Snapshot release updates and user notification

Quick question about what happens to the previous snapshot release after a new one is released? For example would the extensions to the previous one (202009) will continue to be updated?

If not, we might have to consider letting the people know that there is a newer stable release (as oppose to they pro-actively do so by clicking on Help->About Slicer->Download a newer version. I bet most people is not even aware of that.). Perhaps auto check Slicer stable releases monthly at the startup and just let users know.

Extensions are only built/updated for the latest stable and preview (not for Slicer-4.11.20200930).

It would be nice to implement automatic update checks. It could also give us a better idea who uses Slicer, which version, and how often. I’ve added a feature request to track this task:

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As a user, I am not fond of extensive telemetry (particularly if we are not going to act on that data). But some automated way of comparing release numbers, and popping up an informative message that says something like:

“A new stable version is available. Your version is no longer kept up to date for extensions. Would you like download and install this version?”

would be good for user experience. We still occasionally met people on forum who are using version 4.8.

As a user I’m not fond of (mostly I don’t care about) telemetry, but as a developer you know how useful it is. I think this is very little to ask, but of course users could opt out of update checks.


I’m sure there are users on both ends of the spectrum of whether they think the telemetry provides helpful benefits or think it is spying.

My impression is most users want Slicer to “just work” so alerting of the latest version of the application or extension with bug fixes would be appreciated. I would be fine if it is transparent what type of data is being collected and having some form of auto-check being the default enabled so they have to opt-out instead of opt-in. The option to opt-out should be clear and easy to find. If it is really desired to be opt-in I would suggest on first startup after install of Slicer to pop-up warning on start to force them to explicitly define the setting of whether they want to turn on automatic checking or to have it off (with the ability to turn on/off later supported in settings).

For reference here are setting options for Visual Studio Code as it relates to update checks for the application and its extensions.

I agree that most users are probably fine with update checks and fine with it being turned on by default (with a warning dialog on first install).

I agree, this is very acceptable… Particularly you get the benefit of getting notifications.

Related discussion from a while ago: Updated Slicer binary automatic notification

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A pull request has just been submitted that implements this feature. Feedback is welcome (by commenting on the pull request).