Fast Ring, Slow Ring – Adopting The Microsoft Release Process

Recently we’ve been asked about some of our new releases because they haven’t been pushed out via the automatic update mechanism. So we figured a quick article on our process might be in order.

We have modelled our release process after the Microsoft Windows “rings” development model. They have what is effectively multiple “release rings”. The “Fast Ring” has the latest features but might not be suitable for users who value stability. The “Slow Ring” is the most stable release.

They’ve recently renamed the “rings” (and they have three rings) but we like the idea of a “fast” and “slow” release so we’re going to stick with it.

In our case, the versions in the “Slow” ring are those that are pushed out via the WordPress automatic updates mechanism.

The “Fast” ring releases are accessible for download inside our customer account screens.

Every customer has access to both rings. Customers who want the latest and greatest features and willing to risk a few unpolished items can download the latest release directly from inside their account on our site.

Others can wait for a stable update to be pushed out via WordPress updates.

At the time of this writing, the Fast Ring release is V4.5.1 and the Slow Ring release is V4.1.0

Some of our updates to add-ons will follow the same model as well if those updates require the Fast Ring release.

Updates To Fast Ring Releases

There are times where we might publish updates to fast ring releases – eg: Going from V4.5.1 to V4.5.2. Depending on where we are in the release cycle we might be able to configure our license system to push out automatic updates only to users running a fast-ring release.

So, even though you might have to initially download a major fast-ring release manually, future minor releases of that branch could show up via WordPress’ standard automatic updates.

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