DcUpdater Keeps Many Popular Donationware Files Up-to-Date

DcUpdater (free/donationware) is a simple little app that lets you update or install many apps written by DonationCoder.com contributors all at once. If you're a fan of the work posted at that site, pick this up and it'll give you the power to update 10 different apps from a single source. One example of a terrific DonationCoder app is ScreenshotCaptor, which I reviewed favorably. The other apps are Clipboard Help+Spell, Find and Run Robot (FARR), Flipbook Printer, LaunchBar Commander, Point Motivator, ProcessTamer, The Form Letter Machine, Unicode Image Maker, and URLSnooper.

DcUpdater screenshot
Once an app is installed and DcUpdater is restarted, the app will appear under Installed Packages.

The interface reminds me a lot of Apple Software Updater, which many iTunes, Safari or QuickTime users will recognize as the app Apple uses to update them all at once. When you launch DcUpdater, it'll first show you DonationCoder apps already present on your PC. Click the check box next to one of them, then right-click the app to see installation options.

For DcUpdater apps that are neither downloaded nor installed yet, click on the Available for Installation tab, click the checkbox next to one or more of them, then click the Check Now button. Then, right-click each one for installation options. This may seem a little convoluted, but the app does a good job of guiding you through it. You can download the app for the first time with DcUpdater install it later, if you wish.

One annoying quirk that could be easily corrected in a future version: After installing something new from the Available for Installation tab, it's expected that the new app would then dispappear from Available for Installation and appear under Installed Packages. However, it doesn't show in that list until you quit DcUpdater and relaunch it. This is definitely something that should be dynamically updated, because it can lead a user to accidentally try to install something more than once, which would cause the app to attempt to repair or remove itself the second time.

If you're a programmer with a suite of apps and are willing to devote a little effort, the DonationCoder.com Web site has instructions for modifying DcUpdater for use with your own suite of applications in addition to, or instead of, DonationCoder's. If you'd like your users to be able to update many of your apps easily, check out the instructions and see if DcUpdater is right for you. The developers say that adding DcUpdater support to your apps requires no programming knowledge whatsoever, but it seemed a little daunting to me.

Other than the dynamic updating problem mentioned above, DcUpdater works well for keeping track of version updates for DonationCoder's array of handy utilities, and with a little know-how, can be adapted for your own work.

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