Saturday, April 02, 2005

More Setup Pet Peeves

Everywhere you look there are more setup pet peeves that keep popping up. Many of these new ones are in my top 20 list - some of them aren't.

Microsoft's JeffDav writes one about two installation issues - a 3rd party application and a Microsoft application. The second one was probably a MSI based installation, and I blame the MSI engine's design on this one - what ever happened to "Couldn't copy file from source media, retry" dialogs?

Raymond Chen chimed in with his own story, and the usual 2 billion responses to it - some of the catchy ones captured below.

Janus points out that several Java based apps have issues - write once, run anywhere (as long as there are no spaces in the path). Other commenters chimed in issues with *nix application ports having similar path issues. (My peeve #19).

Foxyshadis points out a few more: "are you sure you want to create the folder" AND "are you sure you want to install in an existing folder" - I don't get this one either (My peeve #10). "Once you install with custom options and later upgrade, and try to use typical, not only will it always forget which options you chose, it'll install into a completely new default folder." Why is that? This is a nice addition to my peeve #11.

Gryphonvere points out some applications "ask you rather forcefully to install some older version of DirectX" - some of this is the fault of the dependent application not providing a mechanism to determine the current version of itself, and some on the setup developer for not doing the smart thing and saying "This application was not tested with Acrobat Reader 12, if you have issues, try using Acrobat Reader 4.0." This is a corollary to my peeve's #17 and #13.

David Walker complains about the "Company Name\Product Name" default directory convention (My peeve #14). He also hits the "Common Files" directory issue. This latter point is somewhat valid, but for keeping the redistribution, duplicate files, and simplified patching for a company's product line shared components down to a minimum, I can live with that. We all have to understand that x-copy deployment of applications or product lines is not always possible. While on the subject (and expanding on my earlier peeve #20), my belief is that "Application Data" folders are underused. If I want to back up my system or use OS features such as roaming profiles, I want to have a one-stop method of doing so. Backing up the per-user application data folder, the per-system application data folder, and the "My documents" folders should be the only backup philosophy I ever have to use.

Doesn't anyone test the key features of an installation for both correctness and usability anymore?

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