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From (Ben Hyde)
Subject Installation on Windows
Date Wed, 29 Apr 1998 14:16:56 GMT

This note falls in the "so others don't have to
figure this out themselves" catagory.

On the otherhand it could be used as a todo list.

Why must Window's installation be so complex and
unique? or Why must you use InstallShield or
something like it?

 1. Provide Users with the expected UI to install.
    i.e.  Type "a:\setup"
     a 'shortterm pleasure'

 2. Provide Users with the expected UI to UN-install
     a 'longterm pleasure'

 3. NEVER tempt users to drag and drop!
    The GUI drag and drop will not display/copy DLLs
    and users get screwed.  Since expert users 
    reconfigure the UI to avoid this unique behavior
    developers often test on machines where this
    problem doesn't crop up.

 4. Installation must PROVE that the system has
    a reasonable set of DLLs.  For example the
    C Runtime system is NOT installed on NT
    machines "out of the box" (of course there
    is no such thing as "out of the box")
    The winsock version is also a problem.
      4a. offer to install "missing" DLL.
      4b. offer to install "current" versions 
          of DLL

  5. Making registry entries at installation time
     is hard to avoid.
      5a. #2 the uninstall stuff needs them.
      5b. installing services requires them
      5c. applications settings, like config files
          may require them.
      5d. control panel UI to 5a, 5b and 5c expect
      5e. OLE object registration and versioning.

  6. Marketing (and sometimes) user convienence
     force you to mess up the "start" menu.

  7. Sometimes you want to put something in the
     control panel's folder.

  8. BIND (a device that precomputes the dynamic
     linking so it's noop at runtime) is a sweet
     good thing to do at install time.

  9. Allow users to select various configurations
     (personally I hate this from a support point
     of view).

 10. Account permission issues.  Installation may 
     needs to explain to users that they don't have
     permissions to do 4a, 4b, 5, 6, or permissions
     for services that the application requires

  - ben hyde

"It was so complex I had to love it to understand it."

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