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What’s in a version

February 21, 2012

You wouldn't think the question about what makes a new version new would be very complicated or lead to lengthy debates, but that's just what is happening at the moment, and it has implications for everyone. Read on to see what a version means to companies like Google, and also us here at Extravision.

It used to be that a new version of your favorite program would only come about once or twice a year, but the rise of the internet as an application platform has changed all that. The opportunity to innovate rapidly and often with your web presence is matched by the desire the tools you use to do the same thing.

Rapid updates used to be the preserve of security updates, and even then the most you could hope for was a popup window that got in your way telling you to click a link that took you to a web page where there was a link to download a file that you could download and run. Which was so much work hardly anyone ever did it. If you wanted a new report, a new screen or a new export format from your tool you would have to wait months and months, and probably pay, so you could get the new version, with it's ever expanding list of features.

But now some of the internet's biggest players are changing this. Mozilla's Firefox web browser is moving to a rapid release cycle with a new version number every few weeks. The competing Chrome browser has given up on version numbers all together. And they certainly wont be bothering you with a popup window that often, they'll just keep themselves up to date quietly in the background. Even Flash is getting in on the act. What this achieves is being able to get new features, not just bug fixes, out to users in a much shorter space of time.

So what does a new version mean now, if you get a new one every few weeks ?

Typically a new version means only one or two new features, or maybe nothing visible, just a bit more performance or a few visual tweaks to polish some rough corners somewhere.

So is there still room for the big flashy upgrade ?

Actually, yes, there is, and it's playing on our minds here at Extravision because we're going to be doing just that in a month or twos time. Shortly we will be release a new version of our reporting platform - not just a minor tweak or a few new bits and bobs, but a totally new revamped look, all new features and slicker navigation. As well as being easier to use we've also been listening over the last few weeks to our beta testers, and have some great new features planed for the final release already.

We're aiming to set a new high watermark for what we can deliver to you, as well as giving a fresh baseline we can build upon for the future. So, for instance, this new version means all the confusing little extra options you never used will be gone. The tools you really need will be front and center, not hidden deep in a multi-stage menu. And, yes, maybe some feature you only needed once in the last few years is now harder to find or missing altogether. We're interested to hear about those things as much as your feelings on the entirely new new things that replace them.

We understand this will be a big change for our users, so shortly we'll be starting a series of posts here on the blog about the new system, showing you some of the new features you can expect to see. We'll also be reaching out to you closer to the time to let you know exactly what to expect and when.

We can't wait to show you. Can you wait to see it ? No ? Sign up to the beta today, there's still a short time to earn yourself an iPad. It's a version two iPad, if you still worry about the version number of things :-)

Posted by Tom Chiverton
New Features, Technology

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