|An open letter to developers of autoupdating apps.
||[Apr. 9th, 2008|04:30 pm]
Dear person who writes software with an autoupdater,
I live in a country where the internet is very slow and very expensive. I really like your application, and I would love to be running the latest, greatest version of it, but please let me decide when to update. You have no idea whether I am on free wireless at a coffee shop, the office's ADSL connection or my cellphone's GPRS.
Appropriate behaviour is to tell me that an update is available and then make a discreet "yes, I would like to update now" button available. This notification should not block what I am doing. This notification should not require immediate attention. There are two unforgivable sins in the autoupdate world:
1. Downloading tens or hundreds of megabytes without permission.
2. Requiring an unconditional restart.
The first is obvious once you consider that not everyone using your software lives in a first-world country with unlimited cheap bandwidth. The second should be obvious everywhere. If you must restart to complete the update, let us know ahead of time. Let us decide when to restart. Don't tell us the restart will happen in thirty seconds unless we say no.
The guy who lost data and incurred nontrivial bandwidth charges.