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Deploying an Application

The .NET Framework provides several basic features that make it easier to deploy a variety of applications. This includes ClickOnce deployment.

The following basic .NET Framework features help make deployment easier:

  • No-impact applications

  • Controlled code sharing

  • Side-by-side versioning

  • On-the-fly updates

  • Partially trusted code

For more information, see .NET Framework Deployment Features.

Deployment is the process by which you distribute a finished application or component to be installed on other computers. In Visual Studio, deployment can be done based on Microsoft Windows Installer technology or on ClickOnce technology. For more information, see Choosing a Deployment Strategy.

An application can be packaged as a single assembly, as a collection of assemblies, as cabinet (CAB) files, as a Microsoft Windows Installer 2.0 package, or as an installer package in another format. For more information, see Deployment Scenarios for .NET Framework Applications.

An assembly is a collection of types and resources that are built to work together and form a logical unit of functionality. Assemblies form the fundamental unit of deployment, version control, reuse, activation scoping, and security permissions, and they provide the common language runtime (CLR) with the information it must have to be aware of type implementations.

This table shows common deployment tasks.

To

See

Create an assembly

Creating Assemblies

Sign an assembly with a strong name

How to: Sign an Assembly with a Strong Name

Sign an assembly, but defer assigning a private key until a later time

How to: Delay Sign an Assembly (Visual Studio)

Create a public/private key pair to use in creating a strong name

How to: Create a Public/Private Key Pair

View binding information in the log file

Assembly Binding Log Viewer (Fuslogvw.exe)

Deploy a Windows Forms control

How to: Develop a Simple Windows Forms Control

Deploy an application for COM access

Deploying an Application for COM Access

Deploy a .NET Framework application

Deploying .NET Framework Applications

Versioning

Versioning, which records the specific version of an assembly and the versions of dependent assemblies in the assembly's manifest, is performed only on assemblies with strong names. Strong-named assemblies have identifiers that consist of the assembly's identity plus a public key and a digital signature.

By default, the CLR attempts to locate and bind with the exact version of the assembly that the application was built with, although this behavior can be overridden by configuration file settings.

For more information, see Assemblies in the Common Language Runtime, Assembly Versioning, and Strong-Named Assemblies.

ClickOnce deployment enables you to publish Windows applications to a Web server or network file share for simplified installation. When you want to publish a Windows application to a network server, Visual Studio automatically generates the XML manifest files necessary for ClickOnce and publishes the application to the specified server.

ClickOnce applications are self-contained and install on a per-user basis, which means no administrative rights are required. Applications deployed using ClickOnce technology run with a limited set of permissions based on a security zone. For more information, see ClickOnce Deployment and Security.

ClickOnce applications can be self-updating; you can control when and how updates are deployed.

This table shows tasks associated with ClickOnce deployment.

To

See

Choose which ClickOnce deployment strategy (installing from the Web or a network share, installing from CD, or starting from the Web or a network share) to use with your application

Choosing a ClickOnce Deployment Strategy

Choose which ClickOnce update strategy to use with your application

Choosing a ClickOnce Update Strategy

Deploy a ClickOnce application

How to: Publish a ClickOnce Application

Choose whether to use a ClickOnce data directory, isolated storage, or other local files when reading and writing data

Accessing Local and Remote Data in ClickOnce Applications

Discover what prerequisites must be met before successfully deploying an application

Deploying Prerequisites (Visual Studio)

Specify an alternate location for deployment updates

How to: Specify an Alternate Location for Deployment Updates

Elevate a ClickOnce application's permission level on a client computer

Trusted Application Deployment Overview

Difficulties when you deploy applications by using ClickOnce may be caused by HTTP compression issues, manifest parsing issues, server configuration issues, and versioning issues. For more information, see Troubleshooting ClickOnce Deployments.

Microsoft Windows Installer technology creates installers that give you complete control over the installation process.

This table shows tasks associated with Windows Installer deployment.

To

See

Distribute files or applications on CD-ROM or other media

Deployment Via Distributable Media

Create a new setup project or add an existing deployment project to a solution

How to: Create or Add a Setup Project

Create a new .cab file for Web download or add an existing one to a solution

How to: Create or Add a Cab Project

Create a merge module for a component

How to: Add Merge Modules to a Deployment Project

Deploy a Windows-based application to another computer

Walkthrough: Deploying a Windows-based Application

Create a custom action to send a user to a Web site following installation

Walkthrough: Creating a Custom Action

Pass data to a dynamic property during installation using a custom action

Walkthrough: Using a Custom Action to Display a Message at Installation

Use a custom action to pre-compile an assembly during installation

Walkthrough: Using a Custom Action to Compile a Binary to Native Code at Installation

Use a custom action to create a database during installation

Walkthrough: Using a Custom Action to Create a Database at Installation

Create a Web application that can be redirected to target a different XML Web service

Walkthrough: Redirecting an Application to Target a Different Web Service at Installation

Deploy files and applications to a Web server

Deployment of a Web Setup Project

Concepts

Other Resources

Windows Installer Deployment Walkthroughs

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