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Hassle-free installation

I've got a program for users to download and install.  Currently I'm using a generic VS Install project.

Currently, the user has to:
1) click "Download"
2) Select "Run" or "Save As..."
3) Run/Open the installer
4) User has to confirm that they
5) Installer begins without prompt, but user must click "Finish" at the end of the process.

How can I improve this process (reduce required intervention)?  Is a single-click install even a possibility?

(If it helps, we can limit ourselves to IE7.)
DLarsen Send private email
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
Edit:  4) User has to confirm that they do, in fact want to run the program
DLarsen Send private email
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
Use the MSI format.
Thursday, December 06, 2007
I think the simplest solution is to have them download an exe that is a self-contained program, no installation required. Then the steps are:

1) click download
2) double-click on the application that was downloaded to run.

In other words, don't write a program that requires a separate install step.
Pragmatic Programmer Send private email
Thursday, December 06, 2007
"Is a single-click install even a possibility?"

How about Click-Once ?
Ruatara Paapu Send private email
Thursday, December 06, 2007
Pragmatic: The application will be lost in the sea of other files in their download directory never to be seen again.

Not good for non-technical users
Almost H. Anonymous Send private email
Friday, December 07, 2007
If you can accidently click somewhere on a web page and software is installed on your machine, that's a huge security problem. That's why it's designed that way with all those confirmations. On Vista it adds a couple more "are you sure?" as well.

For less hassle, sell it on CD and they can just pop it in (Autorun...).
Friday, December 07, 2007
Internal application rollout?

Agree with somebody else.  MSI.  99.99% silent
Cory R. King Send private email
Friday, December 07, 2007
As Almost and Bob said, the steps you mention are there for good reasons:

>> 2) Select "Run" or "Save As ..."

Some users want to install direct from the web site.  That's what Run is for.  Others, such as me, want to be able to save a copy of the install image on their local drives in case they love the program but you go out of business and it's no longer available online when they upgrade to a new computer.  So this check is about choice and actually helps the user.

>> 4) User has t confirm...

This is to make sure the user really wants to install.  It may seem redundant but you are giving the user a choice not to install, which is good.

>> 5) ... click Finish ...

Again, a good thing for the user.  The user has a positive confirmation that installation is complete and s/he can use it now.  If the installation had problems this shows the user that the install did not succeed and often gives an opportunity to display a log file - or send it back to for troubleshooting.

All in all, this is a standard practice that people have used for years and is relatively unobtrusive.

You have bigger things to worry about than trying to simplify a process that does work well for everyone.  If I were you I'd be spending my time on more productive pursuits like eliminating bugs or writing new functionality.
Karl Perry Send private email
Saturday, December 08, 2007
The first question is:  Who is the audience for the product?  An internal controlled group or a commercial app to the public?

For the internal audience who you know must have the app, an MSI with /qb for silent intall with basic display is optimal.

To the pubic - All those clicks evolved for good reason and you mess with the expected experience at your own peril.
Blaine Wheeler Send private email
Monday, December 10, 2007
I wrote a short piece on this a little while ago:

My suggestion would be to execute directly from the downloaded file. Don't have an installer at all. It might also be worth getting the file digitally signed so that users don't get virus/certificate warnings.
Ian Howson Send private email
Wednesday, December 26, 2007

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