The future of Adobe installers?

The future of Adobe installers?

Summary: Adobe has long been known for its terrible installation process, both for its productivity applications such as Flash and for its professional creative products. However, with its Creative Cloud services and Adobe Labs beta, engineers say things will be better.

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Adobe has long been known for its terrible installation process, both for its productivity applications such as Flash and for its professional creative products. However, with its Creative Cloud services and Adobe Labs beta, engineers say things will be better.

A week ago, I spent about an hour with Kirk van Druten of LANsharks Consulting, a local Bay Area Mac consultant, listening to his latest rant on Adobe installers. The product in question was Flash.

I’m not surprised Adobe’s Flash is the target of the recent Mac malware. Their software update mechanism is idiotic. Really. The process is so convoluted, it explains why there is so much out-of-date Flash software out there, ripe and ready to be malware-ized.

A couple of weeks ago there was a hubbub over Flash updates when the latest update of Safari (Version 5.1.7) disabled older versions of Flash.

Adobe Labs this spring released a Mac beta of its Flash Player Background Updater, which has already been released for Windows for a while. In a blog post, Stephen Pohl, a scientist on the Adobe Flash Runtime team, asked customers for feedback on the release.

Installing the newer, better beta installer, however, is a bit of the old process. It requires users to download the software and leave the system connected to the web for at least a hour. And the actual software that needs to be installed is the full Adobe Flash Player 11.3 beta 3 package — that page is for all supporting operating systems, which might be a confusing for people expecting a Mac installer. The only mention of the background updating feature (and the Mac itself) is down towards the bottom of the page.

Flash Player background updates (Mac) — New versions of the runtimes can now be delivered more effectively to the end user with this enhanced updating mechanism (Background update is only available in the release versions of Flash Player).

However, introduced this month is another vision for Adobe installations. In a blog post, Adobe blogger John Nack says that managing the new Creative Cloud service updating process is easy:

Download & install the App Manager (less than 1MB), then log in with your Adobe ID. Click the links for the apps you want to install. “There’s no step 3!”

Right–no typing/copying/pasting serials (and potentially losing them later), no running installer after installer.

There's also a video of the process in the post.

Nice.

Topic: Software Development

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5 comments
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  • wow

    exciting
    Sasori7
  • an installation process which uses questionable licensed software.

    "Adobe has long been known for its terrible installation process"

    One of the issues was with a questionable technology they license for the installer. It's a technology that made highly extravagant claims, such as compressing already compressed files, which any computer science major will tell you is impossible (unless the file was poorly compressed to begin with).

    I forget the name of it by now (I just use Ninite to update Adobe stuff anymore), but such a thing reeked of "we just hired some self-taught guy with an ego problem and no knowledge of the current state of computer science/engineering."

    Not that I have anything against self-taught people - I'm mostly self taught myself, although I did go the extra mile to actually get the degree.

    But it still reeked of shoddy engineering, especially in the early days.

    Today it's a lot better, and I'm glad to see that they did finally get an actual computer scientist on the project, and hopefully it will continue to improve.

    Not that it's going to matter as much in the future, as I don't see Flash as being an important technology in the future.
    CobraA1
    • The compressing compressed installer stuff

      Sometimes it makes sense and some doesn't. AFAIK, they actually shipped the installer to a 3rd party company for analysing and recompressing seperately meaning everytime they undated the installation binary they will have to reship the installer to that company and recompress again.

      Yes, they do reinventing the wheel there and that's why you can't "just download the latest adobe reader" but you need to download the major version first (which could have bugs) and then download the delta update.

      The most annoying aspect of adobe installer is they doesn't work well with web proxy (mine is TMG for example) and has a very lousy Networking installer policy and required apply for BS "Enterprise distribution" License. I have a choice of either fight with the proxy or being spam and that is utterly annoying.
      Samic
  • Really, Adobe?

    Why not just use App-V?
    Joe_Raby
  • davidlfoster@mac.com

    How could they get any worse?
    davidlfoster