SAS releases regular updates to software products in the form of hot fixes and maintenance releases. Hot fixes are SAS' timely response to customer-reported problems, as well as a way to deliver occasional security-related updates that can affect any software product.
At SAS we call them "hot fixes." Other companies might call these "updates," "patches" or (the old-timey term) "zaps." I like the term "hot fix," because it connotes 1) a timely release of code, and 2) something that you apply to an established production system (while it's running "hot").
An important part of the hot fix process is learning when there is a new fix available. Beginning this month, we now have a new SAS Hot Fix Announcements board -- on SAS Support Communities -- where you can learn about newly available fixes. If you're a SAS administrator, these notices provide more complete and detailed information about available hot fixes. And if you are a business user, it behooves you to stay informed about fixes so you can pass information on to your IT department.
Find your fixes: by e-mail, RSS feeds or search
By using the community board to host hot fix notices, we've now provided you with many options to subscribe to this content. Like any community board, you can click Subscribe and have the notifications e-mailed to you as soon as they are posted. Or you can use your favorite RSS reader to peruse the latest entries when the timing is right for you. Finally, you can use the Search field on the hot fix board to find just the fixes you need. Simply type a SAS product name, a version number, or text from a SAS Note to find the matching hot fixes. Visit this topic on the SAS Support Communities to learn more about how to pull the information you need, or to have it pushed to you automatically.
Here's a picture of the Hot Fix RSS feed in my instance of Microsoft Outlook:
TSNEWS-L: it has served us well
For decades, SAS Technical Support has used the TSNEWS-L mailing list to send brief, weekly summaries of the recent hot fixes. While this is good for raising awareness that "a fix is available" for a product you use, the information in the e-mail contains no details about what issues each hot fix addresses. Nor does it include a direct link to download the fix. For now, this information will still be delivered via TSNEWS-L -- but we hope that you find the community board to be more flexible.
A peek behind the hot fix curtain
It shouldn't surprise you that we use SAS software to help bring you the details about SAS fixes.
To build these improved notfications, the SAS Communities team and SAS Technical Support worked together to automate the publishing process for hot fix bulletins. All of the hot fix details were already tracked within internal-only operational databases and displayed on the Technical Support Hot Fix download site. Now, a SAS-based process assembles this data, creates a hot fix bulletin entry for each fix and publishes the entry automatically to SAS Support Communities. It's a wonderful mix of SAS data management, REST APIs, DATA step and more. It's a 300-line SAS program (including plenty of comments) that runs every weekday morning -- and it completes in about 15 seconds. It's time well-spent to keep SAS users in the know!