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A Brilliant Idea

I’ve just had a brilliant idea.

I’m kind of fed up of having to identify when a new version is available for some of the Open Source software that I use (e.g. SciTe, PuTTY, etc). I know that some tools have their own updating system (e.g. Firefox, Thunderbird, to name a few), but other’s don’t and it is often those pieces of software that get some of the more serious bugs.

What “the world” could do with, is a universal update awareness system.

Imagine this, I have SciTe and PuTTY installed. I download a small application, and subscribe to a “feed” for each piece of software. When the feed is updated, the software checks the installed version of the software (not sure how to fully accomplish this one), and does a simple version check (if installed_version_number < new_version_number then update_needed = true). The software can then alert the user (in anyway it sees fit) that an update is available. Furthermore, in the interests of paranoia (!), the application would be required to not download and install the application without user intervention.

My description of the word “feed” may be a little misleading: I’m not talking RSS/Atom here, as I think that although it’s got the right basics, it probably would not be best suited to this application. The feed would probably describe an “Application Name”, a “Version Number”, a “Download Location”, a “Description Of Changes”, and a “Update Importance Level”, and probably anything else that would suit the situation.

This would of course mean that software developers would need to provide support for this system (through a feed on a website, and a definition file deployed along with the application), but seeing the way that the open source community (and some closed source – see http://blogs.msdn.com as an example) have embraced things like RSS, I think that they will show some form of interest!

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  1. Rich
    July 10th, 2005 at 18:33 | #1

    Apple’s Software Update, and almost every application on a Mac…

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