Installer Downloader Installer Downloaders

I couldn’t figure out how to fit this into a 140 character tweet, so now it’s a blog post.  Recently on a mailing list that I am subscribed to, a friend and former coworker posted:

Went to download the Unity 5 updates, what I ended up with was:

UnityDownloadAssistant-5.0.1f1.dmg
UnityDownloadAssistant-5.0.1f1.exe

I can pretty much guarantee that at no time in the history of electronic software distribution has anyone ever said “gee, I really wish this application had its own custom downloader, because those guys at Microsoft / Apple / Mozilla / Google clearly don’t know what they are doing with those web browser things, and don’t even get me started about those curl / wget people…”. I feel slightly better now.

And I had unfortunately spent the morning wrestling with Adobe CC, so I chimed in with my response…

it’s obvious that

open ftp.adobe.com
cd /current
get AdobePremiere.dmg

would be way too complicated and brittle.  As you can see, it much simpler to just gooogle hopefully for some sort of download link, eventually after much searching download CreativeCloudInstaller.dmg, open the DMG and run the Installer, which does some sort of nonstandard menu bar entry, and then use that to…  Get  some sort of error about how “Creative Cloud libraries failed to install because…”  Except the error message is cut off and you can’t resize the window because it isn’t a window because it’s some weird menu bar entry drop down thing, which is great because you probably couldn’t even figure anything it if it was practical to read the whole message.  Then you just try installing Premiere from the CC manager app, and it hangs at 92% forever, so you reboot, and then it says it needs to “update” Premiere, and that hangs forever at 50%, and then you just try running Premiere out of blind desperate hope, and it seems to Just Work.  (But you assume if that update hung at 50% ever does finish and the installer does tell you to start using the app, it’ll instantly stop working.)  See, it Just Works.  None of that FTP garbage.  Simple.  And all the random Adobe garbage like PhotoShopServer only takes up a few hundred megabytes of RAM on the old laptop you only installed Premiere on because you wanted to test some XML writing code to see if Premiere would read it, which makes sense because Photoshop isn’t even installed.

Oh, and Premiere won’t load a bin in an XML file if that bin is empty, so it’s impossible to unit test your XML bin writing code separately from the XML Clip writing code.  Premiere just helpfully assumes that you put the bin into the XML file by some sort of accident.  It’s So SIMPLE!  Or if it isn’t Simple, the devs certainly are.  You know, like the kids on the short bus are Simple…  Hey, does anybody have a spare bullet I could borrow?  I’ve just noticed I don’t have one in my brain, and I’d like to try that as a solution.  I’ll only need it for like a second, and then you can dig it back out.

Uh, yeah, now that you mention it, I have have very recently run across a downloader installer downloader not unlike what you mention.

And since it’s Funny Friday,
I wonder if they have Kitty Adobe and Kitty Creative Cloud in the world of Kitty History:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0-Lvv1f5Qu4
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One thought on “Installer Downloader Installer Downloaders

  1. I have serious misgivings with application-specific downloaders. HTTP transfer is janky enough that trying to reinvent it with a front end (as opposed to, y’know, using a more robust mechanism like BitTorrent) is a fool’s errand, but that doesn’t stop every vendor from trying.

    Seriously, it should be as fast to download an episode of something from the iTunes store as it is to Torrent the same media — single-threaded bulk download is a very 70s idea, and HTTP is not well-suited to it as a protocol.

    Like

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