d7x: The next generation of d7II! [almost
d7x is the name given to the successor of d7II, our current generation PC technician productivity software, and is built on new “d7x Platform” code, that has been developed separately from d7II (due to incompatibilities between the most basic code in which d7II functionality is built upon, and the newer designs required for the amazing innovations we have planned for the d7x product line!)
The d7x Platform code isn’t designed only for innovation, but also to provide a more flexible platform to be used for rapid development (and updating) of multiple application projects going forward (including our other existing technician oriented apps such as KillEmAll, dUninstaller, and dSupportSuite to name a few, as well as other new apps on the horizon.)
Many suggestions from our tech subscribers have made the d7 and d7II line of products great from day one, so we’re always excited to receive your ideas for d7x! Contribute your ideas anytime by contacting us directly or via our official support portal where you will also find message forums capable of housing your discussions on feature requests and updates for all of our software!
d7x “Alpha” was created in order to provide product updates to d7II subscribers until a unique d7x release is achieved, while simultaneously moving towards that goal. Therefore, you must have an active d7II subscription for any testing or usage. In fact, to have an active d7II subscription means you are a d7x subscriber, even if your billing plan doesn’t to change reflect the new name.
We would like to invite any d7x (d7II) subscribers to try d7x Alpha and actively participate in the feedback process for current development. We hope to continue to build d7x in a fashion not unlike d7II and d7 before it, where techs in the field contributed real ideas about current needs, and the products reflected that fact by remaining the best.
d7x – September Update:
This latest d7x Alpha “TestBuild” replaces the “d7IIx Alpha” versions opened to all d7II subscribers in March.
We believe this release can be tested with confidence in a production environment, provided you keep d7II with you as a backup. d7x Alpha is designed to sit beside d7II in the same folder, and maintains backwards compatibility with d7II configurations and active d7II session data (temporary files and settings specific to d7II and the current repair process) so a job can be finished with d7II if necessary. Even if d7x stopped working during an auto mode, d7II should pick up where d7x left off.
The next release stage will bring the d7x “FastTrack” builds to the d7II “Pre-Release” update system, and later as a full next-version release through the standard automatic update system.
Please see the d7x Manual to learn more about what’s new with this release, including the d7x Remote Deployment Tool (aka d7xRDT) the “SFX Mini” replacement, and new Config Mgmt Portal replacing the dCloud/Self-Hosted FTP functionality.
Also, this d7x Alpha Youtube playlist was created for early demo and how-to content, and currently contains a new video on the d7x Bug Submission Interface, but 2 more videos with new content are already awaiting edit. (Be sure to subscribe to our channel for update notifications!)
d7x Platform code controls the underlying operation of d7II specific functionality (from error handling/debug systems to interfacing with the OS, file system, registry, internet operations, and more…)
d7x interfaces with the OS using new APIs that allow newer OS features and replace older concepts and tools, while preserving Unicode characters with an aim to cover the different needs of those in non-English speaking countries and with localized versions of Windows.
d7x advances client/server communications adding full SSL and verifying server security certificates on connection, for secure update communications to safeguard against attacks. These capabilities will be extended to the “dCloud” communications when accounts can be migrated/converted, and to Self-Hosted FTP options, as well as adding new HTTPS communication abilities for Self-Hosted options.
d7x also interfaces with itself using high accuracy and error correcting routines in certain input data verification code, and includes vastly improved error handling and debug systems that automatically track quite a bit of internal data flow without extra coding.
The initially availability of “d7IIx” (named to reflect a hybrid product) earlier this year began with d7x “Platform” code, built from the ground up with new considerations in design and new fundamental basic lower-level functionality, and integrated the d7II user interface and other code designed for specific purposes and functionality (e.g. specific Windows repair processes, the entire custom apps system, etc.) Then, much of the d7II code was unmodified, although certain things reflected improvement right away (such as Windows 10 recognition.) Now, d7II code and specific functionality is being replaced entirely in areas like config/definitions storage operations and remote deployment options, and more is to come.
To get a better idea of how the d7II code fits in, below are a few examples which illustrate the relationship between new d7x Platform code [represented by (d7x) below] which performs the unseen “grunt work” vs. the ported d7II code [represented by (d7II) below] which still handles the interface and specific/customized functionality.
Current Example #1: Run a custom app from the user interface (d7II), read user config (d7II), determine applicable operating environment/OS version (d7x), file exist/date stamp checking to determine if we should download a new fresh copy (d7x), download the file (d7x), extract file (d7x), find/verify extracted files (d7x), determine/initiate config customizations to app (d7II), perform file/registry operations related to app customizations (d7x), launch executable (d7x), wait for it to complete (d7x) in order to perform any cleanup/post actions like log gathering, etc. (d7II) before continuing with auto mode if in progress (d7II).
