Advisory: upcoming changes to StationPlaylist Studio and Windows 10 App Essentials add-ons: handing control over updates to Add-on Updater and NVDA Core


 

Hi all,

 

The following advisory is applicable if you are using StationPlaylist Studio and/or Windows 10 App Essentials. Also, it could serve as some sort of a history lesson behind how Add-on Updater actually came to be, as I think this is essential for understanding NVDA issue 3208 going forward:

 

Sometime this year, I will let Add-on Updater (proof of concept add-on) check for updates for StationPlaylist Studio and Windows 10 App Essentials. At the moment these add-ons are excluded from update checks because they come with their own update check routines, which in turn inspired Add-on Updater and gave ideas for allowing NVDA Core to check for add-on updates (issue 3208).

 

Background: in 2016, I wrote update check feature for StationPlaylist Studio add-on, which connected to my website and downloaded updates. In 2017, this was extended to Windows 10 App Essentials. The update routine for these add-ons were inspired by NVDA’s own update check feature, and add-on update facility was generalized in 2018 to cover other add-ons via Add-on Updater.

 

At the moment these two add-ons require special handling for update checks because:

 

  • StationPlaylist Studio: additional channels are present, including longterm (LTS) and a separate fast ring channel (which corresponded to old NVDA next snapshots in functionality).
  • Windows 10 App Essentials: some people are testing pilot builds, which are development snapshots that takes advantage of latest NVDA changes.

 

In the next few weeks, I’ll make changes to these add-ons so that a single development snapshot build will be released for these, allowing those using current NVDA release channels (stable, beta/RC, alpha, source code) to use old and new features. This will be accomplished by using various attribute checks (hasattr function, for example) and using appropriate code paths. This change also makes it easier for Add-on Updater, and in extension, NVDA Core, to check for add-on updates.

 

Specifically:

 

  • StationPlaylist Studio: instead of Test Drive Fast/Slow rings (pilot and regular snapshots), those on fast ring will be moved to development channel (formerly slow ring). A new checkbox will be used to let development channel users test features under development, and you need to confirm your intention (if you are using fast ring right now, this checkbox will be checked for you). The channels list and other controls for configuring add-on update checks will be disabled if you’ve got Add-on Updater and/or NVDA supports add-on update feature.
  • Windows 10 App Essentials: unless incompatible changes must be tested, separate pilot builds will be discontinued once NVDA 2018.3 stable version hits the air. Also, if you’ve got Add-on Updater and/or NVDA advertises add-on update checks, Windows 10 App Essentials entry will not be added to NVDA preferences menu (that’s because the only thing configurable from that dialog right now is update check feature).
  • Add-on Updater: entries for the two add-ons above will be added once changes are made to these add-ons.

 

Thanks.

Cheers,

Joseph

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