Mike Downey, Group Manager of Platform Evangelism at Adobe Systems, wrote a comment to my blog post about Ice Cube's UVNTV.com about the Silverlight install experience that he experienced on his Mac:

Also, in order to view the video I had to leave your site via a link out to microsoft.com, download a 4.7MB Silverlight update installer (Mac) to my desktop, hide my browser and find the DMG, double-click the DMG to unpack it, double-click the installer, click through the installer, and restart my browser - losing the page that I wanted to watch in the first place.

Flash Player updates through the old version of the Flash Player and doesn't require leaving the page or finding downloaded files (Mac, Windows, and Linux). The user just has to click to get the updated player. Just wanted to let you know.

I needed to test this out and luckily I had already ordered a MacBook and it came on Friday.  The first thing that I did, once I started it up, after installing important OS updates, was to go to my blog page and try to reproduce Mike's experience.  I was able to see exactly what he explained, with the exception of the playing hide-and-seek with the DMG file.  Safari's download manager listed the DMG file and I ran the install.  The painful part, that I agree with Mike on, was the fact that I had to restart my browser.  We have to find a way to install the plug-in without requiring a browser restart.

So then I decided to try the Flash install experience on the link that Mike left on his comment signature using FireFox on Windows Vista: http://www.adobe.com/flashon.  I already have the Flash Player 9 ActiveX installed.

  1. I got a message that the content requires Adobe Flash Player 9
  2. I click yes
  3. It asks for my permission, I say yes
  4. And then I get this curious message box

I don't get it.  This isn't the Flash install experience that Mike wrote about.  By requiring me to restart FireFox, I have to leave the page, the very criticism that he had of the Silverlight installer.  Now I don't want to start a fight. I think that Adobe makes great products and I have used many of them.  But I do think that comments like Mike's need a bit more explanation especially when comparing the Silverlight install experience to the Flash install experience. 

I think the truth it that installers are very difficult to write and installing a plug-in in a running process is difficult.

Please enlighten me!