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Security, Versioning, and Manifest Issues in ClickOnce Deployments 

There are a variety of issues with ClickOnce security, application versioning, and manifest syntax and semantics that can cause a ClickOnce deployment not to succeed.

ClickOnce Deployments on Windows Vista

This section is new for Visual Studio 2005 SP1.

In Visual Studio 2005 on Windows Vista, when you deploy an application to the default Publishing Location of http://localhost, you need to turn on the Windows feature IIS Metabase and IIS 6 configuration compatibility. You also have to be logged on as an Administrator; otherwise you will be unable to run setup.exe to install the project.

Online Application Quotas and Partial Trust Applications

If your ClickOnce application runs online instead of through an installation, it must fit within the quota set aside for online applications. Also, a network application that runs in partial trust, such as with a restricted set of security permissions, cannot be larger than half of the quota size.

For more information, and instructions about how to change the online application quota, see ClickOnce Cache Overview.

Versioning Issues

You may experience problems if you assign strong names to your assembly and increment the assembly version number to reflect an application update. Any assembly compiled with a reference to a strong-named assembly must itself be recompiled, or the assembly will try to reference the older version. The assembly will try this because the assembly is using the old version value in its bind request.

For example, say that you have a strong-named assembly in its own project with version 1.0.0.0. After compiling the assembly, you add it as a reference to the project that contains your main application. If you update the assembly, increment the version to 2.0.0.0, and try to deploy it without also recompiling the application, the application will not be able to load the assembly at run time.

This error can occur only if you are editing your ClickOnce manifests manually; you should not experience this error if you generate your deployment using Visual Studio 2005.

Specifying Individual .NET Framework Assemblies in the Manifest

Your application will fail to load if you have manually edited a ClickOnce deployment to reference an older version of a .NET Framework assembly. For example, if you added a reference to the System.Net assembly for a version of the .NET Framework prior to the version specified in the manifest, then an error would occur. In general, you should not attempt to specify references to individual .NET Framework assemblies, as the version of the .NET Framework against which your application runs is specified as a dependency in the application manifest.

Manifest Parsing Issues

The manifest files used by ClickOnce are XML files, and they must be both well-formed and valid: they must obey the XML syntax rules and only use elements and attributes defined in the relevant XML schema.

Something that can cause problems in a manifest file is selecting a name for your application that contains a special character, such as a single- or double quotation mark. The application's name is part of its ClickOnce identity. ClickOnce currently does not parse identities containing special characters. If your application fails to activate, make sure that you are using only alphabetic and numeric characters for the name, and attempt to deploy it again.

If you have manually edited your deployment or application manifests, you may have unintentionally corrupted them. Corrupted manifest will prevent a correct ClickOnce installation. You can debug such errors at run time by clicking Details on the ClickOnce Error dialog box, and reading the error message in the log. The log will give you either of the following messages:

  • A description of a syntax error, and the line number and character position where the error occurs.

  • The name of an element or attribute used in violation of the manifest's schema. If you have added XML manually to your manifests, you will have to compare your additions to the manifest schemas. For more information, see ClickOnce Deployment Manifest and ClickOnce Application Manifest.

  • An ID conflict. Dependency references in deployment and application manifests must be unique in both their name and publicKeyToken attributes. If both attributes match between any two elements within a manifest, manifest parsing will not succeed.

Precautions When Manually Changing Manifests or Applications

When you update an application manifest, you must re-sign both the application manifest and the deployment manifest. The deployment manifest contains a reference to the application manifest that includes that file's hash and its digital signature.

Precautions with Deployment Provider Usage

The ClickOnce deployment manifest has a deploymentProvider property which points to the full path of the location from where the application should be installed and serviced:

<deploymentProvider codebase="http://myserver/myapp.application" />

This path is set when ClickOnce creates the application and is compulsory for installed applications. The path points to the standard location where the ClickOnce installer will install the application from and search for updates. If you use the xcopy command to copy a ClickOnce application to a different location, but do not change the deploymentProvider property, ClickOnce will still refer back to the original location when it tries to download the application.

If you want to move or copy an application you must also update the deploymentProvider path, so that the client actually installs from the new location. Updating this path is mostly a concern if you have installed applications. For online applications that are always launched through the original URL, setting the deploymentProvider is optional. If deploymentProvider is set, it will be honored; otherwise, the URL used to start the application will be used as the base URL to download application files.

NoteNote

Every time that you update the manifest you must also sign it again.

See Also

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