Jan 17 2011

Another Reason I like Android – app auto updates

image_thumb9 Another Reason I like Android - app auto updatesThe other day I was getting ready to work with a program and like [most] all Windows applications right when I was going to start the application, it reports ‘there’s a new version’.

One of the nicest things to come out of the Smartphone world is the application auto-update function. It’s so refreshing from the crap that Windows has been pushing out all these 30+ years!

Microsoft relies on the individual authors to provide their own update process. This typically means that, every application you install has it’s own auto-update function, service or application that’ll update it later.

And when you are dealing with 20+ programs in the background, periodically searching for updates, but generally just wasting resources— it’s just obtuse.

Windows application wizard, continues to be slow; just opening the APPWIZ.CPL is painful. Windows doesn’t know what you have installed until you open the application wizard, then it scans your hard drive and then displays [as it finds them] the entries for all the applications that are installed; it’s slow, it’s stupid.

And for all the abilities that Microsoft may have once had, the best thing they have is the operating system auto-update. So this is great; it works, seems to do the job, but still they ignore the applications.

So I see this application on Lifehacker today; it updates Adobe Flash in the background— silently. The user is never bothered, it’s just done- as it should be.

Just as the Google updater updates Chrome. The Chrome application is always up to date. You don’t have to download new updates or anything like that; at least not for me. Each time I open Chrome, I’m using the most current version. It’s a brilliant design and function.

Android has this function, with the last version of Android I had to update applications manually, but Android told me when updates were ready.

Linux has had the option for years to be notified and auto download the updates to the operating system and the installed applications.

Microsoft Windows— still a sad POS that hasn’t even tried…

And this is one of the reasons Android is doing so good in the Smartphone market; the operating system is smart, it works and it seems like all the obtuse manual crap is handled for you.

Again, this seems like something Microsoft has missed the boat on again and again. The auto updater is going in my scheduled task’er so I won’t be bothered with Adobe Flash updates again.

I’m not saying there aren’t programs that are trying to fill this gap, but it’s really something that should be in the operating system itself.


Thank you,
Larry Henry Jr.

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  • john doe

    1.) you're comparing smartphone OS with desktop OS. android/iPhone smartphone OS has had integrated app store from very beginning, windows desktop has been an open development (non repository) based model. Only thing closest to android store or Apple app-store is Steam, and yes steam does auto-updates because it was it managed the store/repository from the very beginning it started.

    2.) Do you really expect Microsoft to have the "legal" ability to drop all windows programs that run on windows 7 (some going back to win95) into an app sore? Who is going to maintain and manage this repository? What about apps whose development long abandoned, or apps from businesses long gone?
    What about fringe apps like keychangers, password decryption, serial generators? Some can be used for legit purposes like lost serial number for app whose business went under long ago. WHo decides what apps pass thru the requirements? It is overwhelming to try and back catalog all the windows apps into one giant repository. Only way this would work is if Microsoft created a new app store and from that point on, maintain it.

    • lehenryjr

      First, thanks for you excellent reply.
      But I was comparing operating systems. Android runs on more than smartphones; a lot more. And application updates by Linux has been doing this easily for years and it's an open source effort— so what does that say about Microsoft? Microsoft could have invited authors to simply put in an URL in their installers, let a system service, poll the URL’s for the updates and then handle the rest; this would've been simple. There's no need for a market. And it's not Microsoft business to determine what's legal on their operating system or not- just check the URL the author provides and pull download the update and advise the user of the update; it's actually very simplistic.

      Back when Microsoft had influence, over standards and hardware, they should have offered this feature and I also believe more developers would have gotten on-board very quickly; seeing the benefit.

      The fact that Microsoft is going to offer auto-updates in their Windows Mobile 7 operating system, is nothing more than copying everyone else- everyone else who's already laid the ground work. And ultimately what I would expect Microsoft to do is innovate, and stop copying other peoples ideas— trying something NEW.

      Thanks for your comments…
      Until next time,
      Larry Henry Jr.

  • TonBR

    You say "The fact that Microsoft is going to offer auto-updates in their Windows Mobile 7 operating system, is nothing more than copying everyone else" but don´t see the first AutoUpdate Store integrated with SO is Apple App Store in iOS.