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AppLife Update

AppLife Update
AppLife Update

Organizations that create installable Windows software face a huge obstacle with each new release of their software. Each release kicks off a costly and painful process of maintaining all previous installations. Removing this obstacle is what the AppLife Update solution is designed to do. AppLife Update is a compressive, cost effective solution to the issue of maintaining deployed Windows software that works for even the most complicated application installations. Once implemented, AppLife Update enables your software team with the ability to independently and effortlessly maintain all your deployed installations.

Here's how:

Make Necessary Changes
A deployed software application has many parts. Application files, local databases, Windows Services, installed COM components, etc. In order to maintain a deployed software application, you must be able to reliably perform all of the actions necessary to migrate an existing installation from one version to the next. Additionally, the changes must be performed in a transactional process that either succeeds, or rolls back to the original state. With AppLife Update, changes are made by our exclusive AppLife Update Engine. The update engine performs a list of update actions that you define. There are configurable actions to perform all common software maintenance tasks. And for not-so-common tasks, custom actions allow your team to create new actions that can perform the work necessary to keep your deployed installations current.

Authority to Make Changes
Making changes to a deployed client installation almost always requires administrative assistance. For many teams, this is the most expensive and time-consuming challenge of deploying a maintenance update. When administrative rights are required, software teams must coordinate with IT departments to deploy maintenance updates or worse, expect end-users to request administrative support themselves. With the AppLife Update Engine and the Permissions Elevation feature, after a one-time administrative installation, limited-rights users can successfully apply maintenance updates anytime, and without administrative support.

Integrating a Maintenance Process
The maintenance process includes identifying when an update is available, retrieving the new maintenance update, and then initiating the installation of the update. The AppLife Update Solution provides both low-impact and highly customized integration options. For all Windows applications, the Multi-Application Update Manager Windows application or the Application Launcher options are available. For applications built using Microsoft .Net, the AppLife solution includes multiple drag-and-drop Visual Controls. And for those solutions with unique requirements, our extensive API allows for quickly creating an integration process that looks and behaves any way you like.

Maintenance Process Integration
There are many ways to integrate a maintenance process into an installed application. Which method is best very much depends on the individual application and the environment it operates in. For Kiosk applications, a completely automated and silent process is required. For client-server applications, the process must mandate that updates are applied immediately. For utility and stand-alone applications, the process must be as non-intrusive as possible, but still allow the end-user the freedom to apply the update or ignore it. All of these scenarios and more are easily created with AppLife Update.

For all Windows desktop applications, the Multi-Application Update Manager or the Application Maintenance Launcher tool adds maintenance capabilities without any changes to the application source code. Both tools provide a simple, low-touch maintenance scheme for any Windows application.

For .Net Windows Forms or WPF applications, AppLife Update ships with drag-and-drop Visual Controls that can easily be added to your application source code and configured in many different ways to provide a tightly integrated maintenance process. The Simple Quick Start example demonstrates the simplicity with which these controls can be added and configured.

For solutions that require a unique process, Using Microsoft C# or VB.Net and the Update Controller API, the perfect maintenance process can be custom crafted for your software. The Custom Forms Quick Start example demonstrates the use of many of the API methods, events and properties.

Once a maintenance process is integrated, your software can be maintained by creating and publishing update packages that utilize the AppLife Update Engine to maintain your deployed installations.

Creating and Publishing Maintenance Updates
A maintenance update using AppLife Update consists of a list of Update Actions that will be performed on your deployed client. This action list is designed and configured using the AppLife Make Update Windows application. There are over 50 built-in update actions that enables all common update tasks, such as replacing or patching application files, modifying local XML configuration files, running SQL scripts on databases, Starting/Stopping and replacing Windows Services, modifying the Windows Registry and using the Windows command line. And when you need an action that isn’t available, using .Net C# or VB.Net, customized actions can be created and packaged for execution during your maintenance updates. This allows for almost limitless action to be taken during an application maintenance update.

With an action list defined, maintenance updates are created and published to an AppLife Server from within the Make Update application. If your solution is built using an automated or continuous build process, you can integrate maintenance updates using the AppLife Command Line Build Utility or the AppLife MSBuild Task.

Monitoring the Health of Deployed Software
The AppLife Server Dashboard provides a portal to monitor the health and status of your deployed software. At a glance, view the adoption rate of your latest release, look up the version installed on a specific deployed client, be alerted when an update fails and more. With AppLife Update, your organization stays in constant contact with your deployed client software.

New Features in Version 5.4

New Install .Net 4.7 Actions
New actions that will install .Net Framework 4.7 and 4.7.1 on deployed clients.
Support Passing License Key into the Command Line Build Utility
A new optional command line argument accepts your license key, allowing the command line utility to be used with hosted build agents.
Disable AppLife Server Checks
A new property on the Update Controller will disable automatic checks to identify an AppLife Server as the update location.
New Check Folder Exists Action
Checks to see if a designated folder exists and sets a Shared Property with the result.
Optionally place an MSI exit code into a Shared Property
Share the results of an Execute MSI Action with other actions and conditionals in the update.
Corrected an issue with Client ID Hardware Identification Signature
Corrected an issue with AppLife Server Client ID duplication.

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