This week heralds a major step in the process of producing the new Cambridge Structural Database System (CSD System) software ready for release at the end of the year, with the initial beta release going out to external testers. The annual CSD System release is probably one of the main tasks at the CCDC, involving almost every member of staff in one way or another. The organisation of the new CSD System software release actually began a couple of months ago in July, but it’s around this time that new features really start to take shape.
This year, in response to feedback from users we meet at events, or who contact our CCDC support staff, a lot of effort has been put into improving visualisation and image generation in Mercury (see below for examples of what to expect - we’ll go into more detail about the software enhancements in another blog as the release gets closer). There’s plenty more to do though, with development continuing for at least another month or so – hopefully including lots of feedback from our beta testers! Of course we don’t just rely on external beta testers; lots of testing also goes on-house. This includes testing both the technical and scientific aspects of the new release. Technical testing includes jobs such as making sure the new software installers work on all the Windows, Linux and Mac machines we support. Scientific testing mainly involves CCDC researchers using the new software releases in much the same way our users do, and trying to make sure any new enhancements are intuitive and easy to use.