@dmaul, here's the thing:
is a file manager that will let you back up and restore your apps to/from SD card, either one-by-one or in batch mode.
will help you identify and update those of your installed apps that are out of date. This is done on a one-by-one basis, I hope that there will be a batch-process mode in the future (but I have heard nothing in that direction, so don't read too much into this)
So what you wanna do is this:
-- Do an Astro backup in two situations: (a) after having run aTrackDog to bring your apps up to date, and (b) before messing with your device.
-- You also want to run aTrackDog after you have restored your apps (with Astro) to make sure they'e up to date (and yes, this means you wanna make a new backup soon after restoring).
If you do this, you'll always have your apps. However: if you do a full reset and restore, you will still lose the settings
for the system and all apps; to salvage the settings you need to use "Nandroid" which comes with the custom "rescue" firmware updates.