Automatic Updates

by Nate Hekman on September 30, 2008

With version 7.13 just released last week, I’d like to describe how the automatic update notification works.

The Simple Story

The theory is simple.  Every time you run GeoStudio, it checks our web site to see if there’s a newer release.  If it finds one, it displays a message on the Start Page.

If you have version 7.10 or higher you get a message like this:

If you have an older version you get something like this instead:

In either case, simply click the link and you’ll get taken to a page where you can download the new version. Download it, run it, and it updates your current installation to the latest.

Exceptions to the Rule

7.13 was released last Wednesday.  But some of you are likely thinking, “hey, I ran GeoStudio last Friday and it didn’t say anything about a new version!”

In fact the very astute among you may even have noticed that you’ve been running version 7.11 for the last four months without getting any update notification, even though version 7.12 has been available on our web site since July.

What’s going on here?!

What’s going on is that we intentionally delay alerting people through the Start Page.  And in a few exceptional cases we may choose never to publish the alert at all.

The Overseas Bug

We almost always wait about a week from when a new version is released before publishing the notification that GeoStudio displays.  I think that practice dates back to version 6.18–did any of you experience 6.18?

We do some pretty rigorous testing in-house before every release, but we had some very embarassing days in March 2006 when we released version 6.18: we introduced a bug in 6.18 that only happened to people in Europe.  It passed all our tests, but within hours after we released it (and in those days we published the update notice immediately) our phone started ringing off the hook from irate Europeans.  And rightly so!  GeoStudio would corrupt any data file saved on a system where the comma was used as the decimal character.  Once you saved, you could never open the file again.

We found and fixed the problem quickly and posted a new update (and we could manually fix any corrupted files customers emailed us), but those were not happy days in our office.

Real-Life Testing

We do two things differently now:

  1. We post betas before publishing a new release.  A handful of people from all over the world use the betas on real-life problems, so there’s more chance to find unusual bugs that our normal testing doesn’t reveal.
  2. We trickle out new releases.  We don’t want everyone to download a new release the moment it’s out.  We let a few people download it, a few others get it on CD, and if we don’t hear any negative feedback within the first few days, then we’ll let the rest of our users know.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1

Rodolfo Acosta Vazquez 12.17.10 at 3:05 pm

Soy usuario del geoslope, este año no lo use el software, a mitad de año me cambiaron mi PC, y al instalar el GEOSLOPE 2204, ya no pude reiniciar, me manda a una version estudiantil, me pueden ayudar a poder instalarlo de nuevo. Es una licencia perpetua.

2

Nate 12.17.10 at 4:13 pm

Rodolfo, you should email support [at] geo-slope [dot] com if you are having problems with your license. If it’s just the student license that you need, it is included for free with GeoStudio 2004. You can download the software at http://www.geo-slope.com/downloads/2004.aspx.

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