What sort of installer do you like?

For a few reasons, I'm currently exploring the possibility of using an installer rather than a simple compressed archive for future releases of MissionComputer and its friends, and I'd like to know how people feel about installers. There are three main types of installer I'm considering:

  • the traditional "monolithic" installer, in which you download one file containing everything - the Mac OS X and Classic versions of the application, the support files, the documentation, and so on - and then choose which files you actually want to install,

  • a choice of two installers to download - one for Mac OS X and one for Classic, and

  • an "active" installer, in which you download one small installer application, and tell it what you want to install, and then it connects to a server and downloads and installs the appropriate files.

There's also the possibility of offering both an active and a stand-alone installer, like Apple does for QuickTime.

What are people's opinions about these types of installers? Is there any particular type you prefer, or is there another option I haven't listed?

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David Arthur
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I think the OS X and Classic installers. Simplicity is best 🙂

ewan

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Have to agree with Jules. By now people are familiar with downloading for either Classic or OS X. Actually, I can't recall any installers that had both OS X and Classic versions.

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I'd go for the second one.

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I'd say two or three.

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Second for sure. If you do use it, if you install the developer's toolkit which came with OSX, it has an application called PackageMaker or something of the like (the icon is an open cardboard box), which makes a .pkg file to be used with the built-in OSX installer.

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I'd say the same as everyone else so far... "a choice of two installers to download - one for Mac OS X and one for Classic"

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Quote

Originally posted by SpacePirate:
If you do use it, if you install the developer's toolkit which came with OSX, it has an application called PackageMaker or something of the like (the icon is an open cardboard box), which makes a .pkg file to be used with the built-in OSX installer.

I've looked at PackageMaker, but it's for Mac OS X only, is rather limited in its scope, and is not particularly easy to set up. I'll probably be using the shareware version of Installer VISE, since I have a fair bit of experience with it and it works on both Mac OS X and Classic. I had a feeling people would prefer the two installers method, but I just wanted to "market research" a few other possibilities.

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David Arthur
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Type 2 is my preference.

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Why go with an installer as opposed to a stuffit file or Disk Image? They only seem to cause problems. For OS X at least, Apple recommends disk images because they are less confusing to use, unless, of course, you need to install a kext or something, which I doubt.

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Quote

Originally posted by AriosSw:
**Why go with an installer as opposed to a stuffit file or Disk Image? They only seem to cause problems. For OS X at least, Apple recommends disk images because they are less confusing to use, unless, of course, you need to install a kext or something, which I doubt.

**

Yup , I think for applications like MC, that do not need alot of other files(apart from the actual program) to be installed you should stick to a stuffit archive or disk image.

Entarus,

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Option 2 is my preference.

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Quote

Originally posted by AriosSw:
Why go with an installer as opposed to a stuffit file or Disk Image? They only seem to cause problems. For OS X at least, Apple recommends disk images because they are less confusing to use, unless, of course, you need to install a kext or something, which I doubt.

Disk images work fairly well, but in my experience they greatly increase the size of the ultimate download file; they don't seem to compress well. StuffIt I'm not pleased with at all; MissionComputer keeps getting hit by that same StuffIt bug that's been causing troubles for plug-in users over on the EV Nova board, and that's creating major difficulties for users of some of my as yet unreleased software. Using an installer package also gives me higher compression, more reliable delivery, and the ability to make the installer automatically clean up the preferences from older versions of MissionComputer.

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David Arthur
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Personally I like option 3 but if it gets the later versions out quicker I'll go with number 2 (I am really impatient ok, so sue me)

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Option 3 really sucks when you have a tenuous 56.6k dial-up.

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Quote

Originally posted by UncleTwitchy:
**Option 3 really sucks when you have a tenuous 56.6k dial-up.

**

How did you know I had a 56.6k?

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I didn't know -- I spoke from experience trying to upgrade Quicktime at home.

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Quote

Originally posted by David Arthur:
**Disk images work fairly well, but in my experience they greatly increase the size of the ultimate download file; they don't seem to compress well. StuffIt I'm not pleased with at all; MissionComputer keeps getting hit by that same StuffIt bug that's been causing troubles for plug-in users over on the EV Nova board, and that's creating major difficulties for users of some of my as yet unreleased software. Using an installer package also gives me higher compression, more reliable delivery, and the ability to make the installer automatically clean up the preferences from older versions of MissionComputer.

**

I agree with your two points. What software are you looking into for your installers? I had looked into them for Histogram, my previous program, and was a little confused on how to make them. Perhaps the options have improved since then. Installers do indeed provide a cleaner user experience, the only downside is potential confusion.

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Quote

Originally posted by AriosSw:
I agree with your two points. What software are you looking into for your installers? I had looked into them for Histogram, my previous program, and was a little confused on how to make them. Perhaps the options have improved since then. Installers do indeed provide a cleaner user experience, the only downside is potential confusion.

As I'm already fairly experienced with it, I'll probably use the shareware version of Installer VISE, which supports all three options, makes fairly simply installers, and has a reasonably powerful scripting-like system.

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David Arthur
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Jus use a carbon application. Most people have X, or at least 9.1

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