Good Job Adobe Flash Team
Good Installers make IT people happy
I have never been shy about bagging on the Adobe Flash team when I feel it is warranted, and heaven knows, they, or really, their evangelists and PR people give one a nigh-unending stream of rich source material. However, that does mean that when they do something well, or even noticeably better, I have an obligation to point that out as well.
While the Flash 10.1 update does not make all problems with Flash go away, (I still have the stalls on load, etc.) what the team did do right is the installer, something near and dear to my heart. If you download Flash, you get the 'normal' installer, which has all the silly chrome and the even sillier insistence that you quit browsers, etc. That kind of thing is really annoying, because it makes pushing the update out quite the pain in the keister.
However, if you crack open that installer, (ctrl-click on it and select "Show Package Contents" for the uninitiated), and go into the resources folder, you see a lovely file called "Adobe Flash Player.pkg". That, dear readers, is a standard Mac OS X installer, that does not start forcing you to quit browsers. It is therefore, because of format and design, quite compatible with any number of IT tools, such as Apple Remote Desktop and others. Why should you care? Well, when you have say, an update like this one that contains a rather important security update, the ability to quickly push it out to all the computers on your network is of some importance.
If the installer is poorly designed, then you can't do that, as you spend a lot of time working around it. By building the installer as they did, the Flash team managed to meet two different sets of needs. The 'standard' installer works for the 'standard' desktop user, who only needs to install this on the one machine, and doesn't care about restarting the browser. The internal package is perfect for IT needs, so that it can be easily pushed to every machine on a network. Because it's a package, I can use Apple Remote Desktop's Task Server functionality and know that as traveling users come back to the office, they'll automatically have this installed once they show back up on the network.
Because the Flash team took the extra effort to do things correctly, it is far easier for me to also do things correctly, and everyone benefits. So good job Adobe Flash team, you did real good on this one.