Monday, September 20, 2010

Beta update: more format support, loads of bugfixes

Good news, everyone!

I have just released a new upgrade to Stoffi Beta. It contains a lot of neat stuff for you to enjoy.

This upgrade is a bit tricky since I had to fix a bug in the upgrade system. So Stoffi will first download and install the first upgrade which fixes the upgrade system, then after a restart it will download this upgrade.

So what's in the upgrade?

First of all this is mainly a bugfix release. It fixes a lot of bugs, actually I don't have any issues of type 'defect' left on the tracker anymore. However, I am pretty sure there are still at least 50 bugs left to find. Who will find the most? Come on, let's hunt!

However, there's a small surprise in this for you. I have had people asking me to add support for more formats. Stoffi is pretty useless if it can only play mp3 files. I had a long look at the issue and tried a few approaches. I ended up with one that I feel pretty confident about. Here's a list of all the file extensions that Stoffi now supports:

  1. aac
  2. ac3
  3. aif
  4. aiff
  5. ape
  6. apl
  7. bwf
  8. flac
  9. m1a
  10. m2a
  11. m4a
  12. mov
  13. mp+
  14. mp1
  15. mp2
  16. mp3
  17. mp3pro
  18. mp4
  19. mpa
  20. mpc
  21. mpeg
  22. mpg
  23. mpp
  24. mus
  25. ofr
  26. ofs
  27. ogg
  28. spx
  29. tta
  30. wav
  31. wv
Woah! That's a lot! However, I will later add cda when I add support for Audio CDs. If there's any format that you feel is missing from this list please let me know and I will try my best to add it.

Note that no additional installation of any codecs or software is required. Stoffi will play these out of the box!

One problem, though. A lot of these formats support DRM. If you have any protected files Stoffi can't play them. It will just skip them. In order to play DRM music I need to purchase a license. This cheapest of these costs €125 and I can't really afford that right now. So if you really, really, really want Stoffi to play your DRM music just send me some money for a license and I will fix it. Until then, enjoy your free music instead. :)


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Beta update: installation bug is gone!


Bug #24 is fixed! Installation will now succeed even if you don't have Microsoft .NET Framework 4.0 Client Profile installed.

I have now created a custom installer and created a self-extracting archive which contains both .NET and Stoffi. So it's pretty big: almost 50 Mb. Stoffi is under 4 Mb, the rest is the installer and .NET.

I have also released a few bug releases, which I managed to work on while I was waiting for a solution to this.

Let the bug hunt (finally) begin!

The aim is to find as many bugs as possible and get them fixed before the stable release sometime before the end of the year. Check out the buglist and report new bugs here.


Sunday, September 5, 2010

An update on the installation bug


I am back from celebrating my birthday. Finally I can continue the hunt for a fix to that big bug that prevents some users from having a clean installation.

I have managed to find out more about what's wrong. It seems that even if I create an entirely empty project in Visual Studio 2010 and select to choose ClickOnce as the deployment method I will wind up with this bug. I have tried this both on my desktop and my laptop, so it shouldn't be something in my Visual Studio installation.

I have searched the net a bit for this specific error message and got some interesting results. First I found some post on MSDN where a Microsoft employee answered and told the developer that this was a bug with the installation of Microsoft .NET Framework. The installation was supposed to restart the computer after the installation of .NET and then continue the installation when the computer started again. However, since it seems that the bug in Stoffi does not require a restart to be solved (just a re-run of the installation) this doesn't seem to apply here.

I also found a few results where developers were encountering this problem on a specific set of machines, a number somewhere around 3% of the clients (this seemed to be consistent for several developers). I, however, have no idea how widespread this bug is.

One friend of mine e-mailed me and told me that his installation failed. Of course the installation had been successful on my two machines where I develop and test Stoffi. So I tried to install it on my girlfriends machine which is pretty much a vanilla Win7 installation. It failed. I then managed to find out that the bug only appeared if Microsoft .NET Framework as not installed. The dirty fix to just re-run the installation worked for my friend as well.

Have you tried to install Stoffi? Can you tell me how it went. Also let me know if the installation needed to install .NET for you or not.

I have also posted a post on MSDN asking for assistance, one Microsoft employee is looking that the problem right now.

However, I am looking at a completely different fix for this. I have planned to use my own installer instead of ClickOnce later on. This will make file associations better and will let me control the installation procedure more. I am right now trying to switch to a custom installer instead and see if that may remove this problem for me. This will probably introduce some permission problems since now Stoffi will be installed in Program Files instead of the user catalog, which means that it will not longer be able to write to itself. So the upgrade system will need more privileges in order to work. I really don't want to go the usual way and move the upgrade system into a separate application running in the background. I hate that approach and want to keep the upgrade code inside Stoffi. However, the alternative is to force Stoffi to run with heighten privileges, which is pretty bad from a security point.

So, what do you think? Let Stoffi run high security privileges or create a separate service that runs in the background (with high security privileges)? I vote for the first approach.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A few fixes and a warning


It has come to my attention that there's a problem with the installation in certain cases. I have investigated this for a few hours and come down to this:

If you have Microsoft .NET Framework 4 installed you are not affected.

Otherwise the Click Once system will download it for you after you clicked that "Accept" button when you were asked to accept Microsoft's license for the .NET Framework. It then installed the framework and proceeded to ask you if you want to install Stoffi. When you clicked "Install" it started to download Stoffi, but then it failed and gave you an error dialog.

However, if you just close that last error dialog and then start setup.exe again it works!

I am not really sure what the cause of this is but it looks like it could be something with the manifest file, perhaps a security related problem. I will try to fix it as soon as possible!

However, trying to make up for that mistake I have released an upgrade with a few bugfixes for you. I have fixed bug #1, #2, #3 and #4.