Many of the Autodesk Labs Community members are also participants in the Autodesk Beta program. For thiose of you who are not, you might want to get your Autodesk Beta profiles up to date. Why? Because we are looking to unify the Autodesk Labs and Autodesk Beta processes.
When you think about it, the Autodesk Labs process and Autodesk Beta process are very similar. Both are about getting feedback. One big difference is that all Autodesk Lab technology previews are wide open to the public and most (but certainly not all) Autodesk Betas are by invitation under a NonDisclosure Agreement. This affects when a user has to log in to learn about a technology under our processes. (Post-login activities are depicted by red arrows in the flows below.)
Back in 2006, when Shaan Hurley originally spun Labs out of the Beta program, it was to make Labs differentiated by technologies that were new with no guarantee of their future. Despite this difference, as the Program Manager for Autodesk Labs, I have Autodesk Beta envy because the need to process feedback is the same. The user/team interaction capabilities are better on Autodesk Beta than the minimal infrastructure we have on Autodesk Labs. So now it's time to have the best of both worlds.
Since both Autodesk Labs and Autodesk Beta use Autodesk Single Sign-on credentials, we can make this a fairly seamless process. When we add a new technology preview to Autodesk Labs, we will:
- Create the technology preview pages (available to the public like they have always been) on the Labs site.
- Create a project on the Beta portal for the technology preview. This will include a home page, download link (if applicable), and feedback forum.
- Link the Download Now (or Try It Now) images on the Labs site to the home page on the Beta portal.
- Link the Forum image on the Labs site to the forum on the Beta portal.
- Technology previews are open to the public.
- Technology previews do not require an NDA. You are encouraged to talk about them with your friends and colleagues.
- You log in using your Autodesk Single Sign-on user name and password to download a technology preview or try a web service.
- You log in using your Autodesk Single Sign-on user name and password to post messages in the discussion forums.
- The links from the Autodesk Labs site take you to the Beta portal.
- If you do not have an Autodesk Beta profile, you will be prompted to complete one the first time you visit the Beta site. So as suggested in the title of this blog posting, you might want to take care of this one-time action now and get it over with.
- You should see increased interaction with developers, testers, and other team members who bring you technology previews.
This approach will provide a consistent user experience for our customers who evaluate technology previews as well as participate in our Beta programs. This also leverages the power of the Beta portal for the Autodesk Labs process. It’s a win-win for customers and Autodesk alike.
Unification is alive in the lab.