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Author Topic: Update Notifications?  (Read 4022 times)

moerl

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Update Notifications?
« on: October 18, 2005, 07:41:08 PM »
I'd like to stay up to date with the software provided here on DonationCoder.com. How about a locked sticky thread for each program here that is editable by admins and the software author that will only get updated when a new release or beta release is out? When subscribed to that thread, a user will always know when there are updates through email notifications. This is a great way to implement "update" notifications as it requires very little effort.

Also.. how can I easily access the beta releases for DC.com software? I can't find the beta of F&RR anywhere :/.

mouser

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Re: Update Notifications?
« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2005, 11:07:54 PM »
very good point, and we need to standardize how we do all this.  let's quickly comes to a consnesus on how to handle it and stick with it.

here's the situation so far:

The "DOWNLOADS" button in the forum brings you to our "Latest Releases" page which has all of the programs on the site, versioned and dated, and sorted by last public release date within each category, which should make it easy to identify what's new.

But this page does not always list the latest cutting edge beta version.  we could change this by adding a column showing the latest beta version that people could download.  the only problem we might have with that is that some sites like BetaNews automatically pick up on beta releases and announce them, which is great except when you are releasing a new beta every night as we sometimes do when we get in a coding frenzy, and then you start to annoy people..

Regardless of whether the latest betas are shown on that page, there is value to having them announced on the forum in an official way.
Probably the cleanest solution was suggested earlier, and again by you, which is that each program, in its own forum section, have a thread dedicated to the latest release, kind of like a "version history" thread.  subscribing to that thread would get you the notifications about updated that you want.  This makes sense to me and i suggest we adopt it officially starting to day.

moerl

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Re: Update Notifications?
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2005, 12:00:44 AM »
Awesome! I'm glad you agree with me. I thought of it because I've seen it implemented in other places around the web and it works beautifully. Opera Software has been doing it for a while now and it worked out really well.

I understand that you can hit the Downloads button on the page, but obviously that's no good in terms of notification... I mean, that requires users to click there every once in a while, unless they use a web watcher app like Website Watcher. I've started using it recently and while I like it I think the author could seriously make MAJOR, MAJOR improvements in the interface and the preferences.. all that stuff is so incredibly much and complicated, and this is a rather experienced software saying that... I mean, I get a headache trying to figure out what all those settings mean in Website Watcher! And I'm the type of person who likes to know what a program I'm using can do, what it's capable of. Therefore, the first thing I always do when installing a new piece of software is to go through its preferences. You can imagine what surprise I ran into when doing that with WW...

Sorry for getting OT here. Anyway, I think it's the best way to do it, and requires so little effort! I mean, someone could be asking for a an update newsletter service from the site or something.. what for? It would require some effort because it would have to be integrated into the site. This, on the other hand, couldn't be any simpler. I also see other benefits.. like, as you mentioned, these dedicated threads could also serve as changelogs as its usually done with that type of thread. You can announce both final and beta version in there, using modifiers like * = bug fixed, + = new feature, - = feature removed and whatever you think is necessary. It would be a very clean way of keeping the entire changelog of a particular program in one way and publicly, universally accessible at the same time.

I say, let's do it!

moerl

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Re: Update Notifications?
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2005, 12:05:33 AM »
Awesome, thank you mouser! I see you already made the appropriate thread for F&RR. I'm sure you've made the corresponding threads for all the other programs as well. I won't be checking that now :). I subscribed to that thread now. Thanks!

See.. for example, I'm running 1.07.18 beta of F&RR.. I never knew, until now, that 1.07.20 has already been released :(. I had no idea! Question.. can I install the latest final release over the build I'm currently running?

mouser

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Re: Update Notifications?
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2005, 12:07:16 AM »
yep - every single one of our programs is designed so that you can just install latest version on top of previous.  :up:
if the program is currently running in the tray, exit it first (it will complain and remind you to do so if you forget).

mouser

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Re: Update Notifications?
« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2005, 12:18:06 AM »
very good ideas shangnyun, and also i think it's a great idea to have a formal way of announcing the releases for each program as you say.
and the idea of having 2 locked announcement threads, one for latest beta, and one for latest official release, seems like a good idea to me.

btw, every program on our site, on its web page, has a link to it's complete Online Help, and the bottom of that page is a complete version history as well as list of related applications.  just something to keep in mind, though i agree with you that a nice locked thread describing version history is more accesible (but i might truncate it, so for example only show history of last year or so).

the other thing i hope to add soon is an optional program unpdate checker for our software, for people who like to have new versions automatically detected and downloaded, but that's for later.

moerl

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Re: Update Notifications?
« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2005, 01:10:35 AM »
Excellent. We are in total agreement here. I didn't think of that, but that's an improvement over my ideas already. Having two threads, that is, one for final, the other for beta releases. Perfect!

I'm aware of the online help and also agree that you wouldn't need the entire changelog in those threads. Truncate it and at the bottom where users would expect the rest to be, simply provide a direct link to the online help file with a note saying that the rest of the changelog is to be found there. (Not sure why anyone would care, but just for the sake of completion, this would be the most elegant way to do it).

The auto-updater is another excellent idea. Personally, that's the way I like it best. When I don't even have to deal with checking for updates myself, but when the software does it on its own. I like when software can check for updates, and I like it best when it can also update a usually smaller file than the original setup to just update what it needs. That's the best it can be. Mozilla realized this as well and are implementing just that for Thunderbird and Firefox right now. It's evident from their latest betas which I am using for both FF and TB. In previous releases, both TB and FF would also check for updates and then simply download the entire, original, new setup file of the latest release if the user clicked on the "update now" option from within the application's interface. Setup would run and remind the user to close the app in question so that setup could complete successfully. That works, of course, but isn't the most elegant way to do it. They realized that and took action. The latest"incarnation" of Mozilla's auto-update for TB and FF is just beautiful. Instead of downloading the whole 5MB or so standard setup file, the latest betas download only what's new, which usually means a file of about 700KB or even less in size! It's quick, easy, clean and fast and essentially perfect. The only reason I can think of why most devs don't already use this method of updating is because I suppose it involves a fair amount of additional effort to code that kind of auto updater. I can't imagine it's too hard but I suppose it's hard enough, otherwise everyone would/should be doing it that way. If you have the resources, (i.e. hosting, time, skills, etc.), there is no reason NOT to be doing it that way! I applaud your decision to potentially implement that in your software. It's the inevitable next step in the evolution of your software.

I'm off to install the latest F&RR :)

PS
I love the spell-checker here on the forums :D

Carol Haynes

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Re: Update Notifications?
« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2005, 04:34:29 AM »
One suggestion would be to have a link on each program page to link to something like www.ChangeDetection.com.

That way people could choose to easily recieve emails every time the app page is changed (eg. version number changes).

You could also have a new apps page with a similar link.

I have found changedetection very useful for some sites that I like to keep an eye on but only change occasionally.

It's a free and easy way to keep up to date without an spam implications (or other irritations)  that I am aware of, and best of all it would have little or no impact on DonationCoder's bandwidth!