Should We Update Our Software To the Latest Version?

Is it always a good idea to use the latest software updates or features in an application? Check out the discussion in the video Should We Use the Latest Features/Updates In Development. As we learn, this question is one that we should reflect over because there are situations where the latest may be a wise choice or cause problems that we didn't expect.

Some questions related to the discussion that are answered in the video are:

  • What is the exception I make when it comes to security?
  • How do complexity and compatibility relate?
  • What possible concern goes both ways and why?

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A colleague once shared a story with me where their team had chosen to use the latest feature in software without reflecting over the effects. When they deployed the changes, they discovered that the new feature wasn't compatible with some of the software they were using causing an outage. This issue wasn't detected in development or QA because the software was rarely used by customers and they had failed to design tests which used it. In addition to highlighting the point of thorough testing, it served as a reminder to be careful about always using the latest software features - it may have effects you don't anticipate.

One regular point I like to remind my audience, especially as of recent: we can often solve the same problem with a variety of techniques. While we look at one or two ways to solve the problem, these aren't the only ways we can approach this problem. The most appropriate solution to a problem is one in which you can troubleshoot quickly in the future and one in which you understand. Be careful about applying solutions that solve a problem, but introduce new problems in the future.

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A great re-occuring example of this is my discussion on alerting best practices. There are a variety of alerts everywhere for everything in today's development environments, but many of these alerts cause more issues than they solve (one of which is creating a distraction). Be careful about "easy" solutions which introduce bigger problems. Know your environment and where to apply the best solution. Of course, all these being written, it is helpful to learn new techniques to solve problems because they may be useful in the future.

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