March 26, 2020
No more GUI based installers for ColdFusion next? – Need your feedback
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(15)
March 26, 2020
No more GUI based installers for ColdFusion next? – Need your feedback
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(15)

As many of you know, we are already have pre-release going for ColdFusion Next.

Many of you may have also heard about some of the changes that we are making to the product, such as reducing the overall size of the installer to around 200 MB. We are able to accomplish this because we are breaking the CF runtime into tiny modules that can be installed on demand whenever needed.

As a result of all this, we are contemplating whether we need a user interface anymore for the installer at all. For instance, in our alpha pre-release program, we only have the zip installers with some scripts to be executed where you can pass the same inputs that used to be captured via a user interface earlier. There is no user interface to go through to install ColdFusion.

Now the question is, can this be the new normal? Do you see any concern at all, if we get rid of the user interface for the installer? Installation will now be *only* via command line. Remember, we are only talking about the installer – not the CF administrator, The CF administrator UI will remain as is.

Do you see any concern if we go ahead and permanently remove the user interface for the installer? If yes, let us know about it in the comments below!

15 Comments
2020-05-21 02:13:42
2020-05-21 02:13:42

I’ve been a windows cf user since version 4.5
I really like the ease of the GUI install, and would not want to lose it.

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2020-04-15 15:29:43
2020-04-15 15:29:43

Perhaps the issue here is related to installer size and/or use case: is the user setting up a single standalone installation of Standard edition on their only Windows server, or is the user trying to automate scaled cloud or container deployment. Both are scenarios that I can see being relevant.

Hence perhaps the solution is to offer TWO installers: with and without GUI, so that the latter can be made small and used with automation, but the former is there for the “small” users.

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Legorol San
's comment
2020-04-15 18:19:19
2020-04-15 18:19:19
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Legorol San
's comment

Sure, on that, Legorol.  FWIW, there are also the Adobe CF Docker images that can help with such automated deployment already (available for CF2016 and CF2018). But I realize that some will prefer to manually deploy via an automated install INSTEAD of using the docker images, so I agree on your idea of keeping both kinds of installers.

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2020-04-15 15:19:11
2020-04-15 15:19:11

I’m really glad to see more and more people coming out here with the suggestion that it seems curious to “just drop” a GUI installer, especially for Windows users. I can totally see the benefit of improving command-line options, for those preferring it, but my concern is that this move seemed too strongly oriented toward a presumption that “such command-line installations are what most people use these days”.

As someone who helps people install CF at least weekly, I can say that for Windows users at least, virtually none have asked about command-line options. Nearly all have proceeded with the GUI installer–and again virtually none have lamented “why do I have to do through these prompts?”

I held back saying this, because the initial chorus was from folks ok with “no gui”. I didn’t want to be the only one presenting the other side–especially since my assertions (on behalf of others) could be accused of being nothing more than “hear say”. I was really hoping to see others make the case, and so I present this as a “friend of the court” brief rather than as a “class action” complaint. 🙂

I don’t personally think it should be too hard for even folks accustomed to a GUI to deal with a command-line installer, if it’s well done (heck, I have long had complaints about the GUI prompts themselves). And I appreciate that leaning that way could bring more folks to appreciate the value of automating the installs, and perhaps drive improvements in that regard, which would then benefit everyone.

But I do think it’s important to speak out and represent the large number of folks I work with (who are not active in the community), to say that not “everyone” will want command-line installers and that it’s not that “no one will miss” the GUI installers. 🙂 Still, I realize there needs to be a balance of considerations in how best to handle the matter, and that they may well go away anyway.

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2020-04-14 17:12:16
2020-04-14 17:12:16

Hmm. I expect installation for CF will suddenly become complicated requiring additional reading on how to install it to ones liking. I can see people Googling for tutorials, examples, and solutions to failed installations, lots of swearing, etc.

