ClickOnce Deployment (Visual Studio 2005)

Clickonce is a cool feature availble to apps developed on the .net framework (2.0+) that takes the hassle out of application deployment and releasing updates.

The process is really simple too – A couple of mouse clicks – true Microsoft style!

  1. The Clickonce feature is accessed by selecting your STARTUP project and selecting build->publish from the main menu
  2. If you are using strong names for your assemblies (which you should), you must click on the ‘generate certificate’ button on the security tab of the properties page of the startup project – Leave the userid and password fields blank when prompted
  3. If you are using a UNC path (instead of a webpage), make sure you have permissions to the folder where you want the .deploy files stored. You can disable IE from displaying the publish.htm page after the process (settings)

Keep in mind that clickonce is a ‘PER USER deployment’ feature.. i.e., all the installation files and executables are stored on the logged-in users local settings folder (in a special folder called the clickonce cache) – This is a security feature.

In my work setting, we promote use of Terminal Servers for folks physically outside of our network/working from home. So, using Clickonce technology would be a terrible waste of space (200+ users * 30 MB per user).

Note that for machine wide usage, MSI is the recommended way to go. Here is an excellent MSDN article detailing the goals of both technologies and scenario of use:

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms973805.aspx

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