Moderators, I wonder if I can turn this thread into a vote of yes and no.
I've been using Xloader with great success and efficiency when loading a few dozen chips with firmware:http://russemotto.com/xloader/
Unfortunately the author to the program probably abandoned the project (no open source code found). In its latest version, it doesn't support arduino mini or nano or other chips.
I wonder if someone would be interested in making such a program (and open source) that supports more chips. It's dead easy with xloader and faster.
You also don't need the whole IDE to load code. If you think about a product that is in the hands of an end user, they don't have to have Arduino IDE or more importantly all the libraries in proper version and locations to compile code and upload. xloader is very light weight and efficient in updating firmware and loading firmware into a bunch of chips.
Wouldn't this be a nice thing to also include in the IDE distribution?