Why can’t you provide a GUI anymore for Windows at least? It sounds like the CF team are looking to cut corners and minimise their efforts. If free and $100 software publishers can put together a good GUI installer then so too can Adobe with a $8000 product.

If you absolutely have to drop the GUI then you should provide some preset installation options so users don’t have to reads tons of documentation to do a minimal, typical or full installation.

I’ve used CF for 23 years but I would be nervous doing a command line installation as it’s outside of my comfort zone, being a Windows user. It would need to be very simple with very clear documentation and include many complete examples. Ideally backed up by a 5 minutes YouTube video, plus another on troubleshooting installation issues. Please do not assume that everyone’s installation will be error free. Thank you for listening.

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(1)
2020-04-05 01:00:38
2020-04-05 01:00:38

On Windows, it is standard for software to come with a GUI installer. Going against that standard provides an unfamiliar experience and alienates people, especially newcomers.

Personally, in general I find GUI installers easier to use than the command line, because it guides me through the required decision making process, instead of requiring me to figure out from the available command line options what is actually important.

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(1)
2020-04-02 14:37:46
2020-04-02 14:37:46

I’m definitely not opposed to command line installers, and actually prefer that for software that has very few options.  I’m just concerned with the new approach of many tiny modules it’ll become a complicated process.

I think the priority should be on simplicity, and a well designed installation GUI provides that.  If someone new to ColdFusion is constantly running into problems where somethings not working because they didn’t know they needed to install module 57 they’re going to get frustrated and move onto something else that works better.

Documentation is great, but it needs to be easily digestible.  The longer documentation gets and the more web pages it’s spread out over the less likely someone is going to read it all, and more importantly find the information they actually need to know.  Especially for a first time user.  So basically there needs to be a quick setup guide, which is essentially what a GUI installer provides.

On a related note, I really hope the ColdFusion error messages will actually say the failure is due to a specific module not being loaded, instead of how some of the current error messages can apply to a multitude of conditions.

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2020-03-31 17:18:24
2020-03-31 17:18:24

I haven’t used the GUI installers in years, but I would keep them around just since a lot of people are probably used to them.  What I would welcome however is improvements to the silent installers, ESPECIALLY for add on services like .NET which currently don’t even allow you to set ports!

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2020-03-31 03:18:40
2020-03-31 03:18:40

I agree with Tyler’s post.  I am ok with it for myself as long as the documentation is spot on and doesn’t leave anything to the imagination or up for questioning.  Then again I’ve been in CF for awhile so I’m willing to jump through some hoops for the next version.  Will newbies?

The main reason I like the GUI installers is that it’s comfortable and familiar, speaking as a Windows guy, and it’s what i’d expect when installing something on a Windows machine.  So if it were to go away then I personally would want to have everything covered in the docs to almost an idiot proof level.

The fact that Charlie Arehart seems to have to come out with a blog post after every ColdFusion update release helping people out, clarifying the process, and covering things that may be missed makes me a little nervous about the documentation being there.

Anything that puts up even a little barrier to someone picking up ColdFusion and running with it I would think long about.  If they are expecting a Windows installer then maybe take the extra time to make them more willing to give it a shot by having a familiar setup option.  Let the vets go with a command line option if they want.

My .02.

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2020-03-26 21:30:25
2020-03-26 21:30:25

Hey Rakshith – green light from me – I don’t see a problem with it.

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2020-03-26 20:05:00
2020-03-26 20:05:00

Yes!

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2020-03-26 17:23:31
2020-03-26 17:23:31

I am good with a non GUI installer from this point on.

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2020-03-26 15:15:19
2020-03-26 15:15:19

npm i coldfusion

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brilang
's comment
2020-03-31 17:16:47
2020-03-31 17:16:47
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brilang
's comment

I believe you mean

box server start cfengine=adobe

This already works and has for years 

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2020-03-26 13:44:55
2020-03-26 13:44:55

I don’t have a problem with it, however I believe the documentation needs to be expanded greatly.

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