Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Xcode Upgrades: Lessons Learned

Erica Sadun:

I spent roughly 8 hours all told downloading, installing, and updating Xcode, much of which could have been bypassed by following two simple rules:

  1. Never update Xcode from the Mac App Store
  2. Wait until Apple posts the upload on developer.apple.com/downloads and then update from there.


Under such circumstances, you’ll always be better off downloading the bossy full-figured 5GB dmg than upgrading a model-thin Chanel-wearing 2.6GB differential, especially when servers are mocking you with NananaNAN completion estimates.

This is why you should always wait for a DMG. No matter how long it takes to appear on the developer site. No matter how slow the download ends up being. The advantages of downloading a DMG are numerous[…]

Seconded. I have nearly always regretted updating Xcode via the Mac App Store. And you’ll probably want the .dmg file to save a copy of that Xcode version, anyway. (I wouldn’t count on an archived copy from the Mac App Store to keep working.)

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Another good reason: usually new Xcode introduce some issues. If you wait for some time, then very likely that the issues would be "resolved", where "resolved" means "workarounds will be posted on the internet".

Of course, the MAS is a bad solution to install Xcode since Xcode should not even be allowed on the MAS if the MAS guidelines were enforced for Apple own products.

But the dmg solution, in its current incarnation, is also a bad one:

- Xcode is installed with the wrong owner and group (because it's a drag and drop installation).
- Xcode takes an eternity to copy and its former instance to be trashed
- Xcode takes an eternity to launch because of Gatekeeper.
- Because of the Gatekeeper process, at some point a dialog to continue the process could be hidden behind a Finder window.
- Xcode still needs to install some additional tools.
- Xcode still requires you to enter your admin password to do this {and also to enable debugging, IIRC).

All of this could be improved spectacularly if someone in the Xcode team could figure out a way to distribute Xcode via a distribution using the … oh wait… Apple Installation package format. Like they used to do before Xcode was made available on the pointless MAS.

Not to mention that, when updating with the MAS, you never know which of the three copies of Xcode you keep for various reasons it is going to overwrite: I have witnessed the MAS overwrite an Xcode beta (never distributed via the MAS, IIRC), and leave intact the MAS-installed version.

I feel sorry for all the people who are suckered into getting Xcode from the MAS. For Xcode and for everything else, just say no to the MAS.

So true. I never installed Xcode via Mac AppStore sucessfully since Yosemite ... DMG is the only way I can upgrade Xcode.

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