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Last post Author Topic: 7 Reasons Not to Direct Link to a Developer's Download Files  (Read 17661 times)

f0dder

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Re: 7 Reasons Not to Direct Link to a Developer's Download Files
« Reply #25 on: March 17, 2009, 03:35:20 PM »
I've never downloaded software from one of those blog sites - if something has sounded interesting, I've always visited the author's site. Same goes for even the bigger download sites, I always try to grab the stuff from the author's site (which often has involved going from download.com -> mainsite -> back to download.com to download, unfortunately :P)
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ewemoa

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Re: 7 Reasons Not to Direct Link to a Developer's Download Files
« Reply #26 on: March 17, 2009, 04:36:27 PM »
I try to do something similar to what f0dder mentioned -- but for some sites where the primary languages used are not ones I interface with very well, it can be difficult to find a download link!

Usually I also try to do some "research" on the side before running new applications -- e.g. check DC forums  :Thmbsup:, see if there is a Wikipedia article, etc.  By the time I'm done w/ this, I try to visit the "official" site, which by that point is usually obvious.

It is true though that I find having to "parse" each site's layout to be taxing at times -- I can relate to the ease of already knowing where to look to find download links at a few sites (e.g. freewaregenius) -- brain is already trained to handle those layouts.  I'm reminded of the various collections of software provided by various OS distributions (e.g. the *BSDs) -- for things in those collections, the process of installing software is so nice and uniform (not to mention checking for updates!).

Darwin

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Re: 7 Reasons Not to Direct Link to a Developer's Download Files
« Reply #27 on: March 17, 2009, 04:47:51 PM »
 :-[ OK, f0dder and ewemoa made my point far better than I did... This is getting old. Fast.

Signed:

Inarticulate in Courtenay  :(
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

f0dder

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Re: 7 Reasons Not to Direct Link to a Developer's Download Files
« Reply #28 on: March 17, 2009, 04:49:01 PM »
I can relate to the ease of already knowing where to look to find download links at a few sites (e.g. freewaregenius) -- brain is already trained to handle those layouts.
Heh, I usually find that software that software's main sites have fairly easy-to-spot download links, whereas a site like http://www.free-down...et/programs/xplorer2 took me almost half a minute to grok (yeah, the location is pretty obvious, but it wasn't where I expected it, I guess :-[).
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ewemoa

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Re: 7 Reasons Not to Direct Link to a Developer's Download Files
« Reply #29 on: March 17, 2009, 05:25:31 PM »
I also have difficulty with sites like the example f0dder provided -- but this is usually if I'm not used to the layout already.  If I've visited a site often (e.g. like I have for a place like freewaregenius), I'm usually already "wired" to quickly find certain links (because of my previous visits) -- most places haven't pulled the "layout differs wildly on subsequent visits" trick yet ;)

(Darwin, is it so bad that other folks can relate to your point -- so much that we want to post separately about it?  I thought your point about updating was a good one, btw :Thmbsup:)

(On a side note, is it just me, or do you all find that sometimes the most recent comment you haven't read in a thread ends up being on a previous "page" -- and you don't think to look for it, or just don't bother?)

tinjaw

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Re: 7 Reasons Not to Direct Link to a Developer's Download Files
« Reply #30 on: March 17, 2009, 06:58:49 PM »
Even after all your comments about PAD files and updaters, I still stand by my suggestion of using a script as the download URL. You can then take into consideration all of those things and act accordingly.

I would even go one step further and offer up UIDs for anybody who requests on via a form on your website. Then have them pass that UID along with the URL and you will be able to easily track where the download request is coming from. You would be able to provide custom responses based on the UID, or the lack of a UID in the request.

app, as for your concern about disk space, besides the script making your concern moot, you can also do the same via hard links. Then the file only need be on your drive once and linked to from multiple locations. You can use hard links in Windows using a program like Link Shell Extension.

Darwin

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Re: 7 Reasons Not to Direct Link to a Developer's Download Files
« Reply #31 on: March 17, 2009, 09:29:43 PM »
(Darwin, is it so bad that other folks can relate to your point -- so much that we want to post separately about it?  I thought your point about updating was a good one, btw :Thmbsup:)

No - it's all good! I just get embarrassed sometimes at how poorly I make my points, a fact driven home when people post after me stating what I was trying to say much more eloquently  :)

(On a side note, is it just me, or do you all find that sometimes the most recent comment you haven't read in a thread ends up being on a previous "page" -- and you don't think to look for it, or just don't bother?)

