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Deployment Models

Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Tools for the Microsoft Office System supports deploying solutions to a local computer or to a network location. Document-level customizations for Microsoft Office Word 2003 and Microsoft Office Excel 2003 are based around documents. You can deploy these solutions using one of three main models, depending on where you put the document and the assembly. Application-level add-ins are available to a specific Microsoft Office application. You can deploy add-ins using one of two main models, depending on where you put the assembly. For more information about document-level customizations and application-level add-ins, see Office Solutions Architecture Overview.

Deployment Models for Document-Level Customizations

There are three main deployment models for Word and Excel customizations. The following table summarizes these models.

Microsoft Office 2003 Document Location Assembly Location

Local

Network Share (UNC) or Web Server (HTTP)

Local

Local

Network Share or Web Server

Network Share or Web Server

Each deployment model has benefits and considerations that you should evaluate before you decide how to deploy your solution.

Local/Network Deployment Model

This model involves distributing copies of the document or workbook to each individual user's computer and putting the assembly on a network share. One method of distributing the document is to put a template on a server and have each user create a local copy from that.

This model combines easy maintenance of the assembly with flexibility for the end user, who can do some personalization of the document text. For deployment details, see How to: Deploy Office Solutions.

Benefits

  • End users can customize their own copies of the document, for example adding their own names and phone numbers to the boilerplate. Such customization is more difficult if everyone uses a common, shared document.

  • Users can work with their documents offline.

  • Users can save documents in convenient locations, such as a special documents folder or the desktop.

  • Users can make local backup copies of documents.

Considerations

  • An administrator must set up security policy for the network share.

  • You must distribute copies of the document to each user whenever the document is changed, or notify them to create a new local copy from the template.

  • If you use an HTTP or HTTPS path to access the assembly, the assembly is stored in Internet Explorer's cache. If a user is not connected to the network when he or she opens the customized document, the document works using cached assembly information. However, if the user has not previously opened the document at least once, or has cleared the Internet browser cache, the assembly will not be on the computer and cannot be run. For more information, see Offline Model for Office Solutions.

  • If you use an HTTP or HTTPS path to access the document, the assembly will load only if the Browse in same window option for .doc or .xls files is selected in Windows Explorer. This option is used by Internet Explorer to determine whether the document is hosted inside the current window or in a separate window. If the document is hosted in a separate window, the assembly does not load and run. For more information, see Troubleshooting in Office at Run Time.

Local/Local Deployment Model

The local/local model involves distributing copies of the document or workbook and copies of the assembly to each individual user's computer. This model is best if you do not anticipate many changes to either the document or the assembly, or if the network is frequently unavailable. For deployment details, see How to: Deploy Solutions for Offline Use.

Benefits

  • No network share is needed.

  • The document and assembly are always available on the local machine regardless of the state of the network.

Considerations

  • If changes are made to the document or to the assembly, the updated solution must be distributed to each user.

Network/Network Deployment Model

The network/network model involves putting the document or workbook and the solution assembly on the network for end users to work with. This model is best if your users do a lot of collaborative work, or if the document or workbook and assembly are updated frequently. For deployment details, see How to: Deploy Solution Files Using the Publish Wizard.

Benefits

  • Having only one master copy of the assembly and document makes it easier to do updates.

  • Collaboration and document sharing is easier when the document or template is available on a portal server, such as SharePoint Portal Server.

Considerations

  • Users must be connected to the network.

  • In the case where anyone can upload to the location of the customized document or template, for example, on a SharePoint Portal Server site being used for group collaboration, you cannot safely trust the document and the assembly using the location as evidence.

  • Users must be granted permissions to the document to open it from a network location. For more information, see Security Requirements to Run Office Solutions.

Deployment Models for Application-Level Add-ins

There are two deployment models for add-ins created by using Visual Studio Tools for Office, depending on whether the add-in assembly resides on the network or on the local computer. Both deployment models require that the application manifest and required registry keys be installed on the end user computer. For more information, see Deploying Application-Level Add-ins.

Network Deployment Model

This model involves putting the add-in assemblies on a server. For deployment details, see How to: Deploy Office Solutions.

Benefits

  • Clients can automatically receive add-in updates by restarting the Office application, or by disabling and then enabling the add-in through the COM Add-Ins dialog box in the Office application.

Considerations

  • An administrator must set up security policy for the network share.

Local Deployment Model

This model involves distributing the add-in assembly to each user's computer. For deployment details, see How to: Deploy Office Solutions.

Benefits

  • You can use the Setup project that is provided with application-level project templates to deploy the add-in assembly and create the required registry keys. For more information, see Setup Projects for Application-Level Add-ins.

Considerations

  • The assemblies must be given full trust on the user's computer. The Setup project that is provided with application-level project templates does not include a default action for creating the required security policy. For more information, see Setup Projects for Application-Level Add-ins.

  • If changes are made to the add-in assemblies, the updated assemblies must be distributed to each user.

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