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Posts tagged with 'All Products'

On Product Feedback

All Products 1 Comments

It's been a few months since the installation programs for our products were updated to request feedback on when the affected product is uninstalled. Since percolating through our different release channels we've been receiving more and more feedback, particularly regarding WebCopy.

What surprises me is that while the vast majority is anonymous "reason code" feedback without context, there is quite a lot of quality and useful feedback describing problems and shortcomings. Which is really helpful, and I wish I had thought to put this in years ago. (It was only after a third party tool I use prompted for feedback and then fixed the issue that my feedback related to that I belatedly thought "Oh, wouldn't this be a good thing to do".)

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.NET 4.6 is now required for all Cyotek products

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It's been a year since I announced that WebCopy would be moving from Microsoft .NET 3.5 to 4.5, therefore ending XP support. As Microsoft have now discontinued support for 3.5 and 4.5, all Cyotek products will be using .NET 4.6 in subsequent builds, starting with the nightlies.

This change will mean that no future builds of our products can be used on Windows XP. Vista Service Pack 2 will be the minimum supported operating system.

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Introducing nightly builds

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At the start of the year, all of our build processes were finally CI friendly and wired up to Jenkins. Now, whenever a commit is made to our SVN repository, the relevant products are built, tested, and deployment artefacts produced.

As well as building the setup programs our users ultimately install, the build process now also extracts all the files and tests them for dependency errors, using a slightly more improved version of a sample I posted some years ago. This will hopefully avoid future issues where we introduce a new dependency then forget to update setup with it, as has happened in the past.

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Identifying genuine Cyotek software

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Update 07Jan2017. As of January 2017, all binaries are signed as Cyotek Ltd

Every so often, we'll receive a Google alert which has a link to HerdProtect or TotalVirus with a page merrily listing one of Cyotek's executable files are being a virus. I'll duly check these pages only to discover that while it might be one of our files (or a file with the same version information), it has been modified, renamed and then dumped in one of the Windows system folders attempting to masquerade as another component.

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Status update

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It's now been more than a month since my slightly glum post about the state of WebCopy (and other product) updates, so I thought I'd post a brief update.

The last month has been spent developing and testing a new system for collating exception details and work is progressing well. It has been a really fun project to work on as I took the opportunity to use things I wouldn't normally use, such as a full REST API for managing pretty much everything, proper constructor based dependency injection (the last time I "used" DI I basically stuck the container on a static and treating it as a service locator... not the best of ideas) and IoC practices, compo...

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Bug tracking and software updates, or when free software isn't free

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As I finalize this post, I'm staring at almost 2000 emails, all of which are automated error notifications. Around 1000 of these are for WebCopy alone, stretching back nearly two years. There's lots of duplication, and lots of issues that have already been fixed in newer versions of the software. Regardless, however you look at it it is an unmanageable amount.

Some quick background into exceptions - when a fatal exception occurs, the end user is given the chance to report this (meaning it's possible we could never receive reports of rare exceptions). The report is then dumped into the database behind cyotek.com - some of it in an old table for recording the basics of an exception, the rest as HTML in an even older and poorly designed issues table. Oh, and that not-very-readable HTML is sent as a notification email.

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COMODO Certificate Revoked

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For the past two years, all Cyotek products have been digitally signed, providing some peace of mind that when you download one of our products you can be certain it hasn't been tampered with.

At some point in the last few days, COMODO have revoked the certificate we use, for reasons I'm still trying to ascertain from their support department. The net result of this is every Cyotek product released in the past 10 months is now unusable, as when you try and start any executable, it will immediately crash due to the revoked certificate.

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Potential support for localization

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After the last mammoth update to Gif Animator, I wanted a task that was slightly distracting rather than just fixing bugs. A couple of requests in the past have been about localization, so I had a look at the metrics we have gathered on software usage to see what different languages were being used.

The vast majority of sessions for all our products (around 70%) used English, followed by a variety of other locales, the top four being French, Chinese, Spanish and Russian (around 20% for those four) with the final 10% in a long list of other languages. So, well worth taking a look at localization!

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Upcoming support for portable settings

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In my last "all products" update, I discussed how the user interface was being made more useful. In this second, shorter, update I will briefly cover upcoming changes to settings.

As with the previous UI update, this will only apply to new versions of our tool set that have been redeveloped to use the new libraries (at time of writing only an internal build of Gif Animator).

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First looks at multiple documents and docking windows

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Two years ago we created a prototype for a new version of the help authoring tool we used to offer. The main reason for the prototype was to trial writing a new product using test driven development (TDD) techniques. This worked very well, but not so well when it came to adding a user interface.

All our current tools use a standard series of libraries we've developed over the years, and provide vast amounts of common functionality, from settings management, windows and UI components, plug-ins, and a lot more. However, they all work around the principle of a single application window bound to a single document, with a variable amount of custom views that can be hosted in that window.

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