Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Stupid Developer Mistakes: Where does that product name came from?

While I have used a variety of installers in the past, and am eagerly looking forward to switching all my installs over to Wix , I have one older application that used Setup Generator Pro. It was handy and it worked for the time. Unfortunately, I kept on using it to do upgrades and every now and then when the application would crash, it would display the older version # of the application (Your Application 2.04 has crashed - even though I was now up to version 3.5!)

At first I thought - it must be something to do with the Windows installer - it must have 2.04 somewhere in its database and I've got to change it. After all, how else would Windows know what version the application was? (don't answer yet!)

So I looked. and looked. and looked. Couldn't find it anywhere.

And so, the other day I was at my wit's end, trying to figure it out and I started to post it on one of the MSDN forums.

And then it hit me. Like a ton of bricks. Like someone coming over my head and whacking me saying "why didn't you look there first?"

In the FoxPro Project Manager, under Build , under the Version, I took a peek at what I had written for product name. Sure enough, it was "My Application 2.04".

Rule #5206: Never, EVER, put a version # into the product name box. It says Product Name - not Name and Version. You have a VERSION field for that. (and you can easily pull it all out). If only I had been smart and used AGETFILEVERSION( ) to look for it - I would have seen it right away. If you've never used AGETFILEVERSION( ), it's useful not just for FoxPro executables but other applications and DLLs as well. The array is easily populated with:
AGETFILEVERSION(la, "MyAPP.EXE")
And then, it's:
1 - Comments
2 - Company Name
3 - File Description
4 - File Version (this is the one place where you should have your version information)
5 - Internal Name
6 - Legal Copyright
7 - Legal Trademarks
8 - Original Filename
9 - Private Build
10 - Product Name
11 - Product Version (same as 4)
12 - Special Build (empty)
13 - OLE Self Registration
14 - Language
15 - Translation Code

What's interesting here is that with the Version dialog, you can only fill in values 1,2,3,4,6,7,10.

Also, a quick tip: even if you build APPs, build your APP as an EXE and then rename it. The version information will still be there.

Thankfully, I work in a home office where my embarassment can only be shared with those I choose to blog to. Oh yeah, that's everyone. But I chose to blog it because when you're at your wit's end, looking for a solution - start at the beginning or the project.

Argh!

1 comment:

Rick Schummer said...

Cool tip on the rename if the EXE to APP file. I would never have guessed this works.