Coffeehouse Thread

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Suggestion: Windows Update Foundation

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  • User profile image
    AIM48

    So I have a bunch of gunk in my tray area - Most of them are * update - Java update,windows update , Norton update even some kind of drawing program trial I downloaded - they are all sitting there taken up varying amount of CPU periodically "Calling home" to see if there are "NEW!! CRITICAL!!" updates etc... I as the user do not know what they are and where they are and how to disable them.

    It is obviously important that applications be able to update themselves on the fly especially in today's internet environment with security patches etc... But I believe that software developers should focus on what they (think) they do best - developing their actual program and not worrying about creating little updater icons - they usually leave it to the end and throw together some thing that is usually not very well behaved etc...

    Therefore I suggest that Microsoft take a large part of the burden off the regular developers like this.

    Microsoft already has the whole windows update infrastructure - They should extend it a bit to support 3rd party applications - this is the scenario I imagine.

    3rd Party Developers would create their applications.
    They would log in to a special (free) Microsoft portal
    They submit there company name. Application name - exe name etc..
    They receive a special unique GUID for their application
    In the install for their application they register that unique GUID for their application with the "Windows Update Foundation".
    The vendor logs onto the Microsoft portal and indicates that the latest version for this application is lets say 1.0.2.0.5.2.3
    When the regular windows update runs it sends the uniqueid and the current version of the app to the windows update service - Windows will notify the user that updates - either windows or third party applications.

    The user can then decide what to update and what not.

    WUF would then kick off the applications BITS downloader from the vendors site.

    Obviously there are security implications -
    but I think it would make the whole windows experience more seamless for the user and for the software developer

  • User profile image
    nwoolls

    I think it's a great idea.  I've talked to other developers off and on about this for some time.  It'd be like apt, only using the Windows Update infrastructure.

  • User profile image
    AIM48

    nwoolls wrote:
    I think it's a great idea.  I've talked to other developers off and on about this for some time.  It'd be like apt, only using the Windows Update infrastructure.


    True - But a big difference between this and APT would be that there would be no central repository of the binaries - rather Windows Update would just know the current version number of the application and the downloading of the update would be from the 3rd parties web site - using either the default windows update downloader or the third parties custom downloader if they have a special need for it.

  • User profile image
    eddwo

    Do you need this when you have ClickOnce?
    Its in .Net 2.0 so is already part of Vista and has most of the features you are looking for.

    It only checks for updates when you start the application, it does not sit in the background, but how often do you need to update an application you are not using?

    Perhaps ClickOnce should be extended so that updateable applications register themselves with a central process the periodically checks for them, but thats about the only thing you would need to add.

  • User profile image
    blowdart

    eddwo wrote:
    Do you need this when you have ClickOnce?


    Sure. ClickOnce is pretty much IE only. And lack of an MSI installer means no AD driven rollouts.

  • User profile image
    cwilliams11​45

    eddwo wrote:
    Do you need this when you have ClickOnce?
    Its in .Net 2.0 so is already part of Vista and has most of the features you are looking for.


    ClickOnce has limitations that preclude a large number of applications from using it.  That's not to say it couldn't be changed, but it's not suitable for a general-purpose solution in its current form.

  • User profile image
    eddwo

    The IE-only bit only has an effect if you are trying to deploy via ClickOnce from a URL.

    You could deploy however you wanted and still make use of the classes in the System.Deployment.Application namespace for doing the updates.

    Thats really what I meant, the technology behind ClickOnce already does most of what your proposed WindowsUpdateFoundation seeks to achieve.

  • User profile image
    TommyCarlier

    ClickOnce can not be used for updating services.

  • User profile image
    AIM48

    I am talking about things like drivers etc... 

    Also - ClickOnce runs whenever I want to start up the application.
    When I decide I want to use an application - that is not when I want to wait for a new version to download and install - it should download and install itself (or however the settings are on the users machine) with BITS while I am doing something else, not once i opened the application becaue I want something done NOW!! 

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