In software, there are certain things which make you just want to shout “WHY!!!???” at the developer/product manager/QA tester. Sometimes, these are small things, like a particular insistence on using a TRUE/FALSE enum instead of a boolean. Or they’re much bigger things, like why Adobe Premiere CS4 doesn’t give you a way of burning a timecode into an render output (seriously, a simple checkbox is all that’s needed). One of the things that’s always bugged me is the lack of a decent application update library in the .NET framework.
Sure, there’s ClickOnce, but if you want to do anything slightly complex with it, it’s useless. There’s also Application Updater Block, but it’s heavy, an all-or-nothing solution with documentation that says “This content is outdated and is no longer being maintained”. Hmmm.
I wouldn’t describe myself as a .NET expert, but this seems to be a hole that needs to be filled. I was therefore quite pleased to stumble across NAppUpdate. I’ve started to do some testing and contributing some code to it, and really hope it turns into a functional, easy-to-use .NET application updater library. It turns out, the answer to the question ‘How do I keep an application up to date?’ is very far from trivial (thanks, Microsoft, for non- consistent permissions and UAC), so the challenge will be to create something that (a) works and (b) makes it look easy.
As it gets a bit more mature, I’m going to integrate it into Feedling as a proper test. Feedling’s picking up one or two users now, so it’d be good to try it on an actual userbase.
Of course, none of this would be necessary if Windows had a sensible application packaging system, like apt. What’s even crazier is that they’ve already got a sensible application packaging / updating system, in Windows Update. You just can’t use it.