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The server is the heart of Hockey. It provides all the features, handles the apps and app versions, statistics and generates the website to download and install each app.
The server is backwards compatible with Hockey version 1.0, but a lot of features require the client to be upgraded to version 2.0.
The optional client eases distribution of your apps updates and enables additional features like "team management" and "device authentication".
Most importantly it enables upgrading versions absolutely seamless for your testers. They only need to install the app once by invoking the web interface provided by the server and can then focus on testing the app. Every update will be presented on start up of the application. You could even stop reminding them on updates via email, since if they are good testers, they should use the app frequently anyway ;)
The client will present version specific release notes to the user, and if the different versions are stored individually on the server, even provides the option to see the complete release notes history. This is also very helpful if the tester is going to skip one or multiple version and will still see all the changes made since the last installed version.