Tuesday, January 09, 2007

ClickOnce Deployment

Visual Studio provides two different strategies for deploying Windows-based applications: publishing an application using ClickOnce technology, or deploying it with a traditional Setup using Windows Installer technology. With ClickOnce deployment, you publish the application to a centralized location and the user installs or runs the application from that location. With Windows Installer deployment, you package the application in a setup.exe file and distribute that file to users, who run the Setup.exe file to install the application.

ClickOnce deployment greatly simplifies the process of installing and updating an application, but you do not get the power of Windows Installer deployment, which provides you with greater flexibility.

ClickOnce deployed applications are self-updating and are the best choice for applications that require frequent changes. Although ClickOnce applications can be initially installed by means of a CD-ROM, users must have network connectivity to take advantage of the update capabilities.

With Windows Installer, you add a Setup project to your solution to create a setup file that is distributed to users; the user runs the setup file and steps through a wizard to install the application.

Creating ClickOnce application:

  1. Create normal windows or console application.
  2. Then, right click on it and click on Publish.
  3. This will prompt you to specify a Web site or network file share.
  4. The user installs and launches the application directly from that location in a single step.

However, you don't have flexibility of custom install in ClickOnce application. This is crucial feature that I miss the most. However, updating functionality is great.

If your application does not require custom install actions and if you have hosting space, I will advise you to try this feature.

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