Reinventing the wheel rarely produces a perfectly round object. This is also the case with Microsoft’s attempt to enhance the basic operation of downloading a file from a website.
If you have Software Assurance for Microsoft CRM, then you will probably also have the rights to use Microsoft Dynamics Customer Source. I know, figuring out how to even gain access there in the first place can be a challenge, but luckily our tech guys had already done the hard part in my company. So, assuming you’re in, you’ll notice that the friendly people at Microsoft have put most of their training course materials on the site, ready to be downloaded. While the course ware designed for classroom training may not ideal for self learning, they are still a great resource for looking up CRM administration related details as you go.
Instead of the usual download procedure, MS has decided to force everyone to acquire the materials through a download manager application called Microsoft File Transfer Manager. It’s a tool for providing some controls over the file downloads from Akamai servers, like resuming a broken download. The main question is, why do I need to bother? The downloads are typically a few megabytes in size, nothing I would need to worry about on a company network, since it’s year 2008 and we’re not on 56k modem anymore.
Compared to the usual “do you want to save the file” prompt, the user now has to run an ActiveX add-on for IE, peform a bewildering amount of clicks and watch a number of pop-up screens to achieve a simple download. The add-on which I just reluctantly installed on my computer is asking for a language update installation only 10 seconds later.
There is not a single positive feature about this forced process that I can think of, it only masks a simple download operation into something that needs a whole lot of arbitrary “managing”. Kind of reminds me of Microsoft CRM at times. I guess that’s why they’ve chosen the Dynamics users to be the guinea pigs.