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Verbiage: Windows installers are a good thing

Chacham (981) writes | more than 10 years ago

User Journal 7

Someone made a comment in a story about installers

You mean you don't just drag a folder somewhere and call it done?

Seriously, why don't apps just look at their environment, fix whatever is missing, and not require any install script at all?

Someone made a comment in a story about installers

You mean you don't just drag a folder somewhere and call it done?

Seriously, why don't apps just look at their environment, fix whatever is missing, and not require any install script at all?

I responded about the complexity, and mentioned how anyone who asks that is ignorant in the area (not ignorant in a bad way). So, someone actually responded challenging those ideas, basically saying that good programs don't use common DLLs, the registry is a bad thing, and installations should very easy.

It's unbelieveable. There's an entire market out there for installtion software (which i used to work in) and people seem to deny them. They don't seem to understand that it's not easy. And even if it was easy, you wouldn't want the average programmer writing an install script.

There was an installer that want to wipe the temp directory when done (instead of using temporary files, he just "assumed" the temp directory was there to be emptied). Or assumed that the main drive was C. Or even that the floppy drive was a:. (Japanese NECs have A: as the hard drive, C: as the floppy. One progrmmer had the equivalent of format a: assuming it was the floppy drive.)

There was one person who had a graphics disk, with tens of thousands of little graphics, and wanted to put a link to each one in the Start Menu. (Think cluster size.)

The list goes on.

Anyone who uses Windows should be thankful for InstallShield, WISE, InstallerVISE, or anything else out there. You don't want these people touching your registry.

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Send for Chacham! (1)

Cyberdyne (104305) | more than 10 years ago | (#8226312)

"Windows insatllers"? The usage of "nor" was questionable too, but this: "and instllations should very easy" just made my parser bail out in disgust.

It's just as well Chacham obviously doesn't read these journals, otherwise he'd be really upset ;-)

Re:Send for Chacham! (1)

Chacham (981) | more than 10 years ago | (#8226619)

Thanx for the catch.

Since the "typo" JE, where in stated in a comment that interposing letters was rare for me. I have interposed many times. Oh the irony!

For some reason, i am continuously spelling installation as instllation. Each time you see it correclty, was merely where i caught it on the proof-read.

Of course, the difference between a published book or slashdot stories, and a JE, is the second person who reviews it. I do proof-read my JE, but it isn't as good, as it is too close to the writing. I kind of wish there was a built-in spellcheck here, though, i guess i could fire up abiword or the like first.

life with installers (1)

memfree (227515) | more than 10 years ago | (#8230660)

be thankful for InstallShield, WISE, InstallerVISE

I use InstallShield every day, and I hate it more with each release. Alas, users want a pretty installer with text in a variety of languages, and I'm not about to reinvent installers to do it some other way. More importantly, users want M$oft's installers that can be easily deployed with M$oft's SMS.

Yes, there is more to an install than dropping files in a new directory, and yes, if your software runs on Microsoft OSs, you use their shared DLLs.

Still, the Windows Installer (the Microsoft package -- not all those installer that can run in Windows OSs) feels like a step backward. For example, I doubt the VBA 6.3 installer could have been written as badly were it not for the layout of Microsoft's installer package. Basically, VBA 6.3 considers itself the creator of various groups of shared files such that uninstalling VBA 6.3 also uninstalls files that other things need. Microsoft considers this a Works-As-Designed issue because a user can always reinstall their broken packages.

My users would scream if my uninstallers removed shared files, but Microsoft gets away with it. Grrrr. I'm sure they consider it an anti-theft feature. The thing that makes it so difficult to believe is that this the design is that Microsoft breaks their own installer rules in the VBA packages. I don't know if this is because they're lazy or because they, too, have found their rules nearly impossible to follow.

Re:life with installers (1)

Chacham (981) | more than 10 years ago | (#8232841)

More importantly, users want M$oft's installers that can be easily deployed with M$oft's SMS.

The MS SMS Installer is actually a modified version of WISE.

I doubt the VBA 6.3 installer could have been written

VB writers ruotinely look for a decent package to install their software. The packaged instllaer is quite limited. You're correct about that one.

My users would scream if my uninstallers removed shared files, but Microsoft gets away with it.

Actually, it decrements a counter in the registry. The DLL should only be deleted if the counter hits 0. And it must delete it too, to meet MS Logo requirements.

Re:life with installers (1)

memfree (227515) | more than 10 years ago | (#8237648)

Actually, it decrements a counter in the registry.

That's what it *should* do, but VBA6.3 is screwy. It replaces certain shared files with others that use IDENTICAL registry keys. When you install, other apps begin using the new files. When you uninstall, the new files and all their registry associations are removed -- so all the other apps break.

All they had to do was use the same file name/paths OR make new UUIDS, but they did neither.

Re:life with installers (0)

Chacham (981) | more than 10 years ago | (#8237926)

OK. That is pretty bad.

But, there are other reasons not to use VB. :)

Libraries on the Amiga (1)

Kris_J (10111) | more than 10 years ago | (#8231301)

I wish I had the option to control dlls on the PC more like the Amiga. The Amiga had one home for libraries and people often competed to make the best library X. It would be nice to be able to personally select and install a few optimised libraries used by some of the programs around my PC so intensive stuff is that bit faster (maybe a whole series of libraries could be compiled optimised for my AMD CPU, or just generally coded better). Thing is, you don't notice so much on one of today's overpowered PCs.
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