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Posts in the ‘wyUpdate’ tag

Windows 7 will be available for download to MSDN and Technet subscriber in less than 2 weeks. I thought Id introduce a few controls to make Windows 7 development easier for C# and .NET programmers. The controls will be written for .NET 2.0 & Windows Forms, but will obviously be compatible with .NET 2.0, 3.0, 3.5 and the upcoming 4.0.

The first control I want to give you is a way to use the new progress bar in your apps taskbar icon. This is what the new taskbar progress bar looks like when Internet Explorer downloads a file:

Of course, what good is integrating this shiny new behavior into your apps if isnt backward compatible with Windows 2000, XP and Vista? None at all. And since this taskbar behavior is included in wyUpdate & wyBuild 2.2+, backwards compatibility is a must. Heres our Windows 7 Progress Bar running on Windows 2000 Windows 7:

Dont use the Taskbar Progress Bar

Like any new shiny piece of technology everyone wants to add it to their program. The flip side is that most of the times you shouldnt use it. Let me quote the Windows UX guide directly:

Is the progress feedback useful and relevant while using other programs? That is, are users likely to monitor the progress while using other programs, and change their behavior as a result? Such useful and relevant status is usually displayed using a modeless progress dialog box or a dedicated progress page, but not with a busy pointer, activity indicator, or progress bar on a status bar. If the status isn't useful when using other programs, just display the progress feedback directly in the program itself.



In the incorrect examples, the taskbar button progress bars aren't very useful.

Is the task continuous? If the task never completes, there's no need to show its progress. Examples of continuous tasks include antivirus scans and file indexing.


In this example, a continuous task doesn't need to show progress.

By the way, the Windows User Experience Interaction Guidelines is a must read for all Windows Developers. Its a shit name (why not Windows Usability Guide?), but it has quite a few good tips. All I can ask is that you skim it once.

How we use the Taskbar progress bar in wyUpdate & wyBuild

Weve integrated the Windows 7 Taskbar progress bar in both wyBuild & wyUpdate. Heres wyBuild creating updates for Nero Burning ROM:

Heres wyUpdate installing an update:

Further Reading

Get Windows 7 Progress Bar Now

The latest version of the Windows 7 Progress Bar C# source code, example projects in VB.NET and C#, and binaries are available on the open source component page.

If you have any questions, or find any bugs you can report them in the comments or in the wyDay forum.

Both wyBuild and wyUpdate 2.2 are now out. They are both fully compatible with Windows 98, 2000, XP, Vista, and now Windows 7.

It has to be our most frequently asked question: "When will you guys add automatic updating ability to wyUpdate?"

Our answer: soon Now!. As of v2.5 wyBuild ships with a free AutomaticUpdater control.

Checking vs. Updating

First I need to clarify some confusion. Theres a difference between automatic checking and automatic updating. Its an important difference.

Automatic checking simply checks for a new version and tells your application if there's an update. You can do anything you want with that information. Usually, people just opt to distract their users and launch the updater.

Automatic updating is the full shebang. There isnt an off-the-shelf updater in existence that offers true automatic updating. For an updater to be truly automatic it has to handle everything from checking for updates (the easy part), to quickly and quietly installing the updates (the hard part).

Lies, Damn Lies, and Automatic Updating

Most off-the-shelf updaters tout their ability to do automatic updates. Its a lie. Ive personally tried all of our competitors products and the best thats offered is automatic checking with the option of launching the updater to distract the user and, oh yeah, update their product.

Dont believe me try them yourself. A quick google search will give you a list of 20 of our competitors. I wont bad mouth them by name.

Whats currently in wyUpdate?

As of wyUpdate 2.1 neither automatic checking nor automatic updating is included. The reason we dont include even the bare minimum (automatic checking) is that it introduces a huge usability problem that you, the programmer, have to solve.

Namely, what do you do once the automatic checking reports back that theres a new version? The easy answer the wrong answer is you show your users wyUpdate and force them to update immediately.

This is wrong for 2 important reasons.

  1. It will distract your user. Theyre using your program for a reason. If its a business app, they have work to get done. If its a consumer app like a browser, they have Facebook to visit.
  2. It will piss off your user. They will soon associate your program as the one that keeps bugging them about stuff they dont care about.

If you bug your users enough theyll start looking at your competitors products longingly. Dont push them to the edge.

You should care about updates. Your users almost never will.

Thats not completely true. Your users dont care about updates, they just want a better experience. They care about bug fixes. They care about the new great feature. But they dont want to play janitor and keep their programs in tip-top condition. Its just too much of a hassle.

Frankly, youll be lucky if 1% of your paying users actively search your website for the latest installer. Its your job to deliver it directly to your users.

Or, to put it another way, if you run a supermarket your customers will expect clean floors and fresh food on the shelves. They dont want to clean the floors or stock the shelves. They dont even want to see someone doing it. But they expect it done. If its not done, theyll only think about it in retrospect:

Hey, remember that grimy store with moldy bread? Yeah, thank God we finally have a Wal-Mart!

How will wyUpdate 2.5 solve this problem?

How do you keep your users up-to-date without bothering them? Thats our problem.

In reality its several hundred mini-problems: how do you install an update quickly and quietly when the users in a rush?, what happens if the user shuts down the computer mid update?, what if the user isnt an administrator?, what about Vista UAC?, should the updater be run as a service or a process?, how often should the updater discreetly check for updates?, what happens if the user manually checks for updates when the automatic updating is currently in progress?, what if the files are read-only?, etc, etc, etc.

Weve solved these mini-problems in wyUpdate 2.5. Were currently integrating and testing our solution for the thousands of edge cases.

Besides all of the behind-the-scene changes were making to wyUpdate, were also creating a new open-source component that you can include with your .NET application. It will handle all of the complexity that goes into integrating auto-update directly into your program.

Here are a few screenshots to show what we have in store:

Download the wyUpdate C# source

You can watch our progress as we add automatic updating ability to wyUpdate by checking out the sources from our subversion repository:

svn checkout http://wyupdate.googlecode.com/svn/trunk/ wyupdate-read-only

Or you can wait until its finished and read our full tutorial and download the full source zip file. The tutorial will be extra technical and will feature loads of C# code.