What distribution is most convenient?

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Post: #1
Which distribution method is most convenient? Download a .zip, extract it, drag app to HD, delete archive. Download package, go through installer delete package. Download .dmg mount it, drag app to HD, eject.

EDIT:Let me rephrase the poll; which way is easiest for the end-user?(Not for me. BinkWorks always puts customers first, etc. etc. etc)

- Lincoln Green
http://www.binkworks.com/
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Post: #2
Either zip archive or disk image. I chose disk image because it's the most "Mac like". The other option is to zip a disk image so get both the benefits of a smaller file and a disk image.
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I've always been annoyed with disk images. They're counterintuitive. An imaginary disk that lives in a file? Whaaat? Compressed files make a lot more sense - a program turns compressed data into usable data.

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Post: #4
I totally agree. I find disk images annoying.

Packages are eee-vile.

I love zips. And I don't mind even in the slightest way to have to manually double-click on it to decompress it or remove the zip file after it has been decompressed. It gives me the option of putting it in a software archive folder if I wish. It leaves me in control. Zips rock!
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Zips can be problematic in terms of preserving permissions and other filesystem metadata. Disk images take care of this for you.

Never use a package unless it's absolutely 100% necessary.
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Post: #6
An app distributed as a zip file is like something distributed in a plastic bag. An app distributed as a disk image is like something distributed in a nice package.

The contents may be the same, but a disk image allows a better presentation and creates a better first impression of your app:
http://www.flickr.com/groups/dmg

The downside? Switchers. They'll keep running apps from inside disk images... :/
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ThemsAllTook Wrote:Zips can be problematic in terms of preserving permissions and other filesystem metadata...
Like what? Why would a permission need to be preserved? And like what other filesystem metadata? I'm totally clueless on this. Out of my ignorance I would say that if those are problems for you then perhaps you aren't making the game right -- it shouldn't be that tricky!

@PowerMacX: Those presentations do not appeal to me in the least. In fact, I've seen some distributions so ridiculously made up that trying to find the app is like playing "Where's Waldo?" Clearly, this is a matter of preference.
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AnotherJake Wrote:Like what? Why would a permission need to be preserved?

Execute permission on the main application executable is the important one, since without it, your application silently fails to launch. I've run into situations where this would get lost in the process of zipping and unzipping the application, though I never understood exactly what caused it.
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Hmm... I've never had that happen. Never heard of that happening either until now. Sounds like a bug.

If you remake the archive, does it get fixed?

For a broken archive, is it broken on all machines that attempt to execute it?
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Post: #10
Disk-images, for the reasons stated above, and additionally for the reason that you know a disk-image is not going to sh*t icons all over your desktop Rasp (I can't remember if BOMArchiver automatically puts multiple extracted icons into a folder, but not all unzippers are that nice...)

I'm very thankful you didn't include .sit as an option; probably the most annoying format I've ever encountered Mad

Mark Bishop
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Student and freelance OS X & iOS developer
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Argh; I hate .sit. It's not built into the system, I don't like keeping Stuffit on my HD, I don't like Stuffit, I don't like having to re-download Stuffit every time I lose it for some obscure reason; the list goes on…

- Lincoln Green
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Post: #12
So what's wrong with packages?

Zip is the easiest option for me, but Disk Image seems to get more votes, and it's not [i]that{/} much harder.

- Lincoln Green
http://www.binkworks.com/
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Post: #13
Packages make users suspect that you're installing more than just an app. Also, you have to launch a whole new app to use them. Zip files are intuitive, have a low unpacking cost in both brainpower and processing power, and don't have any security vulnerabilities that I'm aware of.

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Post: #14
Hairball183 Wrote:So what's wrong with packages?
There's no reason to run a whole installer for something that should just be dragged and dropped into place. That's more of a Windows behavior...
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Post: #15
I'm quite surprised by the preference for .dmg. I find them annoying, and I have seen people really struggle with the whole .dmg concept. Zip sucks also, but is preferable IMO.

The best possible experience for the end user would be that they download 'your app' it's a single icon that appears on the desktop (or downloads folder), they double click it and it runs. They can move it any where they like or not, and to delete it in it's entirety they move it to the trash.

I can't think of a way of actually achieving all of this technically. But the closer you can get to it the better.

Also, ReadMe files are no longer acceptable, and nor is a DMG or unzipped folder full of directories and other files. That's what the app bundle is for.

Chopper, iSight Screensavers, DuckDuckDuck: http://majicjungle.com
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