NewsFlash: Incoming Improvements to the Curse Client

The State of the Client

I want to start out by stating that we're well aware of the issues. We're not deluded into thinking that the current state of the Curse Client is as good as it gets.

Up until this point I've been on the sidelines of the Client, however I'm pleased to say that I'm taking over the project and will be leading product development on the client.

I've spent a large portion of my time over the last several weeks reading forums and talking to people to get a better idea of what people want, need, and hate.

We've recently broken 500,000 Client installs. While that is a very exciting number for us to reach, it also shows us the level of responsibility we have to making sure that the client is the best possible.

The Big Issues

It is the primary purpose of this announcement to help communicate what's going to be changing in the near future. But first let me recap some of the things that are definite issues(in no particular order). This is also not necessarily an all inclusive list.

  • Ignoring manual deletions
  • Installing over addons
  • Downgrading addons
  • UI feedback failures
  • Poorly worded options and button text
  • Too much automation in some places, too little automation in others
  • Lack of features that are considered defacto standards
  • General reliability

Now I want to tell you what we're going to be doing in order to improve things.

What we're going to do about it!

UI Changes

First we're giving the UI an overhaul. The overall goal here is to make sure that the interface is more intuitive, more usable, and that it gives better feedback about what it's doing. To that end we're taking the following steps:

  • In an effort to increase the usefulness of the listings we're making the bottom details pane shrinkable so that you can see more addons listed at a time. You'll be able to view it if you want, but if you prefer you'll be able to use the full size of the window for the listings. Long term you'll even be able to decide what portion of the window is taken up by the bottom pane.
  • We're taking and applying some background colors the listings in order to let you know what' s happening.
    • Gray - For svn, git, and mercurial working copies.
    • Yellow - Ignored addons.
    • Red - Addons that are out of date.
    • Green - Addons that have been updated recently.
    • Purple (maybe) - Addons with unrecognizable versions. (more on that later)

In addition to the above colors we're going to be using sorting to help it make sense. All Yellows and Grays will be forced to the bottom of the listings. All Red and Purples(?) will be forced to the top for easy identification.

  • We're rewording the buttons to make things make more sense to the end user. Intuitiveness is a major concern.
  • Version numbers will be defaulted to instead of dates in the addon listings. We will provide an option for people who prefer dates.
  • Reorganization of the buttons and other controls so that the important ones are more obvious.

We're also going to be enhancing the activity log panel, making some adjustments to the change log viewers, redoing the listing controls to allow you more options, adding more messages back to the user, etc.

New Features

Like I mentioned before we're missing de facto features. And we'll be moving quickly to add them.

  • Alternate Packages - Up until now we've called this disembedded support. It is coming back.
  • Dependency Resolution
  • Manual Deletion Detection
  • Alpha Support
  • Multiple Game Support - So you can manage your PTR or Beta installs separately of your main install
  • Version Pinning - Installation of a specific version.
  • Submodule support - For example you'll be able to selectively install or update to a specific sub folders of an addon.
  • Saved Variable Scrubber - This will be on demand clean up, it will NEVER run automatically.
  • Automated and Manual Backups - We will keep an automatic backup of addons on update. And you'll be able to manually backup and restore a full backup on command.
  • Real Configuration Box
  • Deletion before upgrade - This will probably be enabled by default, I'm open to feedback though. Keep in mind that with the new fingerprint system (outlined below) a dirty upgrade could break future updates.
  • Uninstalled Package Listing - We'll be showing you a new tab of all Unrecognized packs. Limited management will be available via this listing. You'll be able to remove them, and try to identify them.

Several of these above features are considered to be advanced features and we will be labeling them as such.

Changed Behaviors & Methods

One of the larger problems we've faced is about it auto detecting the wrong addons and/or downgrading or otherwise installing things wrongly.

We're taking a few steps to fixing these problems.

Discovery and Detection of versions

First, we're changing our auto detection code. In the next major release we're switching away from toc name based matching to instead use unique version fingerprints. We will both be fingerprinting individual files and packages as a whole in order to know for sure what version you're using.

Because of the fact that this will allow us to know within a very high level of accuracy in identifying exactly what version of a addon you're using we'll be able to reliably recommend upgrades.

The question shifted at that point to knowing what to do when we don't recognize the files. So we're changing the behavior some. For unrecognized packages we'll be displaying a special Unrecognized status. From that point on we won't update the addon until either a) you tell the client to or b) we learn for sure what version that is.

This does have one potential issue, or in some cases a feature, for auto discovery. If you go in and edit an addon, add a file, remove a file, etc the fingerprint of the file will change and then the fingerprint of the whole package will change.

