Is automatic upgrades a realistic feature to expect from enterprise Web applications?

Question :

Is automatic upgrades a realistic feature to expect from enterprise Web applications?,

Answer :

Most of the work I do is with what could be considered enterprise Web applications. These projects have large budgets, longer timelines (from 3-12 months), and heavy customizations. Because as developers we have been touting the idea of the Web as the next desktop OS, customers are coming to expect the software running on this “new OS” to react the same as on the desktop. That includes easy to manage automatic upgrades. In other words, “An update is available. Do you want to upgrade?” Is this even a realistic expectation? Can anyone speak from experience on trying to implement this feature?

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At  we have enterprise installations ranging into the thousands of seats. If we implemented an auto-upgrade, our customers would mutiny!

Large installations have peculiar issues that don’t apply to small ones. For example, with 2000 users (not all of whom are, let us say, the most sophisticated of tool users), tool-training is a big deal: training time, internal demos, internal process documents, etc.. They cannot unleash a new feature or UI change without a chance to understand how it fits in their process and therefore what their internal best practices are and how to communicate that to their users.

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Also when applications fail, it’s the internal IT team who are responsible. Therefore, they want time to install a new version in a test area, beat it up, and deploy on a Saturday only when they’re good and ready.

I can see the value in making minor patches more easy to install, particularly when the patch is just for a bug-fix and not for anything that would require retraining, and if the admins still get final say over when it’s installed. But even then, I don’t believe anyone has ever asked for this! Whether because they don’t want it or they are trained to not expect it, it doesn’t seem worth it.

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The answers provided above are only to be used to guide the learning process. The questions above are open-ended questions, meaning that many answers are not fixed as above. I hope this article can be useful, Thank you