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Re: Installer UI advices

From: Adrian Robert
Subject: Re: Installer UI advices
Date: Fri, 11 Mar 2005 10:44:08 -0500

On Mar 10, 2005, at 1:35 PM, Jesse Ross wrote:

I personally love the idea of drag and drop to install (or even trigger an
installer) -- it means we have a single, logical method of installation
and it allows our users the "luxury of ignorance", as ESR says <
http://www.catb.org/~esr/writings/cups-horror.html >. Office X 2004's
installer is really nice too, in that you drag the apps off the disk and drop them on your hard drive, like a regular app. Once you launch the any
of the apps, it determines whether you have installed any of the shared
libs, and if not, goes through an installation process.

I'm not sure drag/drop install is appropriate for packages. On OS X this is done for .apps that don't need any additional work (by scripts, etc.) or license agreement, and works because of their .dmg disk-image mounting framework. On GNUstep, someone proposed using zipped .apps (.appz) to do a similar thing and that seems like a good plan when you just have a self-contained app. But the need for delivering in a "package" arises when something that simple can't work -- either you've got files that need to go elsewhere on the disk, dependencies that need to be checked, scripts that need to run, etc.. In that case the user can and should interact with the process more than a simple drag/drop would allow.

(And when you do have to do this, the wizard UI seems the most reasonable and efficient way to get through it. It is easier to rush through a wizard and be sure you've at least glanced at everything than to click around a tabbed or other non-sequential interface. The wizard is also well-suited to delivering clear information to the user on what stage of an install process failed.)

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