The USPS Redesign Project has entered a new phase. The SSDT is now releasing Preview Releases. The primary goal of the Preview Releases are to allow end-users to experience and evaluate the software in a production-like environment with their own data. Previously, the SSDT was issuing Milestone releases which were focused on internal SSDT goals for the software. The software has now progressed to the point where direct end-user input is desirable to ensure the software is driven in the right direction.
Review of Redesign Goals
If you are aware of the Redesign projects, you're probably familiar with these primary goals:
- Reproduce the Existing Functionality of Classic USPS
- Modernize the Application Architecture
- Redesign to prepare for future enhancement
The latter two of these are actually the easiest. The USPS Redesign is a modern SQL cloud-capable application based on an event driven and modular architecture.
The first goal, however, has always been a bit fuzzy. The SSDT is aware of how the core of USPS is used and how it functions. However, exactly how districts and ITC's have customized it and used it to integrate with other systems is not entirely known. Further, with any system that has grown for 30 years, there will be parts of it which are unused or no longer needed. It would be wasteful for the SSDT to re-implement features "just because" they exist in Classic USPS.
A demo version of the latest USPS Preview Release is available at:
- username: admin
- password: demo
The demo version contains limited training data. Feel free to experiment with the system by adding or changing data. This database will be periodically reset.
If you wish to experience USPS-R with your own district's data, please contact your ITC and request they install an instances of the Preview Release for you.
Purpose of the Preview Releases
Therefore, the SSDT is seeking feedback from interested end-users who are willing to invest some time to help drive the software to full production releases. The types of questions we are interested in are:
- What features are missing or incomplete?
- What would the software need before you would use the system in production?
- What features, documentation or training would be helpful for transitioning from Classic to Redesign?
The SSDT is aware that the "Preview Release" does not represent a complete replacement for Classic USPS. We have our own "backlog" of things we think need to be done. However, at this point, we are much more interested in your backlog. What things do you think we should concentrate on? We will use the feedback we receive to prioritize our efforts to completing the most important features.
One thing that is important to understand is that there will not be a "one to one" correspondence between the Classic USPS system and the Redesign. Much of the "functionality" is in the new system, but the way you do things may be different. For example, and in particular, the way that reports are produced in Redesign is very different than Classic.
Participating in the Preview Releases
All districts who are current users of Classic USPS are welcome to participate in the Preview Release. To do so, first contact your local ITC and request they install and deploy. Your ITC will install the software and import your district's data. They will provide you a web address and username/password to access the application.
At the time you read this, your ITC may have only had the Preview Release available for a few weeks. They will need some time to build the necessary infrastructure. Therefore, we encourage you not be too impatient. However, if, for some reason, your ITC is unable to provide hosting for the Preview Release, please send email to firstname.lastname@example.org including the name of your ITC. We will contact your ITC to see if they need technical assistance. The SSDT may also be able to provide temporary hosting for preview purposes.
The SSDT has prepared (and is still working on) documentation for both technical staff and end-users. Here are a few links to help you get started:
- USPS-R User Guides and Reference Manuals
- Differences from Classic USPS
- SSDT YouTube Channel - USPS-R Playlist - Video demonstrations
- Redesign Technical Documentation
The SSDT will be providing formal training to ITC staff in the near future. Your ITC may not yet be prepared to offer formal training at this time. If you are an experienced USPS user, most of the screens, fields and functions will be familiar to you. Hopefully, you will find the user interface understandable and easy to navigate.
The SSDT is interested in feedback in whatever form you provide it. However, you can help us by following a few guidelines:
- Be as detailed as possible. For example:
- The name of the option you are having problems with
- The name of a Classic program or feature you can not find a replacement for
- If reporting a bug, please describe the steps to reproduce the problem, if possible
- Include a "screen shot" or a complete "stack dump" if applicable.
You can deliver your feedback in one of the following ways:
- Create an issue in the USPS-R Feedback Project. If you use this method, please restrict yourself to a single item (e.g. one report, or one bug, etc). If you have a list of issues, please use email instead.
- Contact your ITC and ask them to forward your suggestion
- Send email to email@example.com
If you have general questions about the USPS Redesign software or need clarification on a particular issue, consider joining and posting a question at: http://answers.ssdt-ohio.org/. This is our general Question and Answer site for any topic related to State Software. This is a great place to ask if you're not sure how to use a feature, or questions like "I used to do X in USPS, how is it done in USPS-R?"
Preview Releases to Date
Below is a list of Preview Release versions. See the link(s) below for details on each release.