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Best way to deal with the .NET problem

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I'm developing a .NET desktop application for a company.

A large portion of its customers still use XP. Some of them don't care for updates, so some of them don't have .NET installed. How do I deal with that?
The possible solutions that I came up with:

- Put the .NET installer in the application installer and install it automatically (Boss will NOT be happy when he sees that a 2mb application has 40mb setup)
- Use some sort of linker to just embed a portion of .NET in the app?? (I've only heard of this approach, I have no idea what software to use and if it's really possible)
- Make a custom installer that dynamically downloads and installs .NET uppon startup. (It is a common scenario that the user does NOT have a permanent access to internet, so if he tries to install offline, I'm screwed)
- Make a C++ based web-installer that dynamically checks for .NET, installs it, and then runs the appropriate application setup from the web. (same problem with the lack of internet access. Also, I don't know how to make a standard Windows application in C++)

Any other idea is very welcome!
Edited by ronnin426850 - 3/1/13 at 12:06am
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post #2 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by ronnin426850 View Post

I'm developing a .NET desktop application for a company.

A large portion of its customers still use XP. Some of them don't care for updates, so some of them don't have .NET installed. How do I deal with that?
The possible solutions that I came up with:

- Put the .NET installer in the application installer and install it automatically (Boss will NOT be happy when he sees that a 2mb application has 40mb setup)
- Use some sort of linker to just embed a portion of .NET in the app?? (I've only heard of this approach, I have no idea what software to use and if it's really possible)
- Make a custom installer that dynamically downloads and installs .NET uppon startup. (It is a common scenario that the user does NOT have a permanent access to internet, so if he tries to install offline, I'm screwed)
- Make a C++ based web-installer that dynamically checks for .NET, installs it, and then runs the appropriate application setup from the web. (same problem with the lack of internet access. Also, I don't know how to make a standard Windows application in C++)

Any other idea is very welcome!
ClickOnce, and dev for .NET 4.0.

ClickOnce is the greatest deployment technology I've ever worked with.

The offline is a problem for the first setup, but not afterwards, if you specify it can be run offline.
post #3 of 11
I've always used InstallShield. It can download on demand ANY component you might need, and .NET just happens to be one of those smile.gif
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post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 3930K View Post

ClickOnce, and dev for .NET 4.0.

ClickOnce is the greatest deployment technology I've ever worked with.

The offline is a problem for the first setup, but not afterwards, if you specify it can be run offline.

AFAIK ClickOnce requires you to have Some .NET installed to be a viable solution. This:
Quote:
Prior to .NET Framework 3.5 with Service Pack 1, ClickOnce worked only with Internet Explorer
is unacceptable for my scenario. Also this:
Quote:
they are installed per-user, not per-machine. No administrator privileges are required to install one of these applications.
will not be appreciated either smile.gif

Quote:
Originally Posted by tompsonn View Post

I've always used InstallShield. It can download on demand ANY component you might need, and .NET just happens to be one of those smile.gif

But that would make the installer terribly connection-dependant. I'm trying to make my own web-installer right now, but that's not a perfect solution either, boss will probably want an "offline" install, and would want it to be less than 5Mb.. Any way at all to do that?
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post #5 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by ronnin426850 View Post

But that would make the installer terribly connection-dependant. I'm trying to make my own web-installer right now, but that's not a perfect solution either, boss will probably want an "offline" install, and would want it to be less than 5Mb.. Any way at all to do that?

No. There's no way you can do an offline installer less than 5MB, especially if you need to include the .NET Framework in it. Your boss is nuts, and his requirements are stupidly absurd.

I guess one way to do it is to deploy the requirements on a network file server. At least then you can do an installation package that is small, but doesn't need to download over the Internet.

You could probably write against the .NET Compact Framework which would make the distributable smaller, but even the CF is 30-40MB.

If the application is for a company, have the network administrator deploy the .NET Framework to all machines via Group Policy (please tell me they're on a domain network....)

Otherwise, here's what I would do:
  1. Write the application using the .NET Framework as you are currently doing. Stop caring about the requirements being installed on each PC.
  2. Tell your boss and the network administrator that is NOT your problem if the machines don't have the requirements. Either:
    • i. Package the .NET Framework offline
    • ii. If boss doesn't like this, get the network administrator to ensure your requirements are installed on each PC.
    • iii. Let your boss know that it is hard to solve this issue if he's going to be stubborn and pedantic about requirements.
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post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tompsonn View Post

No. There's no way you can do an offline installer less than 5MB, especially if you need to include the .NET Framework in it. Your boss is nuts, and his requirements are stupidly absurd.

I guess one way to do it is to deploy the requirements on a network file server. At least then you can do an installation package that is small, but doesn't need to download over the Internet.

You could probably write against the .NET Compact Framework which would make the distributable smaller, but even the CF is 30-40MB.

If the application is for a company, have the network administrator deploy the .NET Framework to all machines via Group Policy (please tell me they're on a domain network....)

