Chapter 49

Packaging and Deployment


  • Creating installers for your projects
  • Customizing the installation process
  • Installing Windows Services
  • Deploying projects over the web with ClickOnce
  • Updating ClickOnce projects

One area of software development that is often overlooked is how to deploy the application. Building an installer is a simple process and can transform your application from an amateur utility to a professional tool. This chapter looks at how you can build a Windows Installer for any type of .NET application.

One of the more controversial choices that Microsoft made for Visual Studio was the decision to retire Visual Studio Installer Projects. Although this announcement was made more than two years prior to the release of Visual Studio 2012, that doesn’t mean that the impact of the decision won’t be felt by many developers.

With Visual Studio 2012, there are basically two choices available to deploy your application. Included with Visual Studio 2012 is the InstallShield Limited Edition project template. Actually, what is included is a link that points you to a download InstallShield Limited Edition. When it is installed (and Visual Studio restarted), you see the template appear in the New Project dialog.

The second alternative, and the one that will be discussed in this chapter, is to utilize the Windows Installer XML (WiX) Toolset. This toolset, which is available through the Extensions and Updates dialog, enables you to specify the contents ...

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