Review: VersionTracker Pro 3.5
Gone are the days when you buy and install half a dozen new pieces of software a year and somehow remember to order a new CD (or floppy!) through the mail to update them whenever you are advised — also by mail — that a newer version has been released.
Now the average Mac is likely to have hundreds of applications, beta versions, demos, kernel extensions, plugins, and more. Most of these are likely to be updated electronically — and in some cases automatically. And updated often — sometimes too often for convenience!
For some people, applications like text conversion tools or cache cleaners may be used daily and preference handlers once a week. For others, it may be essential to have the latest Photoshop plugins as soon as they appear
What is VersionTracker Pro?
VersionTracker Pro — just released in Version 3.5 for OS X — is probably the fastest and certainly one of the most reliable, comprehensive and flexible ways to monitor the applications which you use quickly and without fuss. The service will not only notify you when new releases are registered by the manufacturers in the VersionTracker database, but will also enable you to download the update right from the VersionTracker Pro application itself.
So VersionTracker provides a system: a good software client and a frequently-updated database maintained by the TechTracker Network. It is available through subscription for $49.95 a year, or less than 50 cents a week. Given the advantages and peace of mind of knowing that you always have the latest versions of your apps, it’s well worth that price.
VersionTracker Pro Performance
In testing, VersionTracker Pro 3.5 performed just as expected and the new features were welcome.
A perennial grumble on the TechTracker reviews pages is “I have Version 2.24 of a certain piece of software yet Version 2.21 is flagged as an update.” The omnipresent and affable Ladd Van Tol (VersionTracker Pro’s developer) is always at pains to explain that this usually occurs because the plist value for the version of the product in question does not reflect the actual version installed. Keeping up-to-date despite the negligence of a minority of software producers must be the bane of the VersionTracker product teams’ lives.
Using of the VersionTracker Pro
VersionTracker Pro now boasts an improved interface, though it was fairly clean and easy to use before. The app includes a new, separate, preview pane with detailed information about each update. It’s now possible in Version 3.5 to select from listings of multiple versions; this enables the review and download of older updates. The dock now carries update information. Download (and resumption after an interruption) and install features have been enhanced and tightened and can be performed via Rendezvous. The update includes improvements to proxy support and has reduced CPU and memory requirements. The new version also, of course, ties in various bug and functionality fixes and enhancements.
TechTracker’s claims for these innovations were borne out during extended testing of this product.
As with previous versions, you can search VersionTracker’s comprehensive database from within VersionTracker Pro, compile a watch list, and be notified of all updates each day (or, should you wish, more often); the application automatically performs this at launch.
Preferences and settings are simple and the operation soon becomes just another in the daily chores necessary to keep a healthy Mac, but one that is worth it and easily accomplished. VersionTracker Pro 3.5 does just what you need.
Payment for the VersionTracker service is by a single subscription — yielding a simplified ID and password — to both activate the software and use the site.
If you believe in keeping track of the latest versions of your software, then VersionTracker Pro 3.5 is for you. Recommended.
Version Tracker Pro 3.5: $49.95/year
($44.95/year through June 24 if you buy through this page.)
Version Tracker Pro 3.5/MacFixit Pro bundle: $59.95