Otherwise, here's what I would do:
  1. Write the application using the .NET Framework as you are currently doing. Stop caring about the requirements being installed on each PC.
  2. Tell your boss and the network administrator that is NOT your problem if the machines don't have the requirements. Either:
    • i. Package the .NET Framework offline
    • ii. If boss doesn't like this, get the network administrator to ensure your requirements are installed on each PC.
    • iii. Let your boss know that it is hard to solve this issue if he's going to be stubborn and pedantic about requirements.

Oh you're right, but the app is not to be used by the company itself, but by its customers, so the local network thing is off..

And their current generation of software is written in Delphi, so it is .NET independant and less than 5mb in size. Of course, it is terribly limited in extendability, but he wouldn't even give me a chance to explain that if I tell him the alternative is either 50 megs or doesn't work on XP out of the box..

I'm on a tough spot biggrin.gif

My current idea is to upload the .net 3.0 web-install (2.5mb) to a web-server, then make a Win32 C++ app (web-installer also) that downloads it and launches it with the \q \norestart attributes for silent install, while copying the actual application files. And that would generally solve the issue, except the offline-setup would still have to either be 50 megs or fail on XP..
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post #7 of 11
Quote:
- Put the .NET installer in the application installer and install it automatically
This is probably the best solution.
Quote:
Boss will NOT be happy when he sees that a 2mb application has 40mb setup
Your Boss is double stupid. First he accepts application written in .NET. Then he have no understanding of requirements and does not understand that embedding framework in installation package is best solution.
Quote:
Use some sort of linker to just embed a portion of .NET in the app?? (I've only heard of this approach, I have no idea what software to use and if it's really possible)
It is possible and my friend did it but result is crap. The software is written in C#
Quote:
Make a custom installer that dynamically downloads and installs .NET uppon startup
It is dangerous approach and bad design. The downloaded installer must be verified against good known SHA-256 checksum to prevent installation of tampered binary. Also what to do if the network is not available, URL or checksum changes?
Quote:
I don't know how to make a standard Windows application in C++
This might be the cause of all problem. Nothing can beat software written in pure C and ASM. Don't take it personally, just learn new language smile.gif
     
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post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 
Oh, I see, "just" learn an entire new platform and develop a professional application with it smile.gif How didn't I know.. biggrin.gif
Quote:
Originally Posted by partyboy75 View Post

It is possible and my friend did it but result is crap. The software is written in C#

How?
Edited by ronnin426850 - 3/3/13 at 3:01am
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post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by partyboy75 View Post

Quote:
- Put the .NET installer in the application installer and install it automatically
This is probably the best solution.
Quote:
Boss will NOT be happy when he sees that a 2mb application has 40mb setup
Your Boss is double stupid. First he accepts application written in .NET. Then he have no understanding of requirements and does not understand that embedding framework in installation package is best solution.
Quote:
Use some sort of linker to just embed a portion of .NET in the app?? (I've only heard of this approach, I have no idea what software to use and if it's really possible)
It is possible and my friend did it but result is crap. The software is written in C#
Quote:
Make a custom installer that dynamically downloads and installs .NET uppon startup
It is dangerous approach and bad design. The downloaded installer must be verified against good known SHA-256 checksum to prevent installation of tampered binary. Also what to do if the network is not available, URL or checksum changes?
Quote:
I don't know how to make a standard Windows application in C++
This might be the cause of all problem. Nothing can beat software written in pure C and ASM. Don't take it personally, just learn new language smile.gif
No, software written in binary beats it. For performance. Else higher level abstractions are USUALLY better (one exception = new LanguageException("Java")) wink.gif
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
Anyway, another language and platform are out of the question, since boss specifically requested that I demonstrate .NET. The bad thing is that there used to be some guy before me who didn't know the first thing about C#, ended up writing tons of crapware on .NET and now everybody thinks it's .NET's fault. So I don't think they will have high tolerance for requirements they're not used to.
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My Rig
(14 items)
 
Ex-wife's Rig
(15 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Core i5 4460 AsRock H81M-DG4 Sapphire Rx470 Platinum KVR 1600 16Gb 
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingOS
2x Seagate 3Tb Samsung 850 EVO 120 Scythe Ninja 3 Rev.B Windows 10 Pro 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Fujitsu Siemens A17-2A Logitech K280e SuperFlower SF-550K12XP Thermaltake Versa H25 
MouseAudio
Logitech G402 Sony MDR XD150 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Athlon 750K 4.0Ghz AsRock FM2A75 Pro4+ Sapphire R9 270X Dual-X Kingston 2x4Gb 1600 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
Samsung 850 EVO 120  Western Digital 320Gb LiteON DVD-RW CoolerMaster Hyper Z600 
OSMonitorKeyboardPower
Windows 7 Pro x64 Toshiba 32" FullHD TV Logitech FSP Hexa 550 
CaseMouse
DeLUX Logitech 
  hide details  
Reply
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