Community Update: New Features in 1.4 and Platform Heads-up

This post offers a heads-up about features in Evergreen 1.4, the next major Evergreen release, due out by early fall 2008, and also offers some information specific to PostgreSQL and OpenSRF.

New features in Evergreen 1.4

Internationalization support for the OPAC and staff client. User interfaces, messages, currencies, dates, etc. will all be displayed according to the chosen locale of the user, and will be able to be switched dynamically. We will need translators; a call for volunteer translators will go out soon!

Online payments, originally scheduled for the 2.0 release, will actually be introduced in the 1.4 release this summer, thanks to the contribution of Niles Ingalls at Hussey-Mayfield Memorial Public Library in Zionsville, IN.

Z39.50 and SRU server support. Evergreen will now be able to act as a Z39.50 server and a SRU server — an important feature for interlibrary loan, federated search, and other library applications.

Ability to search across defined groups of libraries, rather than just hierarchical sets of libraries (affectionately called “org_unit lassos” because they bind arbitrary sets of org_units together in a single search group)

Reminder notices, also known as pre-overdue notices, will be part of the 1.4 release.

Record loading in 1.4. Just to clarify, bibliographic data will still need to be loaded in MARC21 format; libraries that currently have UNIMARC data will need to convert it to MARC21 using a tool like MARCON to use Evergreen.

Platform heads-up for Evergreen 1.4

PostgreSQL 8.2 for Evergreen 1.4 (dropping support for PostgreSQL 8.1, no official support for PostgreSQL 8.3 yet). PostgreSQL 8.2 offers better performance and some significant feature enhancements over PostgreSQL 8.1; therefore, we strongly suggest that any new sites deploy Evergreen on PostgreSQL 8.2 and will be dropping support for PostgreSQL 8.1 with the Evergreen 1.4 release this summer.

PostgreSQL 8.3+ for Evergreen 2.0

We are currently working on adding support for PostgreSQL 8.3, which brings even more performance and feature enhancements to the table, but which also requires a refactoring of some of our code base. Therefore, we are holding off on official support for PostgreSQL 8.3 until the Evergreen 2.0 release in the spring 2009 time frame, to ensure that the changes have been thoroughly tested.

OpenSRF 1.0 for Evergreen 1.4

OpenSRF 1.0 will be the minimum required version for Evergreen 1.4. (Open Service Request Framework, pronounced “open-surf,” is the software architecture at the core of Evergreen, invented by Evergreen’s developers.)

OpenSRF 0.9 has served us well since July 2007, but the performance enhancements, new features (such as OpenSRF-over-HTTP), and usability improvements in OpenSRF 1.0 make it a mandatory upgrade. The build system for OpenSRF 1.0 has been standardized with the use of autoconf & automake, so installing and configuring OpenSRF 1.0 will be a snap.

(Special thanks to Dan Scott for help with this post!)