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Johngrey

[.net] .NET framework normal now?

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I know there are always exceptions, but generally, in windows-based userbase, does everyone now assume that .NET framework is "normal"? Or is it a little obscured like the early days DirectX? Is it now OK to demand/expect it, much like directx runtime? Is there still a strong opposition to having the framework?

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Considering the rumours flying around of the .NET Framework being shipped out-of-the-box with Vista, I can see it becoming very mainstream in the near future. Just yesterday I was at a job interview asking about migrating their old systems to the .NET Framework...

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well, at our company, we got the framework autodownloaded into WSUS and sent it to all the client-computers.. and we have quite some applications right now that require the frameworks. even 2.0 is required by one major software we use.

but for home-end, i have no clue if it gets auto-downloaded and installed yet.. i think no.

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If your software ships on a CD (and requires at least something like Win 98 SE) it is perfectly fine to depend on it and ship the runtime.

If your software is a small download, then it is still not acceptable to many to require it, as that is a seperate 20+ MB downloadable install. In the days when DirectX was becoming required it had to be included on the CD and was about 6MB in size (now it is bigger, and download pipes are larger).

Do not depend on the runtime if you do not ship the runtime is my basic policy for this year. Next year that will probably change.

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I wouldn't depend on it for another year to a year and a half.

Here is some more criteria to help you.

If the hardware specs for your application are fairly modern then you can probably depend on a fairly modern operating system running on that hardware and .net is likely included.

If the previous generation of OS came with your dependency you might be able to depend on it, but it could be taken out (or disabled by default) in the next version of the OS.

Also, please show a message during the install of your application informing the user of any missing dependencies, and also if possible show a link to download and install the dependency. Better yet this should link to a page that you control so that you can provide correct redirection if that page should change locations.

Please be sure to check for a version range for your dependency.

Keep in mind the following details when you are checking the version of dependencies.
The .net framework installs in a side by side fasion. This means that more than one version of the framework can be installed and running at the same time.

version 1.0 ... 1.9
version 2.0 ... 2.9
and so forth.

These are different dependencies. Version 1 framework based assemblies might not necessarily run on version 2 framework. In my experiene MS tries to make it work, but keep in mind that they really don't have to, and usually (because it is difficult) fail at this task anyway.

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If I wasn't clear ... when I said "depend on" - I didn't mean assume to exist without checking.

It is unaceptable to expect anything at all that has not been in every version of the OS which your program runs on, unless your installer installs it.

For instance, no OTC game expects DirectX to be installed, not even version 6. The fact that they ask if you want to install it before checking for it is stupid, but the proper behavior would be "look for dependency, if not found either offer to install it, or show user a message explaining why they cannot install your program".

No development tool, even a VS plugin would "expect" VS to be isntalled. They would check for it in their installer.

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Quote:
Original post by Xai
No development tool, even a VS plugin would "expect" VS to be isntalled. They would check for it in their installer.

Not really true... (And I'm not just talking about my own project).

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Thank you all for all the feedback. All very helpful!

And yes, I know checking if the client has it installed is sensible at any rate. I just wasn't sure how the perception of the userbase has changed in the past year or so (regarding the framework).

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Quote:
Original post by Arild Fines
Quote:
Original post by Xai
No development tool, even a VS plugin would "expect" VS to be isntalled. They would check for it in their installer.

Not really true... (And I'm not just talking about my own project).


Fair enough ... but do you really just blow up at install time if the right VS tool isn't installed? Or do you look for it and display a message if it's missing?

What about different versions of VS?

Although I'm not trying to complain, because I'm all for getting the meat of a program / tool implemented long before we worry about silly things like unexpected situations.

But then again your tool is a free download. I definately assume if you we're selling it (and therefore needed to deal with support), you'd spend the extra hours to avoid the hundred idiots calling you in the middle of the night ... them: "your tool's broken, it won't install - crashes with an IO error writing to $%^$" ... your response: "check that you are logged in as a user with admin rights to the program files directory, and that the path specified is where you have visual studio installed" ... them: "No, visual studio is not installed, that's what I'm trying to tell you, it won't install, your program is broken"

... 5 minutes later you realize they are the last programmer on earth who literally didn't know what VS was and thought it was part of your product ... (they've been doing COBOL since 1982).

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