How do I let customers download software ...

  stlucia 08:35 19 Jan 2004

... from my web site?

I am a beginner at web design. I've designed my site using raw HTML code, but I can't find in my HTML reference how to place a demo program (about 3Mb) on my site so that anyone can download it. I've got the current version of Serif Web whatever-it-is, but I can't find such a facility in it either.

  Sir Radfordin 08:42 19 Jan 2004

If you are happy for them just to download it then you can link to the .exe or .zip file in the same way you would link to a .htm file. Then when they click the link they will be offered the chance to save or open the file.

It is worth making it obvious that this is what the link will do so people don't expect to be taken to another web page only to found out they are downloading your software.

  stlucia 08:54 19 Jan 2004

Thanks Sir Radfordin. But when I click a link to a "normal" web page I don't automatically get the option to download it, so how do I make that the default option (with, presumably, the Windows screen which asks if I want to download it or read/run it) when they click on the link to my file?

I can put the link on a separate "download" page so that it's clear to them what they're about to do when they hit the link to the file.

  Jester2K 08:57 19 Jan 2004

The website will pop up to option to download automatically. As Sir Radfordin says just make a link to the exe and the users browser wil do the rest. You don't need to code anything in.

  Jester2K 08:58 19 Jan 2004

Before you do it for real it might be worth practising with a smaller exe file.

  Pesala 10:20 19 Jan 2004

In Webplus (assuming it's the same as Page Plus) you just create a link to the file on our hard disk, and when you publish the site the file is automatically uploaded.

I wonder whether a ZIP format might be better to use than EXE as some people block EXE files.

  Forum Editor 10:21 19 Jan 2004

you ARE downloading it - that's what your browser does. When the browser detects a .exe file at a hyperlink source it will automatically generate the download dialogue box, so just link to the .exe file in the normal way.

Make it clear to your site's visitors that your file is freeware/shareware and include a note to say that they may freely distribute it if it's freeware. You'll find that many people are very reluctant to download and run a .exe file unless they know a bit about it first, so it's a good idea to put some screenshots on the download page, together with a full description of what the file is/does.

  stlucia 11:18 19 Jan 2004

... for the comprehensive response which explains how it all works. Presumably the download dialogue box will kick-in whenever it detects a file that is not an html file?

I'll zip the file down to about 900k, which will help matters on two counts, and as you suggest I'll perhaps put a dummy smaller file on the site first to see how it works. I'll also do a comprehensive download page to brief people about what the file does, and what they're permitted to do with it.

  PurplePenny 22:50 19 Jan 2004

"what they're permitted to do with it"

Is it something that you have written/created? If so be sure to include a copyright notice in your download brief - you don't want to find someone else claiming it. Remember to specify that your copyright notice has to go with the software if it is distributed further.


  stlucia 08:47 20 Jan 2004

Thanks PurplePenny. It's a time-limited demo version of my own software which I currently distribute on CD, with copyright notices in the software and in the leaflets and brochures that go with it. I'll include something about copyright in my download page, but I suppose there's always a risk (whichever way I distribute it) that someone can decompile the program and remove the copyright notice from it.

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