I was checking out what version of Firefox I'm using and it was telling me that I'm on the 'release update channel'. So I googles "Update Channel" and I finds this seemingly antiquated MSDN article which has a confusing bit of ASP.NET pre-processed into the article to give you the sense that you both should not use this technology and should never have used this technology.
Microsoft Active Channel technology is obsolete as of Windows Internet Explorer 7 and should not be used. Users want an easy and convenient way to download and install new versions of software. Software Update Channels are specialized channels that you can use to notify users of software updates and also deliver and install the updates on their computers. Users who have downloaded your software and subscribed to your Software Update Channel are notified when new versions of your software become available. When notified of an update, users can click a gleaming icon representing your channel, which returns them to your download site so they can obtain the new version. Users can also choose to have software updates delivered and installed on their computers automatically.
Active Channel technology is obsolete as of Internet Explorer 7 and should not be used. This article introduces you to the terminology, benefits, and implementation of Software Update Channels. After reading this article, you will understand how easy it is for users to discover and interact with this technology, and you will know how to create your own Software Update Channels. Links to relevant overviews, references, and tutorials are provided at the end of the article.
So, I ask you. Is this still some sort of metaphor for getting software easily to your clients. If I store the info for my programs updates in a database, is there existing non-obsolete Microsofty technology that could take a generated XML file and tell people using my software that there are updates available and you should probably download them?