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Everybody could use a good Burn

Rick Brewster of the Paint.NET team blogged about the pain of getting Paint.NET installed on a system without the .NET Framework. It’s fair to say that for a system running Windows XP without optional updates, installing the latest and greatest Framework is an annoying exercise. Part of the problem (blame) falls on the shoulders of the Framework folks: The Framework installer should install MSI 3.1 for users; asking them to go spelunking on the Microsoft Download Center for the MSI 3.1 redistributable, then run it and reboot, is rude at best.

Rick’s proposed solution for the next release of Paint.NET is OK, though it has the downside of showing several very different UI experiences:

  • A “confirmation” dialog that tells users that prerequisites will be installed.
  • The OS-component update dialog (for MSI 3.1) that most users no longer see, because it’s hidden behind Windows Update.
  • The .NET Framework Client Profile bootstrapper UI, which is slightly different than the OS-component update dialog.
  • The Paint.NET installer configuration UI, which is slightly different than the others.
  • The Paint.NET installer UI itself, which uses MSI basic UI.
  • If needed, a “reboot needed” dialog, which uses slightly different UI.

A key scenario for Burn is to enable this scenario (with the Client Profile or “normal” .NET Framework installation). Part of being successful with that scenario is to have an integrated experience, which means having a consistent user interface and one progress bar.

We’re not there yet, but know that we’re working hard to solve this problem.