Overview: Automatically Update Published Template Sets

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As a template set publisher, you may need to update your published templates from time to time. Typically, this is done by distributing HotDocs Auto-Install (.HDI) files to your users, which they can open in HotDocs to automatically update their libraries and templates. Informing users when new updates are available, however, and ensuring that they are installed can be a challenge. For critical updates, where existing templates are either broken or invalid, it is imperative that users know about updates as soon as possible. The Update Template Sets feature addresses these two problems. It automatically informs users when updates are available, and it simplifies the process of installing them, thus ensuring that updates are installed in a timely manner.

To automatically inform users about updates to your published template set using the Update Template Sets feature, you must create two files for your template set:

  • HotDocs Update Catalog File: This file must be distributed to each user along with your templates. It tells HotDocs where to check for updates to the template set, and it keeps track of which updates are installed or not.
  • HotDocs Update RSS Document: This file is an RSS feed that you host on your Web server. Whenever an update is ready for distribution, it is added to the document. HotDocs then checks the feed at regular intervals and alerts the user when new updates are found.

HotDocs Template Set Update API

HotDocs 2006 includes a COM type library with objects and methods you can use to easily create and modify valid HotDocs update catalog files and RSS documents. This type library is contained in HDNet.dll, which is installed in the HotDocs program files folder (e.g., C:\Program Files\HotDocs 6).

The HDNET object model includes the following objects for creating and modifying update files:

  • UpdateCatalog: A HotDocs update catalog (.HCAT) file.
  • UpdateDocument: A HotDocs update RSS document (RSS feed).
  • UpdateItem: A single update item.
  • UpdateItems: A collection of update items. Update catalogs contain three lists of update items, and update documents contain a single list of update items.
  • UpdateChannel: A single update channel in an update RSS document.
  • UpdateChannels: A collection of update channels in an update RSS document. Each RSS document. Each RSS document contains one UpdateChannels collection with a single UpdateChannel.