.Net 1.1 or 2.0 Redistributable

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.Net 1.1 or 2.0 Redistributable



I'm about ready to begin work on a project which will require clients to download the .Net 2.0 Redistributable Framework onto their PCs or network drive. The size of the redistributable is huge and my product will be competing against older products which were written in VBA and have much smaller size. My question is: (1) as a seller of commercial software do I have to alert the potential customer about the redistributable which will be downloaded through the installation wizard onto their PCs and (2) do you think the increased functionality together with the large size of an application written for the .net framework will have a negative impact on sales vs. a product with a much smaller size and some tradeoffs in functionality?

Posted 04 Jan, 2006 09:10:42 Top
Sergey Grischenko

Add-in Express team

Posts: 7233
Joined: 2004-07-05

1. The fact is that the Setup Project wizard of Visual Studio .NET adds the redistributable automatically. In this case there is no need to download it. However if you are planning to download the redistributable I think you need to propose a customer either to download it or interrupt the installation process.
2. It depends on an application. If you need the functionality that can be achieved using .NET only I don't think that the size of the application will affect sales.
Posted 04 Jan, 2006 16:31:23 Top
Brad Smith

Posts: 49
Joined: 2005-11-22
Are you planning on distributing your app via download, or shipping actual CDs? If download, you most definitely do *not* want the framework added to your setup project. Nothing annoys a customer more than being forced to download a 20-some Meg blob that he may already have on his system. In addition, if an update comes out, you either need to rebuild your Setup, or risk shipping something that's already obsolete.

I have always refused to add MS redistributables to any of my setups (and I'm not only referring to .NET stuff here). I'll either supply a separate download link for small stuff, more more likely a link to MS's download site.

In the case of a .NET program, VS's built-in Setup generator simply adds a dialog pointing to their download site. I'm sure you can tell the Setup generator to actually embed the redistributable, but I don't recommend it.

In your Marketing blurb, I'd add something to the effect that your product "uses Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0". You don't really need to specifically alert them as to the size of the download. That's Microsoft's problem, and there's always a good chance the customer already has the framework (or will likely soon need it for something else).

Deciding whether the requirement of the Framework is going to scare some potential customers is something your own Marketing department/person needs to understand. As a small-business developer myself, I've been wrestling with that very question for a while now. I personally believe that this will no longer be a barrier to *most* customers.
Some will balk, but as you take advantage of .NET to add more features, reduce development/testing time by pushing a lot of yucky stuff to .NET instead of coding from scratch yourself, and generally look like a "modern" app instead of a <yech> VBA dinosaur, you'll come out ahead.

The question is less about the *size* of the Framework, but whether you're likely to be trying to sell into a corporation that may balk at requiring installation of same on 100's or 1000's of PCs in their organization. But most administrators understand that they *will* need the Framework for something, sooner or later.

Posted 05 Jan, 2006 10:25:01 Top


Brad and Sergei, thanks so much for your info. It really helps. Brad, I like your dinosaur reference to VBA!
Posted 05 Jan, 2006 15:37:55 Top


By the way, I plan on distributing it via download, so your suggestion about the link makes total sense.
Posted 05 Jan, 2006 15:38:44 Top