wyDay blog  |  Downloads  |  Buy
Support forum
wyDay blog
wyDay Home

The wyDay blog is where you find all the latest news and tips about our existing products and new products to come.

wyDay blog

July 10th, 2009

It has to be our most frequently asked question: "When will you guys add automatic updating ability to wyUpdate?"

Our answer: soon Now!. As of v2.5 wyBuild ships with a free AutomaticUpdater control.

Checking vs. Updating

First I need to clarify some confusion. Theres a difference between automatic checking and automatic updating. Its an important difference.

Automatic checking simply checks for a new version and tells your application if there's an update. You can do anything you want with that information. Usually, people just opt to distract their users and launch the updater.

Automatic updating is the full shebang. There isnt an off-the-shelf updater in existence that offers true automatic updating. For an updater to be truly automatic it has to handle everything from checking for updates (the easy part), to quickly and quietly installing the updates (the hard part).

Lies, Damn Lies, and Automatic Updating

Most off-the-shelf updaters tout their ability to do automatic updates. Its a lie. Ive personally tried all of our competitors products and the best thats offered is automatic checking with the option of launching the updater to distract the user and, oh yeah, update their product.

Dont believe me try them yourself. A quick google search will give you a list of 20 of our competitors. I wont bad mouth them by name.

Whats currently in wyUpdate?

As of wyUpdate 2.1 neither automatic checking nor automatic updating is included. The reason we dont include even the bare minimum (automatic checking) is that it introduces a huge usability problem that you, the programmer, have to solve.

Namely, what do you do once the automatic checking reports back that theres a new version? The easy answer the wrong answer is you show your users wyUpdate and force them to update immediately.

This is wrong for 2 important reasons.

  1. It will distract your user. Theyre using your program for a reason. If its a business app, they have work to get done. If its a consumer app like a browser, they have Facebook to visit.
  2. It will piss off your user. They will soon associate your program as the one that keeps bugging them about stuff they dont care about.

If you bug your users enough theyll start looking at your competitors products longingly. Dont push them to the edge.

You should care about updates. Your users almost never will.

Thats not completely true. Your users dont care about updates, they just want a better experience. They care about bug fixes. They care about the new great feature. But they dont want to play janitor and keep their programs in tip-top condition. Its just too much of a hassle.

Frankly, youll be lucky if 1% of your paying users actively search your website for the latest installer. Its your job to deliver it directly to your users.

Or, to put it another way, if you run a supermarket your customers will expect clean floors and fresh food on the shelves. They dont want to clean the floors or stock the shelves. They dont even want to see someone doing it. But they expect it done. If its not done, theyll only think about it in retrospect:

Hey, remember that grimy store with moldy bread? Yeah, thank God we finally have a Wal-Mart!

How will wyUpdate 2.5 solve this problem?

How do you keep your users up-to-date without bothering them? Thats our problem.

In reality its several hundred mini-problems: how do you install an update quickly and quietly when the users in a rush?, what happens if the user shuts down the computer mid update?, what if the user isnt an administrator?, what about Vista UAC?, should the updater be run as a service or a process?, how often should the updater discreetly check for updates?, what happens if the user manually checks for updates when the automatic updating is currently in progress?, what if the files are read-only?, etc, etc, etc.

Weve solved these mini-problems in wyUpdate 2.5. Were currently integrating and testing our solution for the thousands of edge cases.

Besides all of the behind-the-scene changes were making to wyUpdate, were also creating a new open-source component that you can include with your .NET application. It will handle all of the complexity that goes into integrating auto-update directly into your program.

Here are a few screenshots to show what we have in store:

Download the wyUpdate C# source

You can watch our progress as we add automatic updating ability to wyUpdate by checking out the sources from our subversion repository:

svn checkout http://wyupdate.googlecode.com/svn/trunk/ wyupdate-read-only

Or you can wait until its finished and read our full tutorial and download the full source zip file. The tutorial will be extra technical and will feature loads of C# code.

Subscribe to our blog's RSS Feed or follow Wyatt (CEO of wyDay) on Mastodon (@wyatt@hachyderm.io) to keep up-to-date with our latest posts.