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Re: Installer UI advices

From: Sheldon Gill
Subject: Re: Installer UI advices
Date: Sat, 12 Mar 2005 09:26:08 +0800
User-agent: Mozilla Thunderbird 1.0 (Windows/20041206)

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
of the apps, it determines whether you have installed any of the
shared libs, and if not, goes through an installation process.

Its a nice feature but it adds considerable complexity and size to the code. Trouble is also that there isn't a clean way I can think of to do this which would work across distributions.

I'm not sure drag/drop install is appropriate for packages.  On OS X

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.

Am I right in thinking that your primary objection to an installer application is user feedback and ability to organise files?

If that's so then I think you're looking in the wrong place for a solution.


Flexibility in organising where your applications go is limited by the OS. Additionally, it's actually nice for anyone who needs to work with many different machines if they can find their way around easily. Standardised places help this a lot. It also helps less sophisticated users by helping them with the decision. Users can be free to install the actual app anywhere they want if they tell the installer where to put it.

If you want immediate feedback on where the application has gone I'd have thought the right thing to do is provide that feedback. The desktop/workspace should do something appropriate.

For example; at the end of installation, the icon of the installed application quickly moves from the installer window to a place on the dock.

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.

Installers come about because stuff has to end up in a particular place. For many things, like shared libraries, it isn't of concern to the user anyway. Making non-gui tools more apparent and usable is a completely different discussion.


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