Current Example #2: Launch a Windows repair function from the user interface (d7II), read user config if applicable (d7II), determine targeted repair methodologies for the specific circumstances based on the above (d7II), determine operating conditions/perform system checks/download reqs if applicable (d7x), actually perform targeted repairs via any number of file system/registry operations (d7x), report success/failure/subsequent actions determined (d7II).
Now that the d7x Platform code has been integrated fully with the last builds going by the “d7IIx” title, much of the existing d7II specific code (as mentioned above) is being replaced, and fast. The current d7x v0.0.0.88 update brought an entirely new Config Mgmt Portal (older dCloud/Self-Hosted FTP functionality) and introduces the d7x Remote Deployment Tool (aka d7xRDT, the ‘SFX Mini‘ replacement) both of which are all new d7x specific/d7x Platform code (d7x-only) and together replace ALL client/server communications regarding config/definition files, as well as update tracking functionality.
Our first and foremost priority is to document/fix issues with functionality that worked correctly in the last release version of d7II.
New Feature Suggestions: At this time we are open to new feature suggestions, and large ideas are welcome; please visit our support portal to start a community post, but we ask that you understand the consideration is in future implementation, and we may not address all requests.
For the near future: major sections of d7x Platform code are already established (in the binary) and waiting to be integrated into existing d7II code replacements. The new d7x Platform code focuses on advanced, tested, stable, and reusable code to allow for rapid development towards reconstructing many of d7II’s best attributes into a more powerful and more user friendly tool.
Focusing on stability in the integration of d7II specific interfaces and functionality, workflow and data formats must be re-designed before we can drop d7II operational compatibility, and we plan to drop d7II operational compatibility before we move on to newer possibilities and new features.
User Interface: There is no foreseeable ETA on a complete user interface “change” at this time. In valuing function over form, for the most part your familiar interface will change gradually when it isn’t optional, and optional when it isn’t gradual or “under the hood” and does not maintain a familiar d7II form. Currently there may be few UI elements that reflect interface changes conceived for d7x, however there is a lot of re-usable code ready for interface changes or more simple enhancements.
Those hoping for few major “graphical” changes (if any) may delight in seeing the new KillEmAll’s background, which forces a consistent appearance of mostly the same traditional Windows app background color across all versions of Windows, while adding only a slight gradient effect from top to bottom using a bitmap that resizes nicely. It’s worth noting that this bitmap could be replaced as a new brand-able property.
Compatibility issues must also be considered as we apply new interface concepts, not just in maintaining d7II compatibility during the early stages, but also to allow the optional usage of the current d7II interface as a new UI develops, because a large amount of specific d7II functionality is tightly integrated into the existing user interface. In order to replace the d7II user interface that code must be updated heavily or entirely rewritten to work with new d7x code, and to simultaneously continue to work as expected with the existing d7II interface.
In other words, d7x is a ground up replacement, and basically the UI is more or less a major part of the very final stages in a full d7x release, but we’re not quite there yet.
(Current availability) – d7x v0.x.x.x “TestBuild” releases are NOT fully tested, and as a result may NOT be fully functional. While we are confident you CAN use them in a production environment, we do NOT recommend using them exclusively without a fail-safe copy of d7II.exe available (should you need to complete a repair stalled due to a d7x bug.)
Only d7x subscribers (meaning current d7II subscribers with active subscriptions) may test d7x Alpha.
Get the download here: d7x Manual
As the builds progress beyond the “TestBuild” phase to “FastTrack” builds they will become available through the d7II’s update system (as “Pre-Release”) to all subscribers, until the time it is proven stable and released as an official update for d7II.
In fact, to have an active d7II subscription means you are a d7x subscriber, and will be referred to as such in future documentation, even if your billing plan doesn’t to change reflect the new name.
A: NO for currently active d7II accounts! Customer loyalty deserves reward, so ALL existing d7II accounts which remain active are eligible for d7x based upgrades with NO change in your existing pricing terms. Actively billed subscription plans will continue to be charged at the previously agreed upon rate (as determined when you committed to that payment plan through our 3rd party payment processor) provided that your subscription is maintained without a lapse in payment or service.
* Please note that d7II is licensed at per-technician rates (single tech, 2-5 techs, 6-10, 11-15, etc.) and therefore to increase technician usage at any time would require a new/upgraded license, which does constitute a new subscription plan that may be charged at the current rates. Additionally, any d7II account cancellation (prompted either by customer request, or due to a lapse in payment/subscription without a timely customer response to rectify the missed payment and reinstate service) will require a new subscription to be charged at the current rate for the product during that time.
A: … We do plan for a one-time purchase option to enable various modular components of the d7x functionality, such as functionality we have planned for the newer combined KillEmAll/dUninstaller and other components of d7x. We are also considering a more limited free edition as well as trial capabilities, although these are dependent on the separation of features between the ever-evolving full edition and the modular one-time purchase licenses.
