There's a certain way I like to release a version of SuperDuper, or any application, really. It goes something like this:

  1. We plan a healthy mix of fixes, tweaks and features.
  2. Those new features are designed and implemented.
  3. Once we've put them through a bunch of internal testing, we recruit a mix of old and new testers to put things through the "customer wringer".
  4. The fix/test cycle is repeated as many times as is necessary to ensure that we're meeting our quality standards, that new features are working as desired and satisfying the needs we'd identified during their design, etc.
  5. During the last few testing cycles, I usually start telling the story of the release (which, at that point, we're pretty sure we're nearly done with), highlighting some of the more interesting elements.
  6. Finally, we freeze the release and, with any luck, we release shortly after the release candidate is OK'ed by internal and external tests.

And I highlight all this because the whole "telling stories" part of our next release is going to be much shorter than usual, and we'll be doing other things a bit differently as well.

Ring One–Personal

As anyone who follows me on Twitter is aware, I've been doing a lot of cycling over the past few years (and tweeting about it in a rather boring way, sorry). After a cycling trip to Italy last fall, and based on a suggestion by one of the guides, I decided to train for (and participate in) the Maratona dles Dolomites.

So, for the last six months or so—in sun, snow and rain—I've been riding and training (well, trying to train) for this huge, 9500-participant Grand Fondo. In one day, we'll be riding about 85 miles and over 7 big passes, with 14,000 feet of climbing. It's the first time I've ever tried anything this...crazy. Ready or not (mostly not), on July 2nd, I'm headed to Italy for the race, which happens on the 10th.

Those ten hard-date days were running through my head when the 2011 WWDC keynote was broadcast earlier this year.

Ring Two—Professional

As the various rumor sites could tell you, it's always hard to know when Apple is going to do things. But given that WWDC was likely going to be all about 10.7, and last year's WWDC was about iOS, it seemed a reasonably safe bet that the release of 10.7 would be well after this year's WWDC.

Well that was a bad bet.

Apple announced that Lion will be coming out "in July". In other words, the release window opens tomorrow (I'm posting this on June 30th). Given the current state of things, our current 2.6.2 release of SuperDuper is not Lion compatible. Specifically, we know we have two issues of significance under Lion:

  • Deprecated command-line tool The "disktool" command was deprecated and effectively removed, and we rely on that for a number of things, including refreshing disk mounts when a copy starts, and automounting during a scheduled copy.
  • Updater crashes Our automatic updater crashes under Lion, which makes it hard for Lion users to update (although they can download from our site and install manually).

With that in mind, also remember that Apple is going to be releasing this through the App Store. That means that there's no delay between an "RTM" build (which we can test against) and when you get the GM: it'll get declared RTM, someone will push a button somewhere and BAM! it's GM, and in the App Store.

Add to that the fact that I'll be gone nearly half of July. Which means, if Lion comes out in the first half of the month, as it very well could, and probably will...I think you can see where this is going.

Ring Three–Where the Rubber Meets the Road

Well, perhaps not where you think. We're not going to be late with Lion compatibility, unless something really crazy unusual happens between now and when Lion hits your Mac.

What it does mean is that some of the more interesting things we were going to put in this update will be postponed until later, and we're going to have to put this out with "initial" Lion compatibility, as much as I hate doing that.

So here's the plan: we're going to release version 2.6.3 of SuperDuper! in the next few days (probably on July 1st). This version has a lot of small things in it, some of which will significantly improve the user experience. Examples include:

  • Initial Lion compatibility As I've explained, Lion is not out, so we can't promise that we'll be compatible with it when it is released. But SuperDuper 2.6.3 works well with the test version of Lion that we have now, and should work fine when the Big Button is pressed.
  • Better scheduling A small change that should help a lot of users. Right now, it's too easy for a user to accidentally create multiple schedules. In the new version, the "Schedule..." button brings up an existing schedule for the source/destination drive pair if there is one (which is what most users expect it to do). Users can still create another schedule for the same pair of drives by Option+clicking Schedule. (I could write an entire post about this one change, and hopefully will be able to in the future, since it's one of the major errors I made in SD!'s quickly-reworked-after-the-original-disaster schedule design.)
  • Improved volume failure detection If the destination volume vanishes during the copy, we detect the failure and stop the copy more reliably than before. This should avoid cases where the destination drive's mount point converts to a folder and files are copied to a "hidden" location (/Volumes) on the startup volume.
  • Antivirus compatibility improvements We've tried to work around some incompatibilities with NAV that would cause intermittent issues for users that had that installed.
  • Better support submission We've had an integrated email support submitter for a long time, but it relied on the NSMessaging framework, which has been deprecated. So, we've moved to a "direct submit" model. You shouldn't see any differences locally, but it'll work in more situations, regardless of your email client. (The downside is that we can't 'automatically reply' to one of these messages, which means a lot more work for me...)
  • Expanded automount/ejection We now allow internal drives to be ejected, so they can participate in automatic mounting when scheduling, and can be selected as an ejectable volume after a copy.
  • Various other improvements, fixes and tweaks We've touched pretty much every area of SuperDuper! in some subtle (and some not so subtle) ways, with more to come.

Thanks for Coming—Visit the Midway!

So there you go: we'll soon have SuperDuper! v2.6.3 available. You should endeavor to upgrade to the new release before you upgrade to Lion.

I hope you like the new release! If you're interested, follow me on Twitter where I'll be posting about the Grand Fondo a bit, and will be posting updates about SuperDuper! as necessary.

Support during these two weeks will be a bit slower than usual, because I'll be riding during the day, and only able to post at night. Apologies in advance if support feels less "spectacularly fast" during these two weeks: I'll do my best to respond as quickly as I can.

Thanks, as always, for using SuperDuper: we couldn't do any of this without you, and we'll continue to do our best to make SuperDuper an application worthy of your praise and personal recommendations.