Thus spake “bsmith”:
I think this is a faulty distinction, because VASSAL is has more similarities
with this kind of program than you’re saying.
Because VASSAL is extensible, it falls somewhere between a self-contained
app and a language interpreter. For a self-contained app, you don’t expect
to have multiple versions installed because the app provides all of the
functionality itself and generally apps maintain backwards compatibility,
so you won’t need an older version of the app to read your older data.
Here, the user is dependend on only one set of delopers.
At the other end of the scale, you have language interpreters, where the
input could cause the app to do literally anything and generally the
interpreter developers and the developers of the program the user is using
are not the same. The interpreter developers don’t have any way to force
the program developers to keep their scripts up-to-date, so the user may
sometimes need more than one verson of the interpreter.
This is the situation we are in with respect to custom code in modules,
which tells me that multiple-version installations are going to be common.
I think there are two questions we need to resolve:
- What should the default install location be?
- How should the installer handle multiple versions?
In the case where a user intends to have only one version of VASSAL
installed and is upgrading, the default install location doesn’t
matter. In that case, the installer needs to uninstall previous
versions of VASSAL anyway, so the default install location should be
free whether we make it C:\Program Files\VASSAL or
C:\Program Files\VASSAL\VASSAL-3.1.0. I don’t see how the latter could
be confusing for users. The users who are potentially confused by this
are not the users who will be poking around in C:\Program Files
anyway. Most people will never be aware of what the installation
directory is named, so it cannot possibly confuse them.
(Further example: Acrobat Reader installs to
C:\Program Files\Acrobat\Acrobat x.y on Windows, even though you won’t
generally have multiple versions installed. I have never once heard
anyone say they were confused by this.)
In the case where a user intends to have more than one version of
VASSAL installed, having the default install location be
C:\Program Files\VASSAL\VASSAL-x.y.z is much better, because then
the user won’t have to provide any input in order to install the new
version somewhere safe.
So, regardless of what else the installer does w/r/t multiple
versions, the default installation path should contain the version
Proposals I’ve heard so far are:
(a) uninstall older versions on new install, always
(b) uninstall older versions, except when a box is checked not to
(c) prompt user whether to uninstall older versions
I don’t like (a) for reasons I’ve stated above. The problem I see with
(b) is that it would be really easy to forget to check the box and
accidentally uninstall versions you want to keep. If the user is
presented with a dialog by the installer which says “You have other
versions of VASSAL installed. Would you like to remove them before
installing VASSAL x.y.z?” and given the choices “Yes” and “No”, I
don’t see how we could be clearer than that. (Or, a page in the
installer with radio buttons, instead of a dialog.) This should not
lead to users having multiple versions installed who don’t want that,
and it won’t hinder users who do.
Does this sound like a reasonable solution to everyone?
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