only the vNext build in a milestone will no longer be shown as active within that milestone.
- Fast Ring and Skip Ahead builds with the same number are no longer merged into one entry on the timeline.
- Fixes inconsistent width on the Xbox Rings page.
- “Filters”, “Sort” and “Limit” are no longer shown in the Timeline.
- Cuts a lot of old code that is no longer used.
I had really hoped that ChangeWindows 4.3 would be the last update that I’d had to do to this old codebase and focus on ChangeWindows 5. That clearly didn’t happen. Microsoft changed a lot of thing about the Insider Program since then: renaming rings for all platforms, introducing Skip Ahead, etc. which resulted in situations that ChangeWindows simply couldn’t handle.
And ChangeWindows 5 wasn’t prepared for those changes either. So if you have been following on GitHub, you might have noticed that development has come to a crawl. I just went back to the drawing board to make situations like this occur less often in the future for ChangeWindows 5 and development of this project will retake at full speed soon.
To our Patrons: thank you
And last but not least, earlies this summer, we launched our Patreon page. Patreon is a place where you can make (in our case) monthly donations to keep ChangeWindows running. We currently have 4 Patrons:
- Tomáš Leicman (our very first Patron)
- Christopher Shaun Raymond O’Loughlin
Those 4 together have pledged $14 to us, and thanks to them, next month we will republish the screenshots and high-quality PNGs we used to use in our early days. They are already making ChangeWindows better and a “Thank you” is thus very much required. If you want to join these people, you can become a patron of ChangeWindows.