Comparison between ChimneySweep® Release 6.0 and Previous Releases
Executive Summary: "If Release X.X is working fine for me now, do I need to upgrade?" No, not necessarily. However, you might wish to.
Every release of ChimneySweep® since 1996 used basically the same approach:
- It was a "16-bit and 32-bit, in one package for one price" system.
- It used a 16-bit installer. (Which basically "won't run, at all," on modern Windows systems.)
- Both the 16-bit and 32-bit versions had to do exactly the same thing, in exactly the same way, and were compiled from a single (Delphi 1.0 and Delphi 2.0) code base.
- It created a single CHMNYLOG.TXT file, always creating this in the C:\WINDOWS directory, always assuming that this directory would be writeable. Each time a job ran, any previous copy of this file was destroyed. And, well, it was always "just a flat file."
Well, over the decade and-a-half that ChimneySweep soldiered-on this way, "many things in Windows changed, and ChimneySweep couldn't." Therefore, we made the decision to overhaul the entire system for the first time in its life ... but to do so in a way that still retained full job-level backward compatibility for all (32-bit) ChimneySweep users, and without the need to re-compile any deployed scripts. Thus, "Release 6.0."
Release 6.0 introduces many fundamental changes to the ChimneySweep system ... and, we think you'll like them. A lot.
- The installer is 32-bit. An entirely new tool was used to produce it.
- All vestiges of 16-bit are gone from the source-code and from the system-level scripts which drive the building and execution of all jobs.
- Since we no longer had to consider "how did 16-bit Windows do it?" we could move fully ahead to how 32-bit Windows systems do things today.
- The system is now compatible with 32-bit application standards, including the use of the Registry and eliminating the presumption that the C:\WINDOWS directory was writeable.
- "We made it truly 32-bit, but we didn't get carried away ..." The system (still ...) doesn't use any 32-bit Windows features that are not available in Windows-XP, and it never will.
- The product requires (and, supplies) the latest version of BDE that, so far as we know, was produced. (This BDE is backward-compatible with prior releases of itself, but it, too, is also "specifically-designed for recent 32-bit Windows environments.")
- CHMNYLOG.TXT is gone. In its place is a system that catalogs all job-outputs until you choose to delete them. You can have more than one job-output open at once, since each output-viewer is a separate window.
- Job-outputs are now XML documents, which are transformed into an HTML display when you view the job output.
- Within the XML of the job output, a great deal of additional detail is captured that is not, at this time, presented. (But if you have an XML editor at your disposal, you can get to it.)
- Your previous jobs will continue to work, just as they did before. That is to say, Release 6.0 will fully recognize all of their options and information, and will run them, although it will run them the Release 6.0 way. You don't have to recompile or re-deliver any of them.
And, digging deeper:
- Language processing now uses BDE's language-driver technology more intensely than before, which is important if the sort-order collation used for your particular native language is not the same as the one that was used by Windows Unicode (Release 5.0) or "straight byte-comparison" (prior to that).
- File-processing primitives within the system are now fully aware of how 32-bit Windows systems do files and file-sharing.
- Certain changes were made that will affect indexing of very large tables (more than 65,535 rows).
- Professional Edition users may be interested to know that the XML cataloging and output handling is scripted. Jobs use this script to manage the catalog, and the GUI uses the same script, too. You get the source-code to this new library along with everything else. The capabilities of the MacX™ programming language are substantially increased.
- The help-system is now the 32-bit Windows help system, not the old WINHELP. Most of the text has been rewritten.
- We're probably forgetting something ...
We recommend that users of prior releases should upgrade to Release 6.0 in order to take full advantage of all this "finally, truly, 32-bit aware" goodness. Strictly speaking, if the release that you now have is working perfectly for you, you don't have to upgrade it. However, we cordially advise that you probably should.