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Deploying Windows Applications

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

With ClickOnce deployment the application is installed by clicking a link to a Website. In situations where the user should select a directory to install the application into, 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:

  • Deployment basics
  • ClickOnce deployment
  • Visual Studio Deployment and Setup Project types
  • Features of the Windows Installer
  • Creating Windows Installer Packages using Visual Studio 2005

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 didn't have network access, along with incompatibilities among different library ...

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