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CobraA1

Of dll's and start menus

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Of all the things that programmers do, probably the least attention is paid to installation. I have a few pet problems I''d like to draw your attention to: 1. DLL structure. Enverything is placed in the same windows/system directory, and rarely deleted when it is no longer used (at least in Win 95). When I tell a program to install, it always shoves stuff in the Windows directory, even if it is the only program in the world that uses it. I find that moving shareware .dll''s to the same directory as the program does not break it, Windows is smart enough to look in the program''s own directory. At least Netscape 6 preview got that much right. Can''t programmers at least put some directory structure in it, so I know what .dll belongs to what program? 2. Microsoft "common files" syndrome. Similar to #1, but with some differences: At least there is some structure. This is where a program puts common files on "C" drive in a "common files" directory without the user''s knowledge. To further add to the problem, the user cannot change the location of this directory without major digging through the registry. I would really like an option (in the control panel, perhaps?) to change the location of this directory. Same with the windows/temp, I can change the DOS temp directories with a couple of lines in my autoexe.bat, do any registry experts know how to do this in Windows? 3. "Programs" syndrome (Start menu). Every program that I''ve installed always shoves itself here! And on installation, you can change the name of the group, but can never put it somewhere else! Why is a tree of the start menu never shown on the installation program, to allow the user to place their shortcuts wherever they want in the start menu? 4. Related to #3: Why can''t games be placed in "games," and other programs grouped into something a little more intuitive? Why is "accessories" placed under "programs," instead of in the root level of the start menu? why do users have to be forced to go through the catch-all "programs" every time? Even the "custom" or "advanced" setup options never have these options in installations!

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You should send those suggestions to the guys that make "InstallShield", really.
I think the basic reason is that most windows users wouldn''t even know what a DLL is, think the "registry" is something out of an evil empire, and click "ok" no matter what the message is.

I personally reorganise my start menu in a big way (and that''s not that easy under Windows NT with all those different profiles that never quite do what you want ), and when i make my own installshields, I never put any DLLs in the system32 directory - that would be, well, unpleasant.


#pragma DWIM // Do What I Mean!
~ Mad Keith ~
**I use Software Mode**

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The "programmers" usually can''t control the stuff you''re talking about. You need to talk to the "producers" or the "project managers".

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You mean the Registry ISN''T out of an evil empire?

I guess you''re right, your average user doen''t want to mess with that stuff. But when I select "advanced" or "custom" setup, I usually expect to see something with a little more control. Yeah, organizing dll''s and common files isn''t something that users shouldn''t have to worry about, but it''s still a mess. Users shouldn''t have to worry about old programs conflicting with newer ones, and shouldn''t have to wonder why their programs made their C drive bigger when they told them to go on the D drive.

Another question - Why does everybody use InstallShield? Does it come with VC++? How would I use it with my own program?

Anybody here use Install Maker by Clickteam?

Anybody here make their own installation programs?

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Don''t know why everyone uses installshield, it''s just that my company has a license for it so we use it. It''s not too bad, lots of registry options, but not much to do with organising the start menu. Though I haven''t looked at it THAT well


#pragma DWIM // Do What I Mean!
~ Mad Keith ~
**I use Software Mode**

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About the "Programs" syndrome (annoyance #3):
You _can_ change the location of the program group if the install program asks for a name of the program group! Just use a path-like name:
Games\Messiah will put the games'' icons in the Messiah subgroup of Games (which will be created if it doesn''t exist).

Erik

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