Best practice for updating your server software

We aim to introduce value-adding, time-saving, and exciting new features in each major release of SurveyCTO, and as of SurveyCTO version 2.51, we introduced controls to help you keep up to date. With each release following version 2.51 your SurveyCTO server will be automatically updated based on your preferences, immediately on release day, or  4, 8, or 12 weeks following a new release. However, with the release of 2.51, the default delay was set to 2 weeks. You can configure your preference to delay for up to 12 weeks on the manage subscription page.

Why update?

Firstly, with a major release, you’ll get access to exciting new features that can make a real difference how you prepare form designs, collect and monitor data, generally helping you collect higher quality data more easily. To get a general sense of where we’re going with SurveyCTO improvements and updates, take a look at our guiding principles. For specifics from version to version, take a look at our release notes.

For example:

  • 2.51 introduced the test view which transforms the way users can design and troubleshoot forms.
  • 2.50 introduced teams, allowing one server to be used for many projects through permission-based user access control.
  • 2.40 introduced the review workflow for correcting data on the server console.
  • 2.20 introduced the Data Explorer to allow users to visualise their data while it is being collected.

Like these, each subsequent version of SurveyCTO will add noteworthy improvements, bug fixes, and exciting new features - so why not update?

When to update?

When to update depends on your preferences to some degree but we’d advise updating your server software version most ideally between projects or during a break in data collection. Firstly, when new features are released, it is advisable to read about them and test them out before incorporating them into active data collection work. Given this time investment, there’s probably little benefit to updating in the midst of data collection, if you don’t have the time (unless a new feature directly improves something that’s important to your work).

However, in spite of whatever delay option you have setup for your server, you must update at some point and we allow for as much as 12 weeks, which should be plenty of time to find a gap.

You may also wish to manually trigger a server software update which you can do at any time from the manage subscription page, as updates entail a short but inconsequential server access outage of 5 to 10 minutes at most while the update takes place. During this time SurveyCTO Collect users on Android can still continue to collect data though. As such, you may prefer to update your server after hours.

Is it safe to update?

Yes, it is safe to update your server software. There is no risk to already collected data that has been submitted to the server, nor would there be any compatibility issues if the server software version did not match the version of SurveyCTO Collect that is installed on your Android devices. We test every new release extensively, ensuring that new features work as described, that changes do not upset existing functionality, and that we continue to comply with both web and Android security standards.

However, should you want to delay for any reason, you can as described above, but we do hope that you’ll update your server at a convenient time and try out the latest features and improvements we’ve added!

To learn about SurveyCTO Collect updates, click here.

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