Everybody knows software updates. A window pops up to notify you an update is available, you accept and a few seconds later you have new features (and less bugs, hopefully).
Automatic software updates are great and generally make everybody’s lives better. As a developer I can be sure most of my customers are using the latest version. As a user you press a single button to update, instead of going to the website, downloading a new package and overwriting the previous version.
All Danger Cove apps (except the ones on the App Store) use Sparkle for automatic updates. Sparkle checks a feed every day and lets you know when a new version is available. Getting that feed online is what I want to talk about today.
Previously I manually edited these feeds and manually wrote the release notes in a text editor. Knowing that I have to look up version numbers, file sizes and sign the update (for security, nobody should be able to release an update in my name). This can take some time.
That’s why I’ve made Glow and if you’re a software developer, it might come in handy for you as well. That’s why I’ve released it on GitHub. Here’s my description of it.
Glow is a tool that generates Sparkle-compatible Appcast update feeds and html release notes for your Mac projects. It’s not a full blown, database driven, multiple project supporting, update releasing laser canon. Rather it’s a clean, easy to use script that will automate 90% of releasing updates to your users.
The GitHub page contains a very detailed walkthrough on how to get started.
Automating the process of creating these updates leaves more time to work on fixing bugs and adding cool new features. Also, I might have some more time to style those release notes :).