How Do You Deliver Updates To Users?

I need to deliver updates to my customers. Are there any best practices, techniques or tools available that help with this process?

We develop in Java; the applications are deployed using a traditional graphical installer. When we need to deliver bugfixes, we  use a simplistic approach:

diff -r -q -N $OLD_RELEASE_DIR $NEW_RELEASE_DIR | awk '{print $4}' | zip -r $ARCHIVE_NAME -@

The command compares two directories and adds every differing file to a zip file. Later, this file is wrapped in a self-extractor and sent to the customer. Of course, this works only if the new release doesn't contain any incompatibilities.

In the foreseeable future, we need to deliver more complex updates, possibly introducing changes in the data format.

So my questions are:

Every hint is appreciated.

Tue, 01 Feb 2005, 20:32 | Java | PermaLink
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