My kids love Minecraft. It’s a decidedly low-tech game that nonetheless draws you in by letting you go anywhere you want and build whatever you can dream up. It’s a bit like Legos in digital form and it has become one of the most popular video games ever published. But this free-to-play, largely nonviolent, mind-expanding game has a dark side and therein lies a valuable lesson. I am a parent of a Minecraft ‘modder’ and this is my story...
The setting is probably one you know: a laid back Saturday evening with Mom and Dad watching baseball and the kids poking away at their favorite game (yes, Minecraft) on their iPad, Xbox, computer, or whatever (it runs just about everywhere). Around the 4th inning the beautiful daughter says to her loving father ‘Dad, my Minecraft mod is broken, can you help me fix it?’.
[Queue the psychedelic flashback visuals.] You see, Minecraft is not only mind-expanding for kids, it’s also responsible for one of my proudest parental moments. About a year ago I looked over my 10-year-old daughter’s shoulder and saw Eclipse running on her Mac. ‘Is that Eclipse?’, I ask, thinking I must be at work and not sitting in my family room. And with a huge grin on her face my daughter exclaims, ‘Yeah, I’m writing Java mods for Minecraft!’.
If you can code in Java, you can create a ‘mod’ for Minecraft that can do just about anything the basic game doesn’t already do. You want flying cows? Code ‘em up. And then, like thousands of other modders, you can share your mod with the world. Fellow Minecrafters can download your mod and feel the joy of bovine comets shooting through their Minecraft skies.
[Queue the ominous background music.] And there’s the problem, so to speak. What happens when the next all-too-frequent Minecraft update occurs? Well, if you are a loving father like me, you spend the rest of your Saturday night (and an eternity of Saturday nights thereafter) finding the right version of your daughter’s 37 favorite mods (yes, 37) and patching them. You might get it all done before the next update...or not.
And then there always more mods. And the next update...
How’s that for a horror story? As the Product Manager of Upgrades for Oracle Service Cloud, I truly empathize with this mod/upgrade interplay. And if you have ever upgraded your Oracle Service Cloud site, you have probably had concerns similar to my modding daughter: will my customizations work after the upgrade?
Good question. And certainly not the only question I get asked concerning Service Cloud upgrades. So, like my recent blog about deprecations, I thought I’d recap a few of the common questions and best practices regarding Service Cloud Upgrades.
‘Do I have to upgrade?’. I could write an entire blog on this alone but, in short: you should upgrade and you should do it regularly. This is SaaS software, after all, and keeping your Service Cloud site current ensures it is as safe and stable as it can be. (This is the ‘Maintaining a Healthy Site Series’, isn’t it?)
‘How often do I have to upgrade?’. For almost 10 years, Oracle Service Cloud has release a quarterly update. So every quarter you don’t upgrade is a quarter of new features you are missing. If you are lucky enough to be in the Auto Upgrade Program (AUP), you are already good to go as you will be upgrading every quarter. (Not in the AUP yet? Learn more about the Auto Upgraded Program here [login required].)
‘Will my customizations work after my upgrade?’. Unlike Minecraft, Service Cloud has a comprehensive collection of configuration, customization and integration options, all of which are upgrade-ready.
‘What happens if I don’t upgrade?’. Once your site is 1 year behind the current release, you will no longer receive Service Packs. Once it is 2 years behind, your Service Requests will be queued up behind customers using newer releases. And if that's not enough, the Service Cloud End-of-Life Policy lists a some even nastier possibilities.
‘What if I need to ask a question about my upgrades?’. Head over to the Upgrade Community Forum; you can ask questions of the very people that execute our upgrades, including me. Finally, if you want to keep your upgrade conversation private, file a Service Request and the Upgrade Team will get back to ASAP.
As my daughter will tell you, a software upgrade can be a nail-biting experience if you don’t plan ahead. So, do your reading and do your planning. And if you ever have any questions about upgrades (or flying cows), give me a call. I am free Saturday nights right after my ‘Father’s of Modders’ support group meeting...
[No cows or dads were harmed in the making of this blog.]
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