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ClickOnce - is it microISV soup yet?

It looks like VS 2005's ClickOnce makes it possible of microISV's to deploy commercial desktop apps and do it in a way with all the configuration/licensing advantages of an asp.

Or so Microsoft says...

Anyone out there with an educated/experienced opinion on this? Does it --really-- live up to the hype?
Bob Walsh Send private email
Thursday, June 02, 2005
 
 
Hype.

It's basically a slighly easier version of thier much vaunted "xcopy install".  IF you have .net installed already. Gee, I can do that with DELPHI withOUT preinstalling anything.

I went to a presentation by Jamie Cool (product manager for .net).

He's going on and on about Click Once (it was his idea).

I said "wow, one click to deploy. Cool. Any requirements?"

"Oh, yes, .net, Windows, IE and some special permissions".

Typical Microsoft smoke and mirrors.

It's like saying "get a swimming pool in you backyard. Just buy this packet of chlorine*"


* Requires Swimming Pool 1.0, BackHoe 2.0, yard 3.0
Mr. Analogy {uISV Owner} Send private email
Thursday, June 02, 2005
 
 
Mr. Analogy,
Sounds like Mr. Cynical to me.

Having actual "experience" with ClickOnce I can saw it does deliver on 'much' of its intended promise and is worthy of an evening (or three's) investigation. We plan on rolling it into our suite . . .

Mr. Cynical,
Isn't it always the case you can roll your own on just about anything? IMHO, I saw "buy MSFT's code" with respect to "clickOnce" deploy.
Anonymous Coward
Thursday, June 02, 2005
 
 
I didn't mean to imply that I could "roll my own".

My point was that THIS IS HYPE.  They've made the easy part of the install easier, but haven't made the HARD part easier.

HERE'S THE HYPE from MS:
"ClickOnce ... makes deploying a Windows Forms based application as easy as deploying a web application. With “ClickOnce” running a Windows Forms application is as simple as clicking a link in a web page. "

Bullshit.  You first have to install .net (25 MB compressed at last look) and make sure they're using IE.

Again, it's like a swimming pool salesman saying "oh, we've made installing your swimming pool as EASY as filling your bathtub.  You just hook this hose up and fill up your pool"  ME: "ummm.. how does the pool get into the back yard"  MS: "oh, well, we can't make that easier".

I realize that clickonce is somewhat helpful in a corporate environment, but it doesn't even TOUCH the BIGGEST GRIPE about .net:  you need admin priveledges and high bandwidth to install that monster framework.

So, along comes the MS hype machine taling about how wonderful this TINY LITTLE IMPROVENT is. How about just giving ISVs what we've been clamouring for.

Sigh... I guess Delphi is the answer.
Mr. Analogy {uISV Owner} Send private email
Thursday, June 02, 2005
 
 
I think with click once, the initial deployment doesn't get any easier, however later deployments are automatic.  No big deal here, you can do the same thing in V1.1.  I'm using an xml manifest based auto-updating stub in stealth player.

A linker would be nice!
Ian Send private email
Thursday, June 02, 2005
 
 
Exactly, Ian : they've made the easy part easier, but done nothing about the hard part.

Again, this is a SHOWSTOPPER for an ISV who's primary marketing tool is free downloadable trials.  Not a big deal for an inhouse developer who can mandate everyone get .net 1.1 on thier PCs.

Once again, MS demonstrates that .net is focused on the corporate developer. I don't blame them. There are more of those developers.
Mr. Analogy {uISV Owner} Send private email
Thursday, June 02, 2005
 
 
Mr. A, I see your point re the little matter of having .net installed in the first point.

But...
1. MS been pushing .net 1.1 out via automatic updates,
2. I seem to remember a stat that something like 70% of the PCs that get automatic updates had .net 1.1 as of about a year ago.
3. What I want to do is have for my future products three things: zero configuration support, because that's 30% of my bug reports; server-based registration authentication, because I want to make sure that my investment in time and effort isn't nulled out thieves; and automatic updates so I can roll those out without paying Adobe(Macromedai(Installshield)) 10% of my revenue.

Granted, they have to have .net (2.0), but given that, does clickonce "smart clients" deliver or is it YAMMH (yet another Microsoft Marketing Hype)?
Bob Walsh Send private email
Thursday, June 02, 2005
 
 
"1. MS been pushing .net 1.1 out via automatic updates,"

No, it is not automatic. It's optional. It *may* be automatic in SP2, not sure. But previously it was not automatic.


"2. I seem to remember a stat that something like 70% of the PCs that get automatic updates had .net 1.1 as of about a year ago."

So, some 70% of some % of PCs have .net.  That's the "old" 1.1 version (with many known bugs, including memory leaks when doing themes).
But you'll be developing in 2.0 long before 2.0 reaches 50% penetration.

 Jamie Cool, Microsoft .net product manager quoted me 50% 6 months ago and, when pressed on that suspciously round number, he couldn't cite a source. Said it was "something marketing told him".  ??? Engineers getting their tech stats from Marketing??

