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Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Why Bother?

You know those wonderfully helpful time estimates software tries to formulate on behalf of the impatient user?   Rarely, in my experience, is the time estimate accurate and usually it is so far off it is comical.  Case in point today: while uninstalling Xceed Components, the installer first reported that the time remaining was 9 seconds, but it stayed at 9 seconds for at least 20 minutes.  The dialog disappeared, to be replaced by another dialog... Ah, only 94 minutes to go!  A few minutes later (no more than 3) yet another estimate is reported back:  14 minutes!  Well, that is better than 94 minutes, but in no way does this represent how much time it is ACTUALLY going to take.

Just give it up.  Don't report time estimates.  Just let me know that the operation is ongoing and give me a progress bar.  Get back to the work of actually installing or removing or whatever it is you are designed to do.





Anonymous said...

We've tried a couple of different Installer technologies... Neither of the past two have had decent progress reporting. On the other hand, you can't get rid of it either... The uninstall app is standard...

Colby Africa said...

Yeah, that is a problem. Microsoft had the same issue, and took a totally different approach in Visual Studio. Here is an interesting anecdote about how the Visual Studio team handled progress in the VS 2002/2003 releases:

zack said...

So, A guy walks into an apple store...

But seriously, they really got application installation done right. Drag. Drop. Done. Your progress bar is the time it's going to take to extract the program files from the disk image and that's pretty accurately measured.

To hell with the registry.

Of course if you're dealing with installation from source that's a different painful story...


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