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Automatically Updating Power Forms in RP Fiber Power

Dr. Rüdiger Paschotta

In 2023, we introduced our new Power Forms in the RP Fiber Power software. These have really become quite popular, and we continuously invest time into making them even more powerful, flexible and easy to use.

Due to the relatively frequent changes of the Power Forms, the following new feature will be quite useful: we now introduce the possibility to update the Power Forms within roughly a second, and not requiring you to wait for any action on our side.

How It Works

So once you have that new feature (after a general software update, which customers get for free by just notifying us), it is very simple:

When you are in Power Forms mode, you see a new button “Check for updates” (see the screenshot below). If you press that, the software will check on our web server what the latest version is and what changes have been implemented. It will then display these changes – only those which happened since your last update. It also checks whether the new Power Forms are still compatible with the software version which you have installed. If that is the case and you confirm the update, it is performed within roughly a second. Otherwise, you should notify us to get a complete software update.

If you have a license already, I recommend doing a general software update soon – just tell us that you want that. Recently, there have been quite a few improvements which are not mentioned in this article.

updates for Power Forms
Figure 1: The list of Power Forms now has a button “Check for updates”.

Typical Kinds of Improvements

We are working on many features of the Power Forms – things like the following:

  • The forms themselves get some better labeling, additional input and output fields, and we fix some (usually minor) bugs.
  • More types of diagrams are offered. For example, we added quite a few to the form for fiber mode calculations.
  • We frequently introduce minor improvements of existing diagrams. For example, we sometimes add further options for displaying additional quantities.
  • Sometimes, we even add a new Power Form. The last one was a model for sending ultrashort pulses through a passive fiber. That is useful for simulating soliton effects, supercontinuum generation and various other things.

Further Remarks

Note that you will require administrative rights on your computer to perform such an update. I assume that most users have that.

The updater keeps a copy of the previously installed version, so that we could revert to that in case that any new problem arises.

We will do our best to keep the updated forms compatible with the input data sets. For example, we will not rename variables without a real need.

Some customers may have made tailored versions of Power Forms. These are then local copies and will not be affected by such an update. However, you might then want to update your tailored versions. For that, it will be helpful if you properly documented any changes you did.

You may wonder whether we could also offer for software updates in that manner. That might be nice, although such software updates are less frequently required. Unfortunately, the software copy protection we are using would not work so well with that, and also we would need to provide many different versions of the software on our server. This is because different customers are using different software versions (very provide updates even for the old versions), machine-parent or network licenses, in the past also 32-bit and 64-bit versions, versions with and without the Numerical Power Package, etc. But if you notify us by e-mail, for example, we can usually send you an updated version rather quickly.


This article is a posting of the RP Photonics Software News, authored by Dr. Rüdiger Paschotta. You may link to this page, because its location is permanent.

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