So, I'm guessing .net penetration after 4 years was way under 50%.

"3. What I want to do is have for my future products three things: zero configuration support, because that's 30% of my bug reports; server-based registration authentication, because I want to make sure that my investment in time and effort isn't nulled out thieves; and automatic updates so I can roll those out without paying Adobe(Macromedai(Installshield)) 10% of my revenue."

.Net might get you the first one IF you can sucker someonebody ELSE into doing the .net install. If YOUR app does the .net install and fouls up thier computer, you've got a REAL MESS b/c you don't even know what it does.

Ancecode:  I had .net foul up my login to VectorVest.com.  When I installed .net 2.0 beta, all of a suddent when I logged into vv I got a "Dell maintenance disk" request. Uninstalling .net fixed it. Bizarre. But repeatable.

Guess who Microsoft has suckered into installing .net?  ISVs. Well, not me, thank you very much.  If MS believes in it, make it a REQUIRED automatic update.


"Granted, they have to have .net (2.0), but given that, does clickonce "smart clients" deliver"

ClickOnce gets you NONE of the above.
Mr. Analogy {uISV Owner} Send private email
Thursday, June 02, 2005
 
 
The vibes seem to be that the .NET environment is a given for certain markets where the heavy lifting has been undertaken by other installed packages that require it or by a (possibly no longer) bored systems administrator :-) **NO WORRIES**

OTOH the worst case scenario faced by ISVs is to assume .NET is absent, if so install it flawlessly and be prepared to field support calls in the wee hours when it breaks on the other side of the planet. ** NO THANKS**

WTF isn't it rolled into the OS?
trollop
Thursday, June 02, 2005
 
 
"WTF isn't it rolled into the OS?"

Because the last consumer OS was Windows XP, which shipped before .NET did?

Because, as an OEM, you are given the option of whether you want to install .NET or not on your new machines, because everybody and their brother hates it when Microsoft makes you do anything?

It was rolled into 2003. It will be rolled into Longhorn.

This is new technology that, by all first glances, was primarily targetted at professional developers who write line of business apps. Those who whine and say "but my environment X is better at task Y!" aren't adding anything substantive. Nobody's making anybody use .NET if they don't want to.
Brad Wilson Send private email
Sunday, June 05, 2005
 
 
"Ancecode:  I had .net foul up my login to VectorVest.com.  When I installed .net 2.0 beta"

Betas have bugs. Since you're so all fired against .NET, what were you doing install it, anyway?
Brad Wilson Send private email
Sunday, June 05, 2005
 
 
Brad:
>>Nobody's making anybody use .NET if they don't want to. <<

Er, how to cut an .EXE with current MS tools? Where's VB6? c++? Not in my MSDN distro. Do I have to go work as a MS Office developer?

Not whining, jeering.

I can (and will, God willing) for ISV purposes ignore .NET until it's rolled out by others braver than I am and rolled into all new OS installs at the factory. While waiting I pick up .NET experience in less critical work.
trollop
Sunday, June 05, 2005
 
 
Just because Microsoft believes the future is .NET, doesn't mean you have to believe them. Buy a copy of Visual Studio 6. Or, if you're so inclined, move to Delphi. You can still write Win32 apps, even if the tools aren't part of MSDN any more. Remember that MSDN is Microsoft product. Of course we're going to steer you to the things we want you to use. But that doesn't mean you have to agree.
Brad Wilson Send private email
Sunday, June 05, 2005
 
 
And the whining comment wasn't directed at you, it was directed at Mr. Analogy, who is a constant complainer in any thread that happens to mention .NET in any way.
Brad Wilson Send private email
Sunday, June 05, 2005
 
 
Good points though - MS fails to see the importance, meanwhile .net fails as a windows program and I see it mainly for serving up .net web pages.

They haven't simplified much for deployment.
n
Sunday, June 05, 2005
 
 
>>Buy a copy of Visual Studio 6.<<

We went into MSDN just too late to receive VB 6 as part of the licence distro and now may be forced to go rummage the secondhand market for a copy to get over a business clients' problem with shared folders in Exchange:

MS Server 2003
Exchange 2003
SDK examples in VB6
VS wants to convert the VB6 DLL's to .NET ...

There's a hole in the bucket, dear Henry, dear Henry ...

I use Borland for package development. Somewhere down the track this may change if Borland sinks or Microsoft rises in product fit for purpose. Like when BackOffice has been converted to .NET

Re Mr Analogy, I find his posts witty and informative. Don't shoot the messenger.
trollop
Sunday, June 05, 2005
 
 
A brief comment in reply re Delphi, as mentioned above. If you want XCOPY delpoyment then yes, Delphi does have the edge because it requires no framework.  However, I don't think Delphi stacks up quite so well in the "click once" space - i.e. automatic launching from a hyperlink, downloading the latest version as required.

