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Jet Service Packs

What do you do about updating Jet on installation? We have found some strange bugs in Jet that definitely go away when service packs are installed so would like to install the service packs with our installer
a) to make sure that users have got them so they don't suffer the problems (or to put it another way come across the bugs and blame our software)
b) for their convenience of not having to download them themselves but have them on our CD

unfortunately we have just discovered that the Jet 4 Service Pack 8 installers are language specific (as well as OS specific) so if someone with Chinese XP runs the English Jet 4 Service Pack installer they get an error message and it doesn't update it.
Obviously it is not viable to bundle all 150 service packs (30 language versions * 5 operating systems).

So what do you do about this?

Harvey Pengwyn
Tuesday, March 16, 2004

I'm not sure what to do about this. The way we use Jet, 4.0SP3 seems to be "good enough" (I haven't had a single report of data corruption in 2+ years selling CityDesk), so I'll keep my head in the sand.

One thing you could do -- we take this approach with FogBUGZ which has a more technical audience -- is check the version number that's installed, and if it's not the latest, send them over to and tell them to install themselves.

Joel Spolsky
Fog Creek Software
Tuesday, March 16, 2004

I'd favour letting people update stuff themselves just in case they run something that relies on a bug that a JET SP fixes. (Yes I have seen this happen)

If you upgrade JET for them, then "you broke the other application". Not a good thing.

If you point them at the upgrade page and leave the choice up to them then they broke the other application. If your app relies on an update that breaks something else then they get to choose which bit of software they'd rather have.

It might mean you lose a sale of course, but then when the loser works out that "you" broke their other app you'd probably do that anyway.

Robert Moir
Tuesday, March 16, 2004

I just installed a trial of SnapStream's Beyond TV3 and was very impressed with all the installer did:

* It sensed that I didn't have the latest nVidia driver, so it downloaded the nVidia install (from nVidia's site) and started it.
* After the reboot, it sensed that I didn't have MDAC installed, so it downloaded the MDAC installer and kicked that off.
* After yet another reboot, it sensed that I needed the latest DirectX, DLed that installer from MS and kicked it off.
* One more reboot and it DLed Windows Media Player 9 from MS and installed that.
* Then it installed itself.

Very impressive!  A much better experience (despite the reboots) than the FogBUGZ install which throws up a "I -um- think that maybe (not sure here) but maybe, you don't -um- have the MDAC Version x.y.  Figure out whether you do (that is of course after you figure out how to figure it out) and then if -um- you don't have it -um- go to this here URL (that unfortunately has moved since we wrote this) and then follow a couple links and track down the MDAC thingy and do all that, and then restart this -um- installation -um- ok?"

(Sorry to be harsh Joel, but writing a book on usability and an article on the lengths you went to to make the FogBUGZ installer so wonderful does kind of make criticisms like this fair game.  Especially when done with a smile. :-) )

Ken Klose
Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Agreed but it depends on the audience. My customers wouldn't know where to begin if I ever told one of my customers to download MDAC. But since Joel is selling a bug tracking system, his customers can probably figure it out.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

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