With the 6.0 release of Arbortext coming up very soon, we’ve been seeing a lot of questions about features, changes, and upgrading best practices. We thought we’d gather up all the prevailing advice and remind everyone about keeping up with releases and how to get through an upgrade with as little impact to your business as possible.
Here’s some general information to keep in mind when you’re thinking about upgrading your software version or thinking about maintenance renewal.
Release Support and End of Life
As a general rule, PTC ends support for a previous release 18 months after its successor release comes out (e.g., Arbortext 5.3 was released December 28, 2006; so, 5.2 would have run out of active support by mid-2008). Right now, the product calendar shows Arbortext 5.4 was released June 24, 2009. PTC is making the call that regular maintenance releases for 5.3 will consequently be discontinued from Feb 1, 2011 after M220 is released. PTC support will still keep taking 5.3-related support calls until August 1st 2011.
In reality, we have found PTC support to be very helpful even where older software is concerned. However, you need to remember that no new software patches will be available for unsupported software. We highly recommend you stay up to date and always avoid being on unsupported software for any extended period of time. You don’t want to place your business at risk because you’re depending on unsupported software.
If you want to be sure of release support dates: Check the PTC product calendar.
Who Can Upgrade
Any PTC customer holding Arbortext licenses which are on active maintenance is eligible to upgrade to the latest release of the software for those actively licensed products.
It is worth noting that the licensing mechanics are changing with Arbortext 6.0. You will not be able to just copy over a 5.x series .lic file to the 6.0 license folder. Instead, you will need to return the existing 5.x license and obtain a 6.0-compatible license via the PTC online Arbortext licensing tool.
Please remember, that the PTC online Arbortext licensing tool is only available for managing licenses which are under active maintenance.
There are always small differences between major releases. 5.4 saw some modifications to the underlying ACL and related packages when compared to 5.3. There were also some changes to the composition. (Please remember that PTC never guarantees page fidelity from one release to another).
The best practice is to test all your code paths to discover where any ACL changes may affect your code and to make several test print runs to “diff” between your 5.3 and 5.4 PDFs, for example. The Acrobat “PDF Compare” feature may come in handy for this purpose.
As always, make sure you have a testbed system available and a good test plan!
If you haven’t already upgraded to 5.4, you ought to be able to upgrade safely. it’s a stable and mature code base now: The 6.0 release is right around the corner.
And remember, if you’re ever wondering about the details of any particular major or minor release, don’t forget we post details of the releases to our release notes feed! We’ll help you keep up to date with what’s happening with Arbortext.