A hotfix, also known as quick-fix engineering (QFE) update, is a term used by software developers or programmers to describe an immediate rectification or upgrade of already deployed software. The newly fixed software may sometimes be upgraded to a newer or more robust version with new features. A hotfix can be used to address malfunctions and vulnerabilities in software with less user interruption than a coldfix or complete reinstallation.
How does a hotfix work?
When an end-user reports an issue, the software’s development teams make a decision about the issue’s urgency. Security and operating system incompatibilities are often candidates for hotfixes due to the potential severity of problems that arise if those areas remain unrepaired. Once the hotfix itself is built and tested, the developer deploys it to end-users via a server update or a download via a secure server.
Key benefits of hotfixes
Performing a hotfix offers some key benefits over reinstalling software.
- Continuous usability: While the fixes are in progress, users can continue to use the software without needing to do a complete uninstall/reinstall.
- Improved performance: With its ability to quickly fix bugs, a hotfix can facilitate better app performance.
- Recoverability: Applications with hotfixes can typically be rolled back to a previous version if new issues arise.
Who uses hotfixes, and what do they use them for?
As part of ongoing testing and post-deployment quality assurance procedures, software developers and programmers may choose to implement a hotfix if a bug is causing users issues. Using a hotfix enables developers to provide a solution to the problem with less interruption to the users.
Hotfix vs. coldfix vs. bugfix vs. patch
A hotfix is deployed to improve or upgrade software after it has been released. Typically, the hotfix doesn’t require alteration in system hardware or to the software’s features, and users may continue to access the software while its problem is being fixed.
Unlike a hotfix, substantial alterations may occur with a coldfix because it involves improvement in the total hardware and systems used to create the software. Users are usually aware of any occurring change because they will need to sign out of their software and reboot it for the fix to take effect.
Programmers generally use the word bug for any defect that arises within a software that may cause it to malfunction. This defect may be due to a few logical errors, type or syntax errors, etc. The process by which developers fix this bug is called “debugging.” Hence, a bug fix involves correcting any programming error within the software.
Patches are automated updates planned by the developer and aimed at improving the workings of the software. Most patches tell users about the new development or fixes that the software needs.