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software updates: no right way?

there was this post about automatic updates.

what about this prompt:

"hey boss, sorry to bother you at every single startup, i know your time is precious, that you just want to work, and that this message box won't go if you don't do anything, BUT you know what, there is this new version. i know it's the latest, i have checked our server myself. just click on this one link/button, over there, then once on our website, download, and install the new version."

if "anoy" was the unit of annoyance and 100 the maximum amount you can get: i may get 50-60 anoy for the kind of softwares that propose automatic updates, but about 85-95 anoy for those[2] with update prompts at every single build!?

so, no right way?

[2]: tortoisesvn, vlc, virtual box, etc...
Victor the Python Artist Send private email
Friday, May 15, 2009
 
 
The best solution probably are those auto-updaters which propose "Update" - "Remind me Later/Next week etc." - "Cancel".
If you chose next week, you will not be bothered still informed about new versions.
Stray__Cat Send private email
Friday, May 15, 2009
 
 
What about just automatic, silent, and by default ON updating?

For me as user it's OK that the software auto updates as many times as it wants, I just don't want to be bothered...
Javier Send private email
Friday, May 15, 2009
 
 
I don't know if there is a right or wrong answer, but definitely listen to your users if they give feedback.  We discussed this issue at length and “decided to let the user decide.”  Meaning, we have an update menu where the user can check if there is an update and if there is an update THEY decide whether or not to download/install it.  Just one of many ways to do it :)
TimR Send private email
Friday, May 15, 2009
 
 
I have a dialog pop up once every two weeks, asking:

================
Check online for updates?

[] Don't ask me again

[Yes] [No]
================

If the user checks "Don't ask me again" and clicks yes, the program will silently check for updates every two weeks; if no, then it won't pop up the dialog any more.

There's also a "Check for updates" item on the menu. Clicking on this resets the interval to the next auto check to two weeks.
(User deleted) Send private email
Friday, May 15, 2009
 
 
Firefox auto-installs updates when you reboot. That's about as painless as it gets.
Jos Stoned Send private email
Friday, May 15, 2009
 
 
Huh?

FireFox automatically checks for updates *if you tell it to*.

Then it automatically installs them *if you tell it to*.
Craig Welch Send private email
Saturday, May 16, 2009
 
 
Hi,

Of course if you did get your users to sign up for a newsletter this would be a good way to notify them.

Which might then relate to how to get users to sign up for a newsletter..

Mike
Michael Dulin - President
Association of Shareware Professionals
Mike Dulin Send private email
Saturday, May 16, 2009
 
 
For the right way I suggest looking at Sparkle: http://sparkle.andymatuschak.org/ . It's what most Mac apps are standardising on for updates. It puts up a prompt and lets the user skip updates until the next version, be reminded later or update.
Martin Pilkington Send private email
Saturday, May 16, 2009
 
 
If you look at Google Chrome, it updates itself without any intervention or even a choice from the user, it just do update itself.

Now this is not a bad thing to do, but then your software needs to be tip top quality before every release you can't afford to release a version with a showstopper bug.

But then again does not matter what update mechanism you use, all software needs to be top quality.

I would like to have an option to auto update, and if so, it should not bug me all the time.
Adriaan Putter Send private email
Saturday, May 16, 2009
 
 
Adriaan Putter > If you look at Google Chrome, it updates itself without any intervention or even a choice from the user, it just do update itself.

+1. I would suggest this:
1. Install a small EXE that is started silently at boot-time and checks for updates
2. Either provide an option so that the user is warned when starting the main app that a new version is avaible and asked to download it, or it will silently download it when the app is closed and the system idel
3. If the user still hasn't updated after X prompts, force him by not launching the main app: Users can probably understand that it's not safe/possible to have users remain behind while the software is regularly updated.
ZeFred Send private email
Sunday, May 17, 2009
 
 
Some of  the software we develop gets installed in large corporations. As a result, they get pushed out by central install pushers like SMS or Tivoli. The users are running as "user" and consequently would be unable to install anything even if the application has an "update now" button. Developing as a "limited user" would be a smart thing to do if you sell into the corporate market.

One example of an app that annoys several of our other developers is Acrobat (yeah, yeah, I know it annoys a lot of people for a lot of reasons, but just bear with me for a minute here). Under the default settings, it tries to check for updates every launch, even if you have the option set to a different frequency (like every week/month or never).  If you think I'm wrong, just hook up something to monitor the TCP/IP stack (like Fiddler or Wire Shark) then start Acrobat (hint: "crl" stands for certificate revocation list, and is only 1 of the 2 webservice hits every appstart).

Consequently, many other companies are installing update services along side their application. The service runs with very high levels of permissions and so can download and install updates without regard to the (l)user's (lack of) permissions. If you choose this route, you may want to look into BITS in order to get support for downloads when the network traffic is low,  stopping and restarting downloads and keeping track of what parts are already downloaded. This paragraph only applies to Windows.

You are very correct in your remark of "no right way."
Peter Send private email
Sunday, May 17, 2009
 
 
By default, Firefox has the most annoying auto-updates.  First, it forces installs.  So you open the browser to quickly check something and suddenly you're sitting there waiting for the update to finish.  Then when it restarts, it has the obnoxious add-on checker that tells you all your add-ons are maybe or maybe not incompatible with this version and you have no reasonable way of correctly figuring out what to do at this point.  That's my definition of an auto-update process approaching 100 on the annoyance scale -- first, here's a forced update when you just want to use the software followed by a prompt informing you that the forced update probably broke something.
Dave76 Send private email
Sunday, May 17, 2009
 
 
Firefox is in the special class of desktop software that MUST always be up-to-date. I've had problems with plugins not working but I much prefer that to being part of some botnet.
GXT 4 life Send private email
Sunday, May 17, 2009
 
 
Dave76: "By default, Firefox has the most annoying auto-updates."

Has it occurred to you to change the setting to what you want?  It is in Tools - Options - Advanced - Update.

"First, it forces installs.  So you open the browser to quickly check something and suddenly you're sitting there waiting for the update to finish.  Then when it restarts, it has the obnoxious add-on checker that tells you all your add-ons are maybe or maybe not incompatible with this version and you have no reasonable way of correctly figuring out what to do at this point.  That's my definition of an auto-update process approaching 100 on the annoyance scale -- first, here's a forced update when you just want to use the software followed by a prompt informing you that the forced update probably broke something."

So change it already.

Sincerely,

Gene Wirchenko
Gene Wirchenko Send private email
Monday, May 18, 2009
 
 
Gene, please look up the term "default" in a dictionary.
Dave76 Send private email
Monday, May 18, 2009
 
 
Dave76: ' Gene, please look up the term "default" in a dictionary.'

Sure, Dave76.  How about this from dictionary.reference.com?

"Computers. a value that a program or operating system assumes, or a course of action that a program or operating system will take, when the user or programmer specifies no overriding value or action."

If the default value is not acceptable to you, then change the value to something else.

Please look up the term "configure" in a dictionary.

Sincerely,

Gene Wirchenko
Gene Wirchenko Send private email
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
 
 

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