Saturday, December 24, 2011

Windows Phone 7 + IronRuby + Online Library Hosting + Auto Updating = LiveLibs


Welcome to!

What's this LiveLibs thing?

In a nutshell, LiveLibs is a set of tools and technologies that allows you to have self-updating code running on Windows Phones.

Excuse me? You mean I can deploy bugfixes and add features to my apps instantly?

Yep! You don't have to wait for the whole Marketplace approval process to take place, or for users to go ahead and do the updates. Your apps will be automatically updated the next time they communicate with the LiveLibs website.

Neat! Tell me more.

You can create "live" code libraries - Live Libs, in other words - for use by your own apps, or as public libs for anybody to use. That way others could benefit from your libs, too! And, of course, when you update a public lib, everyone else using it can automatically get the updated version.

Wow, that's awesome. But there's a catch, right?

Unfortunately, yes. There is one major thing you need to be aware of: the self-updating code must be written in Ruby. Specifically, IronRuby. But Ruby is a hot language; you know you want to try it out.

How can I be sure that someone else's library update won't mess up my app?

LiveLibs provides a way for you to do your own quality assurance. The biggest issue affecting app stability when using LiveLibs is if your app is using someone else's public lib, and that lib gets updated with unstable code. To mitigate this problem, LiveLibs allows you to have "hints". Hints are small pieces of information (stored online) intended for an app that uses LiveLibs, which tell the app what versions of what libs it should download. In other words, if your app uses FooLib 1.0, but version 2.0 of that library is incompatible with your code, you can have a hint specifically for your app that tells it to only download version 1.0 of FooLib instead of getting the latest one. Naturally, you can always update your hints once you've tested that new versions of third party libs work well with your deployed apps.


That sounds interesting. And cool. And I wonder if this won't run into a Marketplace EULA/TOS issue in the future. Still, I dig the idea...


(via - Announcing LiveLibs ~ have auto-updating code in your Windows Phone apps!)

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