Framework Dependency & Software Deployment Issues

16 Oct

I love Microsoft.  Simply because a big part of my career relies on their products and they have products that make my job a little bit easier. But sometimes they piss me off. There, I said it.

When are we ever going to catch a breath? I mean with the speed they are releasing stuff, it’s hard to keep up. And it’s hard to stick to one product, because I agree that the new products they release make it easier to write software, but you need time to learn and get comfortable with the new versions, and by the time you are comfortable and ready to do the magic, KA-BOOM!! There is a newer version 4.x

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My problem with this issue specifically is that I think MS if forgetting those of us in the growing market. I mean let’s take the .Net framework for example. Vista ships with .Net Framework 3. With my country, Tanzania as an example, very few people/companies are using Windows Vista. Most of the users there are still on windows 2000 with some of them using windows XP.

The Internet Speed Problem.

The internet here in Africa is still an issue. The speeds are very low and very few can afford speeds of up to 1.0 Gbps. Which cost a fortune by the way. I’d say 90 percent are in the ranges or 400 – 1024 KBps. So you’ll understand when I say it’s a pain for someone to download a 20MB file. So when I write an application based on the .Net Framework 2.0, I’d have to download the runtime setup file, and find some means of getting that to the client and installing it on every machine that’s going to use the application, before I install my 2MB application. Talk about pain.

Deployment Issues.

Now I’d like to say that the .Net Framework 3.5 makes it real easy to write data access or all kinds of applications, with the release of LINQ and other stuff in this version. Writing applications has been simplified a lot, and I love this framework and would love to write all my applications using this version. But now I am still forced to use the old framework 2.0 because of the smaller size of the runtime installer.

The problem is this. The .Net framework 3.5 runtime installer is 200MB. That is TWO HUNDRED megabytes. If I write and application based on the framework, say my application is 5MB. I’ll have to download, and install the 200 MB runtime version on every client machine that’s going to use my 5MB application.

Say I wanted to send my application installer by email to a client who’s like in another country. The prerequisite in order for the application to run on the user machine will be the 200MB .Net Farmework runtime. With a internet speed of 250Kbps, do you know how long it’s going to take to download the installer? 2 years that’s how long it’s going to take.

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For a user, or anyone really, this doesn’t make sense. Why didn’t MS create a smaller runtime version which could be like 30 MB or something in that range, that can be downloaded in a day or two with our slow 20Kbps connections??

Scott Hanselman has a website here which is supposed to read your machine and advise you on the smallest framework to download or something like that.  If you do not have any version of the framework on your machine though, it’s still 200MB for you to download.

We can’t resist innovation and forward movement in terms of software development and tools that make the process a little less painful. What we are asking is for the big software vendors to think about us and make it a little easier for us to distribute the software as well. Otherwise it’ll be just hard to adopt to the new changes if they make it even harder for us to distribute our work.

One Response to “Framework Dependency & Software Deployment Issues”

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