Lena, update your copy of YNAB!


G’day, I’m Ian, the lead developer for YNAB on the desktop, and today I’m writing about bugs. Or, more specifically, bugs we’ve already fixed.

A few of you might have noticed that on rare occasions you’ll run into a problem in YNAB, something that the software just can’t recover from, and a screen will pop up that looks somewhat like this:

crash_screen

If you see this screen, please (pretty PLEASE with sugar on top, but not a cherry, because *blech*!), click “Send Report and Restart”, because then someone on the team will be able to know that something in your YNAB broke, and then we can figure out a fix to put in place to stop it happening again for you, but also for every other YNAB user that might run into it in the future.

That line that says a real human will read the report, that’s talking about me. I get these reports dropped directly into my email, and I read every one of them (well, that’s kind of a lie, sometimes I just skim them, but I definitely read the subject line on all of them which is frequently all I need to see to know what’s gone wrong). If you can fill in the field saying what you were doing when it broke, that’s super-helpful-awesome. Also, please put in your email address, this is super important (and I’ll get back to this in a minute)!

When we fix these crashes, we pass them over to Vesna, our Quality Assurance nomad, who tests the fixes, sends them back noting any glaring (and not-so-glaring) holes we missed, then tests again once we’ve fixed those, and then we roll all those fixes — along with any improvements and new features — into a beta build, which our dedicated beta testers then review, alerting us to any further issues we’ve overlooked, at which point I make any further necessary tweaks, send them to Vesna once again, then do another beta build, and so on and so forth, until we reach a point where we are ready to push out the changes to YNAB users everywhere. It’s a gruelling process, but you can know that these updates are good to install, they make your copy of YNAB more stable, better to use, and add a bunch of new features*. All for free.

When you start the software, it will go check if there is an update, and let you know it’s available to download. If you see the new version window pop-up, make sure you download and install it, so you’re always running the best YNAB you can. Occasionally this check won’t work correctly (if you have a super-strict firewall, for instance), so you can tell if you are up to date by going to http://ynab.me/ynab4 and checking the version number showing there, if the version number at the top of your YNAB window is lower than this number, then download it directly and reinstall (don’t worry about uninstalling first).

These version numbers differ between different versions, so if you’re on a Mac and see your version number is slightly different that your Windows machine, don’t worry, that’s just how our build system works. (Note: If you’re running the Steam version, it will be kept up to date automatically when Steam is running, and if you are on the Mac App Store version, you can check the App Store to see if there are any new versions out.)

So, back to that email address field in the crash report; make sure you fill it in with a working email address. Every so often, we get a report with a crash bug that we’ve already fixed, along with an old YNAB version number, and our response is simple – update YNAB, and you’ll be good to go! I LOVE sending these emails. I don’t have to track down and fix a bug, and you get a fix in a matter of minutes. Awesomesauce!

However, if your email doesn’t work, it’s even more frustrating, because I can’t tell you the good news. Which (finally) brings me to the title of the blog post (and my whole motivation for posting it):

Lena, you’ve sent a dozen or more crash reports in over the last few weeks, but I haven’t been able to reply to you, I’ve tried again and again, but the email address you’ve entered is bouncing back every response I’ve sent. I’ve searched our database for an alternate address and I can’t find one, so as a last resort I’ll try yelling it from the (virtual) rooftops: The version of YNAB you are running is from December 2012, and your bug was fixed over a year ago! You don’t need to send in any further crash reports. Please Lena, update your copy of YNAB!

Cheers,

-Ian

*As a quick aside, I did a review of all the YNAB 4 version release notes. On average we’ve fixed a bug every 2.5 days, made an improvement every 4 days, and added a new feature every 2 weeks since June 20th 2012. This doesn’t include the massive number of fixes, improvements, and features added between YNAB 3 and 4. If you have an older version, there’s a really good chance we’ve already fixed any bugs you are running into! 🙂