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The Elgg installer is good, but I think it can be made a lot better. Take a look at Piwik for an example of what an installer should be.
- Include links to the install troubleshooting page
- Create the database for the user
- Check dependencies and permissions (pull php5 tests out of .htaccess)
- Check that mod rewrite works
- Create the admin account in installer
- Maybe pull the installer logic out of the core and create an install directory - the installer logic tends to get a little convoluted with the current setup
- Well, the installer works and we have fixed most of the bugs - but we still get a lot of people having trouble due to mod rewrite and getting greeted with a 404 error on install is not a good introduction. The average person installing this has no way to check if mod rewrite is working before starting.
- Include a check.php script in the base directory that people call call before installing. Have it run through the dependencies, permissions, and rewrite tests.