Chapter 18. Deploying Windows Applications

There are several ways to install Windows applications. Simple applications can be installed with a basic xcopy deployment, but for installation to hundreds of clients, an xcopy deployment is not really useful. For that situation, you have two options: ClickOnce deployment or the Microsoft Windows Installer.

With ClickOnce deployment, the application is installed by clicking a link to a Web site. In situations where the user should select a directory in which to install the application, or when some registry entries are required, the Windows Installer is the deployment option to use.

This chapter covers both options for installing Windows applications. In particular, you will look at the following:

  • Deployment basics

  • ClickOnce deployment

  • Visual Studio deployment and setup project types

  • Features of the Windows Installer

  • Creating Windows Installer packages using Visual Studio 2008

Deployment Overview

Deployment is the process of installing applications to the target systems. Traditionally, such an installation has been done by invoking a setup program. If a hundred or thousand clients must be installed, the installation can be very time-consuming. To alleviate this, the system administrator can create batch scripts to automate this activity. However, particularly if the application logic changes regularly, problems can occur with clients that don't have network access, along with incompatibilities among different library versions, resulting in a condition ...

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