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The different experience of updating Applications on Windows and Mac

I mainly use Mac OS X at home, but keep a PC running XP for a couple of apps. One of these Windows apps, DVD Profiler, today highlighted the gaping difference in developers’ thinking between Windows and Mac applications.

In today’s constantly connected world, we have become accustomed to updating programs on a fairly regular basis. Both minor and major updates are available on-line without resorting to retail boxed discs.

Applications can even check for updates when you launch them and many Mac OS X applications on launch, having determined that an update is available, will offer a dialogue box saying “A newer version is available” and offer to “download, install and relaunch” or “skip” – all very efficient and streamlined.

GarageSale Update Dialog

Today, however, I fired up DVD Profiler on the PC. Before adding a new DVD to the collection, the program will download the latest database, which it did but then complained “This database cannot be read as it is for a later version of DVD Profiler”. So why then did it waste time downloading 18MB of data if it wasn’t going to work? Surely it makes sense to check compatibility first. It did however ask whether I wanted to download the latest version; I said yes, but instead of DVD Profiler updating itself, it fired up my browser and dropped me on their download page to download and manually run the installer myself, which rather than a one-click update was the usual long-winded multiple dialog windows application installation process asking all the same questions the initial installer asked. Surely an update should pick up on the existing installation and work with that. I’m surprised it didn’t make me uninstall the previous version, something demanded of several Windows application upgrades.

The new version, as it happens, runs like a dog, so I may well be switching to Delicious Library on the Mac.

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