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Cross Store Digital Dashboard Deployment in Office XP Developer

This content is no longer actively maintained. It is provided as is, for anyone who may still be using these technologies, with no warranties or claims of accuracy with regard to the most recent product version or service release.
 

Reza Chitsaz and Lesleigh Watson
Microsoft Corporation

April 2001

Applies to:
   Microsoft® Office XP Developer

Summary: The ability to quickly and easily deploy your digital dashboard projects from one server to another is a great plus for developers. This article outlines two methods to facilitate this cross server deployment. However, it is important to understand that the deployment method described in the first approach provides a more robust implementation than that of the second approach. (4 printed pages)

Contents

Introduction
Approach 1: Application Deployment Wizard
Approach 2: Save Your Web Parts as DWP Files

Introduction

After you have designed, built, and tested your digital dashboard, you are ready to deploy it to your production server. Microsoft® Office XP Developer includes the ability to copy dashboard projects from one location to another on the same server. However, Office XP Developer does not support the deployment of digital dashboards from one server to another. To facilitate deployment of dashboard solutions onto the production server, the following two approaches are outlined in this paper:

  • Use the Application Deployment Wizard within the Microsoft® Web Storage System SDK to package and deploy your dashboard project onto the production server.
  • Save your Web Parts as XML Interchange format (.dwp) and import them into a newly created dashboard project on the production server.

The first approach utilizes the Application Deployment Wizard, which will package and deploy all of a digital dashboard’s items, such as sub dashboards and Web Parts and all of their associated properties, in a simple two-step process. The second approach does not facilitate deployment of a digital dashboard to another server; however, it makes it possible for users to save Web Parts to their local file systems in an XML Interchange format (.dwp) and then import them into a new dashboard project on the production server.

Note
   
With the latter approach, no properties of the digital dashboard will be carried over into the newly created project.

This article will guide you through both approaches of deploying a digital dashboard from one server to another.

Approach 1: Application Deployment Wizard

The Application Deployment Wizard can be used to package the Web Storage System application logic and data into a single CAB file. That file can be deployed onto your production server by using the Deploy Application option that is part of the same wizard.

The Web Storage System Developer Tools (renamed to: Exchange SDK Development Tools) is a Web download.

After you have installed the Web Storage System Developer Tools, there are two steps left to deploy your digital dashboard onto your production server—packaging and deploying.

Packaging your digital dashboard

Before you can deploy your digital dashboard, you must package it into a single CAB file. The following are the steps required in packaging your digital dashboard:

  1. Launch the Application Deployment Wizard by clicking the Start button, then pointing to Programs, then Web Storage System SDK, then Web Storage System Tools, and then clicking Application Deployment Wizard.
  2. On the Welcome screen, select the Package Application option and click Next.
  3. Click Next on the instruction page.
  4. Type in the URL of your digital dashboard, including the dashboard folder name; for example, http://<MyServerName>/public/<MyFolderName>. Select Include all sub-folders to make sure sub dashboards and their Web Parts get included in the packaging process, and then click Next.
  5. Enter your login information for the server. If your test and production servers are on different domains, login information should include <domain>/<user name>.
  6. Select the Package to single CAB file option, enter a location and name for the CAB file; for example, c:\temp\dashboard.cab, and click Next.
  7. Use the default schema filter file sampleFilter.xml, and click Next to begin packaging your dashboard application.

Deploying your digital dashboard

Now that you have packaged your digital dashboard project into a single CAB file, you are ready to deploy it onto your production server using the following steps:

  1. Launch the Application Deployment Wizard by clicking the Start button, then pointing to Programs, then Web Storage System SDK, then Web Storage System Tools, and then clicking Application Deployment Wizard.
  2. In the Welcome screen, select the Deploy Application option and click Next.
  3. Type in the URL of your production server, including the dashboard folder name you want to use; for example, http://<MyServerName>/public/<MyFolderName>.
  4. Click Next.
  5. Enter your login information for the server. If your test and production servers are on different domains, login information should include <domain>/<user name>.
  6. Select the Deploy from single CAB file option, enter the location and name of the source CAB file; for example, c:\temp\dashboard.cab, and click Next to begin deployment of your dashboard application.
  7. Click Finish.

Now that you have deployed your digital dashboard onto the production server, you should rename the Digital Dashboard Project file (DDP file), which is located in your dashboard folder, to match your dashboard folder name. For example, if your dashboard folder name on your production server is MyDashboard, you should rename the DDP file inside the MyDashboard folder to MyDashboard.DDP. Double-clicking the DDP file now will open the production server dashboard in Office XP Developer and create a solution file on your client computer.

As you can see, the Application Deployment Wizard can be used to package and deploy dashboard applications from one server to another. You even can package and deploy your dashboard application from an Microsoft® Exchange 2000 Server onto a Microsoft® SharePoint™ Portal Server or vice versa.

Approach 2: Save Your Web Parts as DWP Files

This approach does not deploy your dashboard to a different server but instead makes it possible for you to save your Web Parts to your local file system and then import them into a dashboard project that you create on your production server. After you have built and tested your Web Parts on your test server, you save the Web Parts on your local file system as DWP (Dashboard Web Part) files, and then you import them into your dashboard on the production server. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Use Office XP Developer to create a new dashboard project on your production server.
  2. After you have created the production server dashboard, use Office XP Developer to open the dashboard project that lives on your test server.
  3. In the Solution Explorer, select the Web Part(s) that you want to save to the production server.
  4. On the File menu, click Save Copy of * As (where * is the name of the Web Part selected).
  5. In the Save Copy As dialog box, change the Save as type to DWP file (*.dwp) by selecting it from the list.
  6. Enter a file name for your Web Part.
  7. In the Save in location, enter a path on your local file system.
  8. Click Save.

XML is the interchange format for Web Parts; as such, after clicking Save, your Web Part and its properties will be saved as XML with a DWP extension. Any resources associated with the Web Part also will be saved to a folder in the destination given as part of the Save As DWP command.

The following Web Part naming conventions will make it possible for you to write reusable and functional Web Parts that can be readily exported to and imported from your Office XP Developer dashboard projects.

  • To associate a resources folder with a Web Part, you must follow the _Files naming convention. For example, if you name your Web Part myWebPart.HTM, the associated resources folder for this Web Part should be labeled myWebPart_Files.
  • You should use the _WPR_ (Web Part Resource) token when making references to the resources folder of a Web Part. For example, if you want to render an image that you have imported into the resources folder of a Web Part, use the following naming convention: <img src="_WPR_\myImage.jpg">.
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