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Daniel Doubrovkine

aka dB., CTO at artsy.net, fun at playplay.io, NYC

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I shipped dotNetInstaller 1.7 yesterday. Download it here. You can see the long list of what’s new on the release page, but that’s not the topic of my post.

There has been a large volume of regressions since 1.5 as many new features were implemented in 1.6. We’re using dotNetInstaller heavily at my day job, so I needed to create a situation where I don’t have to go back fixing the same bugs, over and over again. I just don’t have time for that in the long run, I need to move on and work on some real enterprise software problems.

It took me a couple of weeks of commute (this is my free time pet project) to rewrite the C++ portion of the bootstrapper, splitting the code in a general utility library and business logic with virtually 100% unit test coverage. That eventually did yield a very reliable foundation that I can be proud of. I’ve done the same for projects about twenty times the size of dotNetInstaller, so this was a piece of cake. I am actually surprised how small the bootstrapper is once all the redundant mechanics boiled away.

Then I worked on unit testing end-to-end execution scenarios. That was done in .NET, driving the C++ bootstrapper in either silent or basic UI modes. I mostly implemented tests for the regressions that users reported, and there were quite a few that were overlooked in 1.6. Test driven development really works, having more and more regression tests kept hitting me with failures as I was reintroducing one bug while making code changes to fix another. Eventually the rate of bugs went down and changes became a lot more localized.

All-in-all I think more contributors can now jump in and make code changes easily without being scared of breaking everything. Send me some useful patches on CodePlex. Party on.

Update (2015)

dotNetInstaller now lives on Github.