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Re: Installer UI advices

From: Jesse Ross
Subject: Re: Installer UI advices
Date: Fri, 11 Mar 2005 10:42:17 -0600 (CST)

> 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.

I guess the way I was looking at it is that the app itself contains a
wizard-like installer within it. Thus, you still drag and drop the app,
but when you first launch it, it runs an installer and does all the
required script running, lib placement, etc that a pkg installer would do.
Every time afterward, double clicking on that same icon runs the
executable. My biggest problem with packages is that if it installs a user
app, there is no immediate way of knowing where that app is (other than
reading output, which no one does) and it takes control away from the user
in letting them organize their apps and files how they want to.

I think something like Installer.app is probably best for installing
shared libs or non-GUI executables (CLI tools, server tools, etc),
although there is still a question of where stuff ends up.

> (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.)

Agreed -- it's a sequential process, it should have a sequential interface.


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