What is Totara Evergreen?
Shaping the future of learning
Totara Learning is now greener than ever - and no, I’m not talking about their logo. First mentioned almost a year ago, the ‘Evergreen’ version of Totara Learn is finally here and with it comes regular, monthly updates of the latest features and functionality.
New versions of Totara are currently released on an annual basis, with Totara 10 due in October. Evergreen provides an alternative Totara release cycle, with incremental releases of the new features that will eventually be included in the next annual release. The end product of both cycles is the same, but the method of getting there differs.
First impressions of Totara Evergreen
So what does Evergreen mean for you, the client?
Firstly, you’ll be able to see up-and-coming features as they are released. If you have a custom Totara site, it will also help you make more informed decisions about when to upgrade.
Your needs and requirements have continually shaped the Totara roadmap. Evergreen creates an even more collaborative development environment, with a continual review and feedback cycle that allows features to be improved and refined across the monthly releases, which should ultimately result in an even better product.
There is also the potential to apply monthly Evergreen releases to a live Totara site. This could be a great option for Totara customers who have few or no customisations but isn’t so well suited to more complex custom sites, or business-critical applications.
If you switch to an Evergreen release cycle, you’ll need to take all monthly updates, which combine both bug fixes and new features. That’s because you’ll need to update on a monthly basis and take all the updates within each release - you can’t just pick and choose the specific features or bug fixes you want. For a complex custom site the overhead is likely to outweigh the benefits.
One other potential challenge in using Evergreen on a live Totara Platform is that interfaces and screen layouts may change across the monthly releases, as Totara’s focuses on improving the end user experience.
Kineo’s verdict on Evergreen
Evergreen is truly a great tool for collaborative development and for having early visibility of new features. We see some real potential for Evergreen with some live sites in the future, such as our SaaS offering, but there are a number of caveats for us to work through to ensure that we continue to deliver great customer service.