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Early Release Software

What is an "early release"?

As part of ongoing software development, preliminary versions of HydroCAD are sometimes made available for evaluation and comment.  Unlike a typical "beta release", our "early release" software is carefully tested and is believed to be free of bugs.  However, it is still a work-in-progress, and has not received the same level of testing and review as a final public release.

Early release software is typically distinguished by a version number that has two digits after the decimal point, like 7.01.  A full public release will have no more than one digit, such as 7.0, 7.1, 7.5, etc.  The version number is shown in the title bar of your HydroCAD software, and is printed on the page heading for each report.

Who gets the early release software?

Early release software is typically made available to customers on a paid Deluxe Support contract.  Since these releases should only be used for a limited time (until the next public release) we limit the distribution to customers who have already made a commitment to using the latest HydroCAD release.  Use by others would entail a commitment to continued updates that they may not wish to make.

Can I purchase an early release?

No.  Early release software is provided only to customers who are already on a paid Deluxe Support plan at the time the update is released.  If you purchase a Deluxe Support plan after a release is issued, you will have access to any subsequent releases, but not to the earlier release.

How is the early release delivered?

We will send an email to Deluxe Support customers when an early release is available.  The message is sent only once for a given release.  The information is not posted or available anywhere else.  Based on the email, recipients may download and install the software.  Early release software is not available on CD.

How do I use an early release?

An early release installs and runs just like a regular release.  However, a message will appear each time you start the program to remind you that it is not a final release.  To prevent constant reminders, you may select "do not show this message again."

bulletFor the latest information pertaining to your early release, click the "Details" button on the warning screen, or start HydroCAD and select Check for Update on the Help menu.

Are there time limits on an early release?

Early-release software is designed to operate for only a fixed period of time (typically 6-12 months after release). This time limit is intended to prevent the indefinite use of early-release versions, which should be used only until the next early release or the final public release is available.

Sixty days before the the early release expires, you will get a reminder every time you start the program.  This message can be suppressed only by installing a newer release, or by returning to your previous full release.

If you are on a Deluxe Support plan, and your early release has expired, you may have overlooked an update that was already shipped to you, or a subsequent early release that was sent by email. Customers not on Deluxe Support can purchase updates individually.

Are there other drawbacks to using an early release?

Like all HydroCAD updates, each early release is able to open project files created by any previous version of HydroCAD.  This means that early release users can generally open any file they receive.

However, project files created by an early release generally cannot be read by any earlier version of the software.  This is because the new .HCP project file will contain information that is unknown to the earlier software.  As an early release user, this will limit your ability to send project files to other HydroCAD users, since only a few of them will be using the same early release.

Note: It is possible to send files to an earlier version, but only if you avoid (or remove) any of the items listed under "Calculation Enhancements" in your "Changes" file.

If you depend on the ability to routinely send project files to other organizations, an early release is not recommended.  But you should never have any problem opening files that you receive.  For further details, read about file compatibility.

 

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