Yes! Sadly, this happens to me all the time...
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

lanux128

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Re: 7 Reasons Not to Direct Link to a Developer's Download Files
« Reply #32 on: March 18, 2009, 03:35:10 AM »
for Firefox users, this add-on may come in handy - Open Link Host. after installing, one can right-click on the link and choose one of the three options: to open the link host (i.e. the web-page) either in the current window, new window or a new tab.

app103

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Re: 7 Reasons Not to Direct Link to a Developer's Download Files
« Reply #33 on: March 18, 2009, 09:41:03 AM »
Even after all your comments about PAD files and updaters, I still stand by my suggestion of using a script as the download URL. You can then take into consideration all of those things and act accordingly.

I would even go one step further and offer up UIDs for anybody who requests on via a form on your website. Then have them pass that UID along with the URL and you will be able to easily track where the download request is coming from. You would be able to provide custom responses based on the UID, or the lack of a UID in the request.

app, as for your concern about disk space, besides the script making your concern moot, you can also do the same via hard links. Then the file only need be on your drive once and linked to from multiple locations. You can use hard links in Windows using a program like Link Shell Extension.

So how would one do this when they are using a free/cheap host that doesn't allow anything but static html pages? (no cgi, php, perl, or anything else)

tinjaw

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Re: 7 Reasons Not to Direct Link to a Developer's Download Files
« Reply #34 on: March 18, 2009, 05:33:04 PM »
So how would one do this when they are using a free/cheap host that doesn't allow anything but static html pages? (no cgi, php, perl, or anything else)

Honestly, is that really a concern? I can't imagine somebody producing something who is worried about this issue being limited to only static html pages. Plus, you get different free/cheap host that does.

app103

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Re: 7 Reasons Not to Direct Link to a Developer's Download Files
« Reply #35 on: March 18, 2009, 09:37:50 PM »
Well, here is something else to think about...

Just because someone can write & compile a simple ahk script, or a small desktop application, doesn't mean they can do what you suggest. It doesn't mean they know cgi scripting, php, perl, python or even javascript.

And this extends to files posted on sites by people that aren't even coders at all. What about an artist that posts zip files of their vectors, Photoshop brushes, and the like? Do you expect them to go learn some sort of web scripting language? A lot of them can't even handle installing Wordpress by themselves.

My first website was loaded with zip files containing Paintshop Pro tubes. It was hosted on a free host that only allowed static HTML pages. They were quite generous with disk space, for a free host. They didn't plaster the site with ads, popups, or driveby malware crap. They were very friendly to artists, with one stipulation: that there had be free art related downloads of some sort offered on your site. They even placed you in their directory, advertising what freebies you were offering.

When I first created that site, I barely knew any HTML, nevermind anything else. Before that, I relied on AOL's page builder to create sites.

I don't think I am wrong for teaching bloggers proper linking etiquette, regardless of any suggestion by anyone that it's the developer's or site owner's responsibility to disable people from being able to direct link, and bloggers should continue to do what they please, victimizing anybody they want, with nobody informing them that it's bad manners.

Bad manners are still bad manners in need of correction, especially when many amateur bloggers (and even some pro) don't know it's bad manners.

If my article had been a chapter in a book on how to blog, would you have been as critical about the issue?

app103

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Re: 7 Reasons Not to Direct Link to a Developer's Download Files
« Reply #36 on: March 18, 2009, 09:45:40 PM »
No - it's all good! I just get embarrassed sometimes at how poorly I make my points, a fact driven home when people post after me stating what I was trying to say much more eloquently  :)

"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

 :D

tinjaw

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Re: 7 Reasons Not to Direct Link to a Developer's Download Files
« Reply #37 on: March 19, 2009, 06:33:14 AM »
app,

I think you mistook the tone of my reply. I'm was not commenting on how, when, or why direct links should or shouldn't be made. I was only commenting that there are plenty of ways to track downloads if it is something that is desired.

Nudel

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Re: 7 Reasons Not to Direct Link to a Developer's Download Files
« Reply #38 on: April 03, 2009, 02:44:56 PM »
I hate this practise as well.

It makes developers use generic names for their installers (e.g. ProgramSetup.exe) instead of including a version (ProgramSetup1234.exe) so if I want to keep old versions (just in case, or for testing) I have to rename the installers every time I download them. :(

(I suppose you could maintain an "always latest version" URL which links to the latest installer but maintaining that would be a pain. You just shouldn't have to.)