Yes, you can write an activeX in Delphi, but the .NET security issues are easier to solve than the ActiveX ones.
John Rusk Send private email
Monday, June 06, 2005
 
 
I don't think it is for µISV we're more of mISV and for us it's just the right technology.
With VB6 there were always problems when we updated a COM component which meant someone had to visit a desktop.
While we try very hard to avoid doing those updates they happen periodically and to keep life simple we tell them to update everytime.
In practice we have more fun with schema changes in the database than COM but thats for good historical reasons.

Anyway back to the point. We want clients to go back to the days where the admin updated a single shared copy on the server then everyone else ran their "exes" from the server. With VB6 unless you have really good admins this isn't possible.

With the click once stuff I believe we can go back to this point without too much trouble. For us installing the framework isn't a problem, at preset we ship a 100Mb setup file, I'm guessing the .NET version will be considerably smaller (more like 20Mb) but thats down to better code reuse at runtime rather than compile time which is what we do with VB6.
Peter Ibbotson
Monday, June 06, 2005
 
 
"Betas have bugs. Since you're so all fired against .NET, what were you doing install it, anyway? "

1. I installed .net so I could evaluate it. Having evaluated it, I've noticed a LOT of issues. Yes, I complain about .net.  In fact, I pointed out the wopping size of the .net runtime (on this forum) before Joel even noticed it. Yes, I complained. Doesn't make my point invalid anymore than saying you're a Microsoft applogist would invalidate your argument.

Either my complaints are real issues or they are not.
But, you're right. I'm starting to feel like I'm yelling "but the world is NOT flat" and some folks are getting tire of that. Being right is no excuse for being annoying.

1.  I understand Betas have bugs. The POINT was to show how .net insinuates itself into the OS.  Installed software that (as you said) is not part of the O/S should not sink it's tentacles into said O/S.  Hopefully the non beta version will not suffer the same maladies. But, we won't know that until it's too late to fix it, right?
Mr. Analogy {uISV Owner} Send private email
Tuesday, June 07, 2005
 
 
That VectorVest thing does seem weird. I've installed .Net on a fair number of machines and never had any issues. Did you bother to report this to Microsoft and/or VectorVest or is it just too much fun to post how Microsoft's beta software has bugs in various message boards?
Complaining about the weather...
Tuesday, June 07, 2005
 
 
Yes, I reported it to Vector Vest. At that time, we had no idea it was due to .net. It was only after it happened again that I made the connection.


My point wasn't that this was a horrible bug and thus .net is bad. My point is that it demonstrates how .net insinuates itself into the O/S, causing (in this case at least) bizarre side effects that you'd be hard pressed to track down.


Seems pretty simple to me: the platform should be seperate from the o/s.

I'd report that to MS if I thought they'd listen.
Mr. Analogy {uISV Owner} Send private email
Tuesday, June 07, 2005
 
 
You still haven't proven how .Net is so tightly tied with the OS. The bulk of the framework is installed in the Microsoft.NET directory. I beleive there are also some things in system32 and there are certainly some registry keys. But this really isn't all that different from Java, which is most certainly not a part of Windows. I am at a loss to see how this bug occured.

What I find irritating is that you seem so incredibily content with kneejerk explainations. You say you contacted VectorVest about the issue, but that was before making the connection with the .Net 2.0 Beta; this would have made a significant difference in their ability to diagnose the problem since beta software is most certainly not part of a standard test matrix.

If you want the to get at the at the root of the issue, you should go directly to Microsoft themselves. Microsoft have created a product feedback center which covers all of the VS05, including the framework. I'd suggest you file a bug report detailing all information possible so that the condition can be reproduced. Since you mentioned the "Dell Maintainence Request", it may very well have something to with their need to load unnecessary crap on to customer's computers. OEMs in general, and Dell in particular, burden new machines with tons of stuff which adds little value and is just another excuse to shove the brand in people's faces. If this is causing an issue with .Net 20, Microsoft would probably like to know. I certainly won't place them above blame--I'm inclined to agree about the general viability of .Net client apps at the moment--but such idle bitching just becomes intolerable after a while. Take your case to Microsoft and at least give them the chance to evaluate what's wrong; I've found them surprisingly responsive more often than not.

Here's the link: http://lab.msdn.microsoft.com/productfeedback/
Complaining about the weather...
Tuesday, June 07, 2005
 
 
You're right. I can't PROVE that .net is intertwined with the O/S. However, the fact that you need Admin privledges to install it is suspicious, although it proves nothing.

I'd prefer a nice, static linked install where I *know* exactly what changes I've made to the PC and know I can REVERSE them.

This becomes more important when my CUSTOMER calls and says "your program trashed my system". If it's a .net install, what can I really say?  "Well, all the programmers on the web SAY that .net couldn't possibly do that" ?  I don't think so.

But, if I've got a static linked install, I KNOW that I'm not tampering with anything else.

BTW, I'm really flattered that you care that much what I think.

I don't intend to use .net, so I have no interest in doing Microft's debugging for them.
Mr. Analogy {uISV Owner} Send private email
Sunday, June 12, 2005
 
 

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