27 September 2006

Amazingly bad

It reads like a deliberate insult:

To distribute a .NET Framework application both to 32- and 64-bit platforms, build two MSI packages, one targeted at a 32-bit and the other a 64-bit computer.

I have to say, Microsoft's support for 64-bit architectures is a total nightmare. MSI can't compete with that, but it's pretty darned awful.

.NET supposedly supports XCOPY deployment. Even MSI can make a directory and put files in it, and as far as I know the MSI database contains nothing platform-specific. What's the problem here?

I know the answer. The problem is that XCOPY deployment doesn't really work. Not for everybody, certainly not for apps with legacy dependencies. What's a tech writer supposed to do? Document how things would work if the world were ideal, because they might work that way for your app? Or give everyone the ugly workaround that most real-world apps need to apply?


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