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Automatic Updates

Updates are automatically installed and do not affect subscribers' data.

BSD delivers SpecLink updates automatically via the Internet at a frequency determined by each subscriber. Users can choose to have updates downloaded as frequently as daily - but not less often than quarterly. SpecLink includes a button labeled “Update Master Now” that allows users to get all available updates downloaded and applied to the master database within a matter of minutes. The charts and slides below provide details about how updates work.

Because BSD SpecLink-E is based on a relational database instead of word processing, each individual paragraph is part of a separate record and can be edited, deleted, or added to the master database without affecting other content. Project specifications are stored separately and can be visualized as an “overlay” on the master data, so updating the master data does not directly affect projects that are already underway, unless the subscriber wants to incorporate the latest information.

An existing project that would be affected by an update will be automatically compared to the new master data and marked through a color-coding system to indicate the availability of newer data when the file is opened. Users then have the option to ignore the updates, make all updates automatically, or review each potential change and decide whether to accept or reject it. It is also possible to update automatically only certain categories of data – reference standards cited in the specifications and the names of building product manufacturers that have been included. Another innovation allows users to open a project in read-only mode, which eliminates the comparing and marking process. This option, which allows the specifications to be printed but not edited, is appropriate for completed or archived projects for which updating would be unnecessary or misleading.

This on-line approach to keeping construction specifications up to date is revolutionary and will help assure our customers are producing the very best specifications possible. Competing products using word processing have traditionally sent out replacement files on a quarterly or triannual basis, but since they replace only a handful of files each time, it typically requires six to seven years to completely update the content. BSD SpecLink-E, on the other hand, can update individual paragraphs at any time and typically issues changes to anywhere from 25 to 65 percent of its sections each quarter.

Changes to the master database are summarized in our newsletter and can include changes to:
  • Section text (over 630 sections are in the database).
  • Automated links (SpecLink-E utilizes over 170,000 links).
  • Master notes (users have access to over 41,000 notes about specifying issues, with hyperlinks to over 1,100 manufacturers' web sites).
  • Reference standards (over 2,000 unique reference standards in the master text).

Click on the thumbnail pictures to see them full size... or view a short PowerPoint slide show version here.

SpecLink-E's updating scheme allows you to keep your specs totally current without affecting any customized text or formatting.

When an existing project is opened after a quarterly update has been installed, this dialog box appears. You can update your entire project automatically – but without affecting any added or edited text!

You can automatically update just the manufacturer listings - or just the referenced standards - or both!

If you choose to ignore the updates or to apply only manufacturer or reference standard updates, the project opens with any unresolved updates indicated by a magenta title in the section selection tree.

Clicking on a magenta title will open the section to show any paragraphs that would be affected by the update marked by a rust color in the status columns.

A right click on any paragraph marked by the rust color allows you to open a dialog box showing the current project text and how it would be changed if the update were applied – allowing you to update any individual paragraph or ignore the update.

On the Tools menu, you can also choose to update just the current document or open a dialog box that allows you to select only the sections you want to update.

Updating the current section, a group of selected sections, or the entire project never overwrites any of your customized text!