I also hate those sites where you can't even find the developer's site. How do I know if the installer on offer is out of date or not infected? How can I see what the developer's support or other products are like? It's annoying. :(  (OTOH sites that re-host the files, not just link to them, are handy every so often when the real site is down/gone... Not often enough to stop me hating them, though!)

mouser

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Re: 7 Reasons Not to Direct Link to a Developer's Download Files
« Reply #39 on: April 03, 2009, 03:11:24 PM »
Quote
I also hate those sites where you can't even find the developer's site.

agree -- that is the worst behavior and all such sites should be avoided.

40hz

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Re: 7 Reasons Not to Direct Link to a Developer's Download Files
« Reply #40 on: April 04, 2009, 07:28:29 AM »
I'm beginning to see some download pages are now starting to use Captcha-type scripts.

I will concede that a program author has the absolute right to do whatever he/she wants regarding how to control downloading their application. But it's an inelegant solution to prevent hotlinking a download.

I hope this practice doesn't become widespread.

I hate Captcha. :mad:

« Last Edit: April 04, 2009, 07:30:08 AM by 40hz »

Darwin

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Re: 7 Reasons Not to Direct Link to a Developer's Download Files
« Reply #41 on: April 04, 2009, 09:05:07 AM »
I kind of like the idea behind the reCaptcha though...

I should probably be outraged somewhere along the line at providing free processing power for book digitizing given that at some point someone must be profiting from it, but I love the idea of electronically accessible text  8)
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

40hz

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Re: 7 Reasons Not to Direct Link to a Developer's Download Files
« Reply #42 on: April 04, 2009, 11:25:55 AM »
I kind of like the idea behind the reCaptcha though...

Really? Well...I'll bet your eyesight is a lot better than mine then. ;D 8)


app103

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Re: 7 Reasons Not to Direct Link to a Developer's Download Files
« Reply #43 on: April 04, 2009, 11:32:50 AM »
I kind of like the idea behind the reCaptcha though...

I should probably be outraged somewhere along the line at providing free processing power for book digitizing given that at some point someone must be profiting from it, but I love the idea of electronically accessible text  8)

Here is where a lot of it ends up.

Darwin

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Re: 7 Reasons Not to Direct Link to a Developer's Download Files
« Reply #44 on: April 04, 2009, 01:26:05 PM »
I kind of like the idea behind the reCaptcha though...

Really? Well...I'll bet your eyesight is a lot better than mine then. ;D 8)



Well... no. I have trouble with them as well. However, I don't think I've yet seen a reCaptcha in the wild. If I did, I wouldn't mind - it's for a good cause!

Thanks for that link, app. My understanding of it is that these are scanned texts from University libraries (primarily) and that the texts themselves are out of copyright. So I guess there is no reason for me to suspect that anyone is profiting from this  :)
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

app103

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Re: 7 Reasons Not to Direct Link to a Developer's Download Files
« Reply #45 on: April 04, 2009, 01:28:57 PM »
Most of them are, but there is also the old newspapers from the NY Times that is being digitized for preservation. I don't know if that is a commercial endeavor or not, but anything that preserves history can't be a bad thing even if it is somewhat commercial.

Darwin

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Re: 7 Reasons Not to Direct Link to a Developer's Download Files
« Reply #46 on: April 04, 2009, 04:03:18 PM »
Most of them are, but there is also the old newspapers from the NY Times that is being digitized for preservation. I don't know if that is a commercial endeavor or not, but anything that preserves history can't be a bad thing even if it is somewhat commercial.

Here, here  :Thmbsup:
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

40hz

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Re: 7 Reasons Not to Direct Link to a Developer's Download Files
« Reply #47 on: April 09, 2009, 06:20:17 PM »
Most of them are, but there is also the old newspapers from the NY Times that is being digitized for preservation. I don't know if that is a commercial endeavor or not, but anything that preserves history can't be a bad thing even if it is somewhat commercial.

Here, here  :Thmbsup:

Unless of course they edit the 'archived' stories after the fact as NYT has done. >:(

If you aspire to be the "paper of record," the record should stand as written. Any retractions, corrections or denials should be done in a separate article that references the original.

Otherwise what happens when you make a formal reference to something that may change after you referenced it? Smacks of the Ministry of Truth's function in the book 1984.

Or did. But that's assuming it hasn't been changed since I last read it. :tellme:)
« Last Edit: April 09, 2009, 06:23:28 PM by 40hz »