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Joel on Software

2002/10/02

by Joel Spolsky
Wednesday, October 02, 2002

I've been snowed under for the last four weeks, working on the FogBUGZ 3.0 Setup program.

For various reasons none of the commercial setup toolkits (Wise, InstallShield, Windows Installer) could do even 25% of what our setup program needed to do, so I ended up writing it from scratch. VC++ and MFC all the way. It took longer than I expected because I had this weird conviction that the entire setup process should be completely reversable, and as you go backwards through the wizard it should automatically and silently undo any changes it had already made. So even if you're looking at the last screen, if you decide you want to change where to extract the files, you can just back up and change it and everything moves and all the old files you overwrote are put back and all the Windows accounts you created are uncreated and all the permissions we granted are ungranted and the SQL database you made is unmade and so on. The end result is a great setup program, but it may be a tad overkill. If I have time I'll write more about what I learned.
 
One benefit of writing a setup program from scratch is that I don't have to have someone else's stupid cartoon-of-a-computer-and-floppy-disks in the upper right hand corner. I used a photograph of the London Skyline, currently infested with cranes. I took the picture from the cafe at the Tate Modern.
 
FogBUGZ 3.0 Setup
 

Have you been wondering about Distributed Version Control? It has been a huge productivity boon for us, so I wrote Hg Init, a Mercurial tutorial—check it out!

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About the author.

I’m Joel Spolsky, co-founder of Fog Creek Software, a New York company that proves that you can treat programmers well and still be highly profitable. Programmers get private offices, free lunch, and work 40 hours a week. Customers only pay for software if they’re delighted. We make Trello, insanely simple project management, FogBugz, an enlightened bug tracker designed to help great teams develop brilliant software, and Kiln, which simplifies source control. I’m also the co-founder and CEO of Stack Exchange. More about me.

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