To be Automatic, or be Automated – There is a difference

A developer doesn’t have to look very hard to find an application that employs automatic updating.  In fact, there’s a good chance that an icon down in the system tray right now is informing you of an update’s availability. Some applications tell you ahead of time that updates are available, and some tell you after the fact that an update has been applied. Some are painstakingly obnoxious to the user, and some completely transparent. For most desktop applications, employing a system of automatic updating makes perfect sense.  But for many applications, especially applications consisting of services, server components and databases, automatic updating isn’t very desirable.  But almost always, an automated update process does make sense, and should be employed.

If your application is deployed to more than one location and development is ongoing, then the application should include an automated means to find updates and apply them.  Not always automatic, but always automated. There is a difference. An automated update process won’t just happen on its own, and it often doesn’t even inform the user when an update is available.  It’s there to provide a simple, consistent, single step process to update the installed software. Customers will thank you, and it cuts your support costs.

If your responsible for back office software, you’ve no doubt had the unpleasant experienced of reviewing a software update procedure.  Software you installed a year ago, and haven’t thought of since.  You first have to re-familiarize yourself with software terminology and configuration before you can even make sense of the upgrade procedure. Time consuming.

And if your a developer, you’ve no doubt written an upgrade procedure, supported customers as they perform the upgrade, then tweaked the procedure for better understanding.  Time consuming.

AppLife Update provides the means to automate your application maintenance plan, and could make a significant impact on support costs, especially if your application upgrades involve a multi-step manual upgrade process. Even if your application is complicated, don’t assume that implementing an automated update process would be cost prohibitive.  If you were to start from scratch, it probably would be, but with the built-in actions in AppLife Update, along with the Dynamic Code Action providing the means to write and package up application-specific upgrading functionality, you’ll be automated in no time.