[plt-scheme] Version Check

From: Eli Barzilay (eli at barzilay.org)
Date: Thu Apr 27 03:33:30 EDT 2006

[The intention I had was not to start a debate, so I'll just write a
few clarifications.]

On Apr 26, Neil Van Dyke wrote:
> The checkbox to enable the check for new versions could appear in
> multiple places at once: (1) on a tab of the Preferences dialog; and
> (2) on the result dialog that appears when a check-for-new-versions
> operation is invoked manually from the Help menu.

Of course it must be possible to disable this check on the window that
pops up (when it does).  Also, there is no menu entry -- that was the
old thing that is completely gone now.

On Apr 26, Neil Van Dyke wrote:
> In any case, I think it is necessary (but not necessarily
> sufficient) that the network privacy policy disclose the ways in
> which the phone-home data might be used.

Yes, that should be made clear.  The question is how to make it
sufficiently visible.

On Apr 26, Matthias Felleisen wrote:
> Technical: On my own hardware OS, I can ignore the dialog that says
> "new stuff is out there." That's critical. Sometimes I want it to
> hang around for a couple of hours, until I am ready. Sometimes I
> want to update now. Sometimes I want it to just go away for a long
> time. -- A modal dialog just doesn't cut it.

OK, I changed that.

On Apr 26, Williams, M. Douglas wrote:
> The one thing I would like - and it might already do it - is to have
> an option that would also check for new pre-release versions.  I
> tend to have one of my machines at the latest pre-release.

The underlying checker does consider whether you have an alpha version
or not.  It can say something like "you have the recent stable version
but there's a newer alpha version", but the GUI ignores it.  The
bottom line is that the GUI will ignore newer alphas if you have a
stable version, and will tell you about a newer alpha if you have one.
There is no facility that does the same for nightly builds, since
there is a new build (roughly) every day.  (And yes, if not writing
proposals and such then the log files would just get ignored.)

On Apr 27, Anton van Straaten wrote:
> The language level dialog was unsuccessful at least partly because
> it was complicated, and was communicating something that new users
> didn't understand.  Having a couple of checkboxes about checking for
> updates and communicating usage statistics is much more likely to be
> successful.  Many commercial products have something similar at
> install time.

To clarify this -- we're not talking about "usage statistics" like
winamp that can report what on-line music you listen to, or google-bar
that reports sites you visit to know how they rank.  We're talking
about a simple by-product: counting different ips in http log files to
get an estimate of number of users.  Whenever such numbers are needed
now, I count accesses to the download pages, but that's more difficult
to use.  No language level use, installed planet packages, os, etc.

On Apr 26, Jim Blandy wrote:
> There are so many alternatives:
> - Add a button to the splash screen that says, "check for updates".
> - Once a week (or whatever), pop up a dialog that suggests checking
> for updates.  That could also have options for "don't suggest
> checking for updates again" "suggest again later", etc.
> - Add a "check for updates" item to the File menu, or someplace more
> prominent.

User-triggered checks were a failure.  During the 209->299->300
transition, the version check thing got broken, and for months nobody

On Apr 26, Jim Blandy wrote:
> And now that I think of it --- this raises an important point.  If
> you do decide to make the checks automatically, be very obvious
> about it, the way RHN's icon is, or more so.  Pop something up that
> says "Checking Web for DrScheme updates".  Do something to deflect
> the impression that the check is surreptitious.

An icon would be too small to be meaningful, a window that requires
user attention defeats the purpose and a window that doesn't require
attention will look like a bug.  There is no point in a RHN-like icon:
we're talking about something much less active than the constant work
that rhn does.

          ((lambda (x) (x x)) (lambda (x) (x x)))          Eli Barzilay:
                  http://www.barzilay.org/                 Maze is Life!

Posted on the users mailing list.