A: NO! To be honest, some of us believe the usage of the letter ‘X’ in pop culture is a bit annoying, so our ‘x’ actually gets its inspiration from the common convention of programming (and math formulas) to use ‘x’ as the primary variable name. From a programming standpoint a variable is most often replaced with a real value in repetitious code blocks, and ‘x’ is typically used for a numerical value in For…loop statements e.g. For x = 0 to Ubound(SomeArray)… ‘x’ is also the most recognized way to refer to multiple or unknown specific software versions, like referring to a range of revisions at once, e.g. v4.x instead of v4.0 and v4.1 and v4.2, etc.
Either way you look at it, d7x represents a variable: it is ever-evolving and improving to suit the expanding needs of PC repair technicians everywhere!
A brief history of d7 and d7II:
d7: The original d7 (or “D7” at the time) was born in a small company (just me, actually not yet a ‘company’) and became hugely popular as a free PC repair tool, working its way into the virtual tool bags of techs across the globe. It wasn’t long before the idea came to me to sell a ‘branded’ version of d7, where a company could purchase it to replace my logo and name with their own!
d7 Premium: As d7 was rapidly growing in both lines of code as well as global popularity, techs were flocking to request new features and report minor issues, a trend that continues to this day! The influx of requests and resulting development sparked the formation of Foolish IT LLC, and the fully featured version of d7 was sold as a ‘Premium’ edition, with the ‘Free’ edition split many newer features added were reserved for Premium users.
d7 Integrations with other software: Some time after Foolish IT LLC was formed, d7 started to catch the eye of other vendors in the industry and integrations were sought out with ticket system software specifically for repair shops such as RepairShopr and PC Repair Tracker (PCRT) which have some integrations for d7’s reporting features. Later, v6.7 of the d7 source code was contracted to RepairTech, Inc. to bundle in their “TechUSB” product, a linux boot environment designed to use free tools such as HDD/memory testers and virus scanners on offline systems, where it quickly became the center piece of their software suite! It was later dubbed “TechSuite” with the d7 component renamed to “TechWARU” and given a UI makeover to differentiate it from Foolish IT’s original d7. Later d7 received yet another full integration with the remote support software “Instant Housecall” which still carries the final version v10.4.35 minus a few key features, where it may now be referred to as “Auto PC Repair” or similar.
The Last d7: The original d7 came to an end of life cycle by it’s v10.4.35 release, when it was determined that it could no longer be maintained without a rewrite of most of the core functionality of the software, as the existing functionality was too limited for the ever-evolving PC repair industry. It was such a large project, and the original d7 being a one-time purchase from a small company (just me) wearing all the hats, the next generation of d7 was born in d7II, which debuted for a subscription fee instead of as a one-time purchase, in order to support continued development and upgrades. (The original d7 actually went to a subscription fee basis about a month or two before it was discontinued; those who subscribed received their d7II subscription as a complementary upgrade.)
d7II: PC Tech Productivity Software: The first d7II debuted as a full rewrite of the original d7 Premium’s core functionality, to address some crippling issues that couldn’t be fixed reliably with simple patching/updating. Designed with speed and reliability in mind, d7II was far superior in these areas as the original d7, and operational results were far more consistent, thorough, and accurate. The subscription platform of d7II also paved the way for the first Foolish IT LLC employees, actual PC techs with over a decade of experience each, available to assist our subscribers while the next generation d7x Platform code has been in development! d7II’s unparalleled features and functionality support a strong and ever-growing following in tech shops across the globe, which is why d7II remains the flagship product of Foolish IT, even through the success of our wildly popular CryptoPrevent Malware Prevention and Anti-Virus Supplement!
Ultimately, our plans for d7II grew so wildly based on the great ideas and contributions from our expert technician customers, that just like the original d7, we had to face the idea that even the d7II code “base” (the core code routines for which the special features and functionality of d7II were built upon) was not enough to support all of the innovations we had planned. Instead of a d7II v4.x release, we decided it would be best to discontinue the current code base in d7II, and start with a blank page – a project that would take much time and require halting development of new features in the current generation d7II, until the project could be completed.
Now armed with some great new supporting talent on our team, we’ve planned a whole new d7(x), chock full of new functionality and worthy of a new name! d7’s newest incarnation dubbed “d7x” will feature a redesigned graphical interface and simplified workflow, new configuration and customization options with new default templates to get you started quickly, capabilities for server side support of client side copies, new cloud and config storage features, new multiple user features, new management features, a new focus on internal tools for repair and malware fighting functionality, and of course I can’t leave out the obligatory “MUCH MORE!” Under the hood d7x is lean, mean, efficient, and more effective than ever!
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