Web Update for Publications and Ebooks

HTML Executable allows you to add a Web Update feature to your publications and ebooks: when you release a new version, the Web Update feature can automatically download it from your web server, and safely install it. This allows your end users to always stay with the latest version and easily upgrade your publication when you release a new version.

No third-party software is required. However, you need a web server to host web update files generated by HTML Executable.

Watch our video tutorial of the Web Update feature on our ebook Web Update tutorial page.

Description of the Web Update process

The Web Update process happens in several steps. Step 1 is obtaining the control file (.INF file) from your web hosting server (HTTP/HTTPS based location). The next step is the processing of the .INF file by verifying new files, new versions and if necessary downloading the files. Update files that are not part of the publication running process (.EXE, .DLL’s) can be immediately extracted to the proper location. If necessary, in the last step, the publication is closed, the new EXE and/or DLL files are extracted and the publication’s new version is automatically restarted.

Checking for new updates

You can configure your publication or ebook to automatically check for updates at publication startup or add a “Check for Updates” menu command to your publication.

It is also possible to trigger a check for updates thanks to a script call: you can call the HEScript script function named Global.HEStartWebUpdate from a button, menu item, JavaScript and so on.

When a new version is detected, end users are informed and guided through the Web Update wizard:

img

They can choose to install or not the update.

How does the publication detect a new version?

The EXE Version number specified in the Icon / Version page of HTML Executable is used to determine whether an upgrade is necessary or not. So be sure to increase the Version number when you release an update of your publication / ebook.

Configuration of Web Update Settings

Base URL on your web server where all Web Update files will be hosted

All files necessary for the web update (control and CAB files) must be made available for download through HTTP. You must give HTML Executable the base URL to the location of all Web Update files hosted on your web server.

For instance, enter https://www.yourwebsite.com/myfolder

Secure HTTPS URLs can be used.

Web Update INF Control Filename

The control file (.INF format) contains necessary instructions and data about the web update. It’s the file that the publication will download first.

Local destination folder where Web Update files will be placed

Provide the path to the folder on your local disk where HTML Executable will generate web update files. The entire contents of the folder must then be uploaded to your web host (for instance, you can do it with a FTP client) and made available at the base URL specified above.

The destination folder should be empty. If it is not empty, you’ll be asked whether you want to delete its contents before generating files.

“What’s new” text to be displayed (optional)

The news that you may want to display to your end users on the Web Update Wizard (see screenshot above) when a new upgrade is available.

To put a carriage-return-line-feed between “Line 1” and “Line 2”, insert \n, such as Line1\nLine2.

Add a “Check for Updates” menu item to the publication

This creates a “Check for Updates” menu item in the Help menu of your publication (if you use a standard menu bar) or in the Menu button.

Automatically check for updates at startup

Allows the publication to check for updates at startup without user interaction. The Web Update Wizard is only displayed if a new version is detected.

Generating Web Update Files

HTML Executable will generate all files necessary for the web update (control and CAB files) in the local destination folder. You can then upload these files to your web host.

There are two types of files:

  • the .INF control file with instructions for the publication;
  • the .CAB compressed file that contains the new publication EXE file and its associated external files.

The .CAB file is a standard Microsoft Cabinet file. You can open/edit it with 7-Zip for instance if you want to add more files.

Show a notification after a successful web update

When the publication is restarted after a successful web update, you may want to show a message or a web page to your end users. HTML Executable sets the global variable herestartwebupt to 1 after a successful web update, which allows you to perform the actions you want thanks to HEScript scripting.

For instance, go to the Script Manager, double click on “UserMain” and copy/paste this script in the OnStartMainWindow event:

procedure OnStartMainWindow;
begin
 // When the main window is going to be displayed (just before the homepage is shown).
 if GetGlobalVar("herestartwebupt", "0") = "1" then
 begin
  ShowMessage("Welcome to your new publication!"#13#10"What's new:"); 
 end;

end;  

The #13#10 characters inserts a new line.
It’s also possible to show a custom dialog box.

Notes

  • If the publication EXE file is installed in a Windows system folder such as Program Files, administrator privileges are required and this will trigger a UAC prompt.
  • If you want to customize the billboard image of the Web Update Wizard, add a bitmap file named hecustomuwbillboard.bmp in the publication root folder.

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