Again, a lot of work has been spent over the past 3 months since beta4 to stabilize the code and to bring in new features and improvements - it is by far more than I would be able to list here as there were almost 600 pull requests merged since beta4. This makes 200 per month, i.e. more than 6 every single day! This is really a vibrant community
But let me nonetheless name a few highlights:
- There is a newly introduced welcome page on the very first start after a fresh installation. This makes it easier for beginners to choose a set of add-ons to start with (a detailed documentation of the packages will follow soon).
- A new audio & voice infrastructure is in place, which now allows using text-to-speech engines on different outputs, such as Sonos speakers, Chromecast devices or Onkyo receivers - more to come!
- The storage of Things, Items, etc. that are created through the Paper UI or HABmin is no longer done in the binary mapDB. Instead this is now stored as (human-readable) JSON, so that there is a chance to look into it, manipulate it if necessary and more easily create partial backups.
- HABPanel has made a huge progress and it is no longer declared "experimental", but is considered to be a well working dashboard UI for openHAB.
- Last but not least, I would like to also mention that beta5 has the new openHAB Cloud Connector add-on included, which is required to connect to the new myopenHAB service that is hosted by the openHAB Foundation.
To eat my own dog food, I have switched my personal production environment at home to openHAB 2 in November and (like I have heard from many others) it is running stable and smooth since then. This makes me confident that we should have openHAB 2.0 released soon and recommend it to the whole community as a replacement of openHAB 1.x. Thus, I have agreed with the @maintainers that we would like to aim for January 22, 2017 for the openHAB 2.0 release! One of the major things that needs improvement is the documentation, though. @ThomDietrich has put a lot of effort into its structure and content, but you will still find many places that ask for contributions - so if you feel that you have some knowledge, which you would want to share there, please help improving the documentation!
With this, I would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and would like to thank the whole openHAB community for their passion and enthusiasm about openHAB! Keep up the good work and let us all look together forward to a successful 2017!