In the case of initial discovery we won't be able to auto detect what project the files belong to. If we do know what project the file belongs to it becomes an Unrecognized version and will no longer be updated until you tell the client to do so. Down side, if you have some zombie files in your directory from unclean upgrades you'll need to manually match the project or tell it to upgrade.

The current toc name based scanner will still be available for suggesting matches in the new Uninstalled Package Listings.

Changes to Defaults

We're changing a few default behaviors. We'll no longer be defaulting to fully automatic addons update as this seems to be counter to the majority of our users usage patterns. We'll be shifting the defaults throughout the client to match the default behaviors of our users.

Popup Questions

These annoying repetitive popup questions will be streamlined out of the client. Anytime we find ourselves saying "well we could ask the user...." we're going to smack ourselves and find away to do it without that.


As a result of the above changes, if anything we'll be overly cautious about doing the wrong thing.

The Mac Version

Having a fully functional Client under Mac is very important to us. We know that it does not follow many of the standard conventions on macs at this time. We will be addressing as many of those as possible, however our first focus is on having a solid product with all the needed features. After we get there we will then focus on asethetics and the macesqueness of the client (is that a word?).

Conclusion

I'm very happy to be stepping up my participation with the Client. I hope that this massive wall of text I've posted has helped you realize just HOW serious we are about delivering the best possible updater.

We will be continuing the free premium preview until we've gotten most of the things in this announcement out the way. We hope to have everything in this missive out to you guys in just a few short weeks.

And as always, please give me as much feedback as possible. Any and all constructive feedback on the things outlined in this announcement is most certainly welcomed.

It's a lot of work to do. We're making daily progress. And I'll keep you posted.


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  • Avatar of gilrandil gilrandil Dec 01, 2008 at 01:47 UTC - 0 likes

    Any chance of getting this fixed with the next release? http://www.curseforge.com/projects/curse-client/tickets/1148-urse-client-excessivly-high-page-faults

    This issue is a real pain since I like having the curse client open all the time so I can tab out and fiddle with it, but the page faults while WoW is running kill performance so I have to turn it off.

  • Avatar of SSdraken SSdraken Nov 26, 2008 at 15:44 UTC - 0 likes

    The one problem I have with the curse client is that addons are updated daily on wowace.com and more like monthly on curse. So I prefer to get the newer versions than the old ones.

    Until addons are updated on curse in sync with wowace.com I will continue to get beta versions here

  • Avatar of Kaelten Kaelten Nov 21, 2008 at 05:53 UTC - 0 likes

    we're doing limited alpha releases so we can find issues and get feedback *before* we make a mass beta release.

    It's taking longer than our initial (ambitious) timelines.

    So far the feedback has been good, and it's starting to shape up into a very serious product.

    WowAce.com & CurseForge.com Adminstrator
    Check out my new addon, OneChoice, it helps you pick quest rewards faster.
    Developer of Ace3, OneBag3, and many other addons and libraries
    Project lead and Mac developer for the Curse Client

  • Avatar of ChaosInc ChaosInc Nov 17, 2008 at 17:16 UTC - 0 likes

    Been about a month with no updates on progress. So where's this at now?

    "And I'll keep you posted." == "Working as intended."

  • Avatar of Kaelten Kaelten Nov 13, 2008 at 07:35 UTC - 0 likes

    Foopex: yep :)

  • Avatar of foopex foopex Nov 12, 2008 at 22:56 UTC - 0 likes

    Multiple Game Support - So you can manage your PTR or Beta installs separately of your main install


    Would this also allow us to update 2 main installations? Particularly, the convenience of updating my wife's addons over a shared network resource.

  • Avatar of HunterZ HunterZ Nov 10, 2008 at 19:08 UTC - 0 likes

    WTB an aggregated RSS feed comprised of updates to the feeds from all projects.

  • Avatar of Tempora Tempora Nov 10, 2008 at 19:07 UTC - 0 likes

    Give us a heads up when there is a working version we can hit up for you :)

  • Avatar of Deathsumoner Deathsumoner Nov 10, 2008 at 14:57 UTC - 0 likes

    @ Kaelten, one feature i thought wowace updater was great for, was the simple features, such as .lua cleanup. Especially if u remove a bunch of addons, its great to click one button!

  • Avatar of Deathsumoner Deathsumoner Nov 10, 2008 at 14:52 UTC - 0 likes

    @marblex... Windows 98 is very unstable, and is built on top of DOS (Disk Operating System) Windows XP is a unix type build, w/e Microsoft wants to call it to avoid getting sued, and XP emulates Dos. XP is very stable compared to vista or 98. However, 64 Bit Vista Ultimate has fewer problems and is good. Point is.. Join the crowd! UPGRADE! No point for a software developer to waste time on old out dated unsupported software.