Scripts, tutorials, and general Desktop X help
Published on September 17, 2009 By sViz In OS Customization

Not sure if this is the right category.

I was wondering if there were any way to implement a new feature on WC that kept a log of each time you updated your skin (not description edits.) I'm particularly thinking of DX, but this might apply elsewhere. The reason would be to facilitate a component, or what have you, in DX that can automatically check your WC skin updates page to see if the skin has been updated, and then alerts the end-user that a newer version exists, so they can redownload.

As far as I know the only way to do this is to get your own website and maybe program the widget to look there. But I wanted something that tied in with my existing WC site. So, I thought I could write a script that looked through the source code of my gallery page to find the name of the skin in question, and followed the related link to the skin's main page whereupon it would check a (manually added) update list in the description for newer versions.

So long as I knew ahead of time what the name of my skin would be, and put the right phrases into the description, I think it could work. Any WC implemented update tracker component, I think, would have to rely on the skin name rather than skin ID, as the skin IDs are only generated after uploading. I also imagine the settings could be configured upon exporting (check whether or not you want to use the tracker, enter your website url, final skin name, etc.)

I especially would want this for the project I'm working on now, as I imagine suggestions would come down the line for new features and I would be updating it. I've run into this situation with the weather template, and while I don't think it's so hard to update and re-up, I'm sure there are people who DLed the first version and do not know that a newer one (with a significant change) exists. Such as it was, I had to communicate with several authors.

That said, there would have to be a way to customize the "Hey, a newer version exists!" message so you can give some skin-specific instructions. E.G, for my templates, it wouldn't make sense to tell an end-user to redownload my template when they actually downloaded someone else's widget which used the template. In that case, the author using the template would need the ability to set the Update Tracker component to check their specific widget's update list, and leave a message pointing the user to their site. So, if I change my template, the author with the template knows and goes to change their widget, which would then alert the end-user.

Does any of this make sense? Sound useful? Thoughts?

on Sep 17, 2009

or have the wc linked with impulse so that you dowload the skin using impulse and then if there is an update it will show one available like a normal app or game

on Sep 17, 2009

Not sure about the resources needed for that option Anakey, could slow everything down to a crawl.

on Sep 17, 2009

maybe, it was just an idea anyway  that there is already the foundations  eg impulse already there

on Sep 17, 2009

Don't get wrong, it could work.  Just don't know what is in the plans for Impulse, like Ready to Play for the gaming side of the house.  That looks like it could eat up some resources.

Another thing to consider is Applicantion, Programs and Games are all revenue producers, updates to a skin in the WC Gallery Libraries are not.  That is unless you are talking Master Skins.

Anything can be done as long as resources can be made available.

on Sep 17, 2009

I was thinking something more tied in with WC, as you can't DL regular skins from Impulse. And since everyone already has their own site/gallery here at WC, I thought it'd be easier (relatively speaking  ) than at Impulse. Too, I don't open up Impulse that often, and wouldn't want to have to just to see if all my widgets are up to date. I'd rather my widget tell me, when I ran it, if it was outdated or not.

Also, Impulse updates work because the programs have actually been installed on your computer. No installation involved with regular skins (for DX anyways), so no way for Impulse to tell what skins you have.

on Sep 17, 2009

This sounds like a good use for the old WC Browser and Tray.  All WC subscribers already have access to them. Given some updates and a tweak or two,it could be a good way to keep up-to-date on skin changes. The WC tray could serve to notify you ,much like Impulse Now.

on Sep 18, 2009

As you said, there are two possibilities: a standalone update checker and one using WC data. Each has its advantages and disadvantages.

As I wanted auto-update functionality for my gadgets, I did write my own update script/UI. You need to host the update info and data though, as there is no way to get all the required info from Wincustomize. This gets you nicely integrated auto-update handling, with a custom changelog. It also supports beta/release branches if you need it.

As of now it's tightly integrated into my script library (using ini file handling for ignored updates and things like that). Replacing (or removing) those wouldn't be too much work, but I don't have any time to do it right know. If you are willing to do some scripting work and maintain a standalone version, please PM me and I'll see what I can do.

The second possibility is, as Wizard 1956 said, to use the WC browser API and get update info from it. You won't get as much functionality as with a custom updater, but you won't have to host anything. I also have code for that , but it's quite old and still incomplete (getting the initial update data is done with a zip file and unzipping from VBScript/JavaScript is still a pain - until I finish adding that to my DXSystemEx plugin). That code is almost standalone, but it's old and still needs several hours of work to get to a working state.


on Sep 18, 2009

Hey, that's pretty cool. I don't have the WC browser (as I am not a subscriber.)