2018 marks the beginning of a shift in the release pattern for the CSD System – we are starting to provide our user community with the option to install smaller software updates more frequently. This approach to software development has been shown very clearly over the years to result in a better overall product for users.
The faster software turnaround means that we can be more responsive – the feedback loop will be shorter between users asking for an improvement or reporting a problem to changes being released in the software. As smaller portions of code are developed, tested, verified and released there is also less likelihood of major problems arising. To begin with, we will be aiming for roughly four software releases a year, rather than one, and we will monitor the results as well as the response from the community as we go.
If you have the necessary permissions on your computer, you should be able to install the latest updates seamlessly by simply clicking on Help > Check for Updates in either Mercury or Hermes. This will look first for software updates and then for data updates to install. If this doesn’t work, you can go to the CCDC website and download the updates manually. Users on Mac OSX will need to download and install updates manually due to a technical issue that we’ve identified and hope to address in the next update. If you don’t have the permissions to install the updates, do ask whoever is administering your system if they can apply them. If, for whatever reason, you only manage to update once a year you should still rest assured that the CSD Release will be a better product when you do update it due to these improvements in the development approach – both more driven by user feedback and more stable.
How to check for software and data updates from within Mercury
In the months since the 2018 CSD Release was made available we have been continuing to work hard on the underlying technology of the CSD system to allow us to evolve the database and the software more effectively. Much of this work will not be obvious until later in 2018, but in this first software update of the year we have addressed a range of issues reported by users recently. An example of this is the improvement of GOLD in this release to correctly handle file paths with international characters in them, such as Japanese and Chinese characters. As part of our efforts to evolve ConQuest, we have also improved both the compound name and journal name searches to be faster and more accurate.
Of course, it’s not just about the software – the CSD itself is continuing to grow year on year and we also provide data updates during the year. The latest data update takes the number of entries in the CSD to an incredible 936,105! To find out more about this data update, see the 2018 CSD Data Updates web page.
Do drop us a line to give us any feedback that you have about the 2018 CSD Release, and this latest update in particular, via or our CCDC social media channels (Facebook and Twitter). We track all the feedback that we receive and prioritise accordingly, so it’s always worth letting us know what changes you’d like to see – we might be able to improve it for you within a few months!
Pete Wood, Product Manager for the CSD-System