Who updates the updaters?

If you look at the latest release of Phoenix Slides, you might get the impression that the main purpose of the update is to update the updater. You would be correct! But I promise it’s for a very good reason.


For the last 16+ years I’ve been able to host Phoenix Slides on this server for free thanks to the generosity of my friend Adrian from high school (hi Adrian!). But Adrian decided to move on from the web hosting business, which means I now have to figure out a new web hosting solution.

Back in the day, you basically had your own (virtual) server, and it was normal to have all sorts of cgi scripts and php etc. etc. running on it. These days there’s a lot of new hosting options, including an overwhelming number of AWS services, PHP is dead, static pages are fashionable, and encrypted http is the norm.

The old “Check for Update” mechanism in Phoenix Slides called a CGI script, sending it the mac system version it was running on, and getting back the latest Phoenix Slides build number compatible with that system. All over unencrypted http, of course. As it turns out that was pretty much the only thing left on there that still needed to be a script. I spent days figuring how to get an equivalent thing to run with AWS Lambda and API Gateway while using a server side redirect, and finally I realized it was all moot because AWS doesn’t even support unencrypted http. Given all that I decided it was time to just have a static text file with the version information and just have Phoenix Slides parse that file.

So now that that’s done I just have to wait for everyone to update their version of Phoenix Slides and then I’ll be able to switch to an all-static web hosting solution. And hopefully there will be many more years of Phoenix Slides updates to come!