Why we ditched Click-once installer and went with our own

As the title says, we have a brand new installer out for Nemo Documents. The aim of the new installer is to fix all the problems with our old click-once based installer. Saying goodbye to click-once also means saying goodbye to the update mechanism that has served us very well. But more on the updater later, first let me outline why we decided to roll our own installer.

For Nemo Documents we have 4 versions: 32 bit .NET 3.5 and .NET 4, 64 bit .NET 3.5 and .NET 4. This led us to four different installers, which is a problem with mirror sites, and is a problem when it is hard to give visitors the right version. We had some javascript code that would serve the right version based on their operating system and .NET version, but it only worked for Internet Explorer. And looking at google analytics, they only amount to 20% of our total users.

Secondly WPF applications running from a network share, will simply fail to startup with no proper error message. While this problem only hit a minority of our users, it is still show-stopper as there was no way to choose where to install the program.

Lastly we really wanted to encourage our users to install the .NET 4 version, because of the much improved image and font rendering. Something that also was very hard before.

With many thousand downloads our old installer has served us well and it did have some nice properties, that we have tried to keep in our new installer. The biggest is that installing the program should be as painless as possible and that the program should be ready to use as soon as possible. There are a few more clicks in the new installer, mostly due to improvements that simply wasn’t available in the old versions, but overall I think we succeded. In case anyone is wondering, the installer was done using inno setup.

For the update we have settled on wyUpdate. wyUpdater is inspired by the updater in Chrome and the good news is that updating will now consume less bandwidth while still being as painless as the old updater.

We’ll be updating the existing users over from click-once to the new updater over the next couple of days. It will all be automatic so you don’t need to uninstall your current version to get the new version.

As always we are eager to hear your feedback on the new installer. Especially of course if it is not working or ways it could be improved, but in general any feedback is very welcome 🙂

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7 Responses to Why we ditched Click-once installer and went with our own

  1. Anders Rune Jensen says:

    Old click-once installed versions have now been updated.

  2. Pingback: Usage statistics | Nemo Documents blog

  3. Itaz says:

    Its neat that you do not need to uninstall the current version to proceed with the latest.

  4. Annie says:

    Hi guys, I’m really curious on how you developed your own installer. We are using click-once deployment too and of course we’re having some little difficulties… (starting with the strange folder path used from click-once!). Good luck with the new version! Bye!

    • Anders Rune Jensen says:

      Hi Annie

      Yeah click once works ok for a while. But at some point you just need more freedom. Inno setup has served us really well. I can only recommend it to other people.

  5. tim says:

    We are also interested in moving on from ClickOnce. Can you advise how you accomplished the change?

    • Anders Rune Jensen says:

      Hello Tim

      We basically moved the old click-once installs over so they would be updated using wyUpdate, and then we wrote the installer in inno setup. I was quite painless actually. The clients didn’t have to do anything. Is there something more specific you are thinking about?