Deployment of a Web Setup Project
In addition to creating Windows Installers for distribution via traditional media, the deployment tools in Visual Studio also support deployment to a Web server. Using deployment to install files on a Web server provides an advantage over simply copying files, in that deployment handles any issues with registration and configuration automatically.
In addition, installers for Windows applications can be deployed to a Web server so that users can later download and run them from a Web site.
To deploy a Web application to a Web server, you create a Web Setup project, build it, copy it to the Web server computer, and run the installer to install the application on the server using the settings defined in your Web Setup project.
In order to deploy to a Web server, you must have administrative access privileges for that computer. For more information, see Web Pages and Projects.
In addition, the behavior of some administrative settings with regard to deployment may not be obvious. If the Internet Information Services (IIS) Write property for a virtual directory is disabled, files will still be deployed to that directory; the Write property only controls the ability for users to upload files.
To deploy an application for download from a Web server, you create a Web Setup project and add the project output group for the application to the Web Setup project in the File System Editor. After building the installer, you copy it to the Web server computer, where it can then be downloaded via a Web browser.
When an installer is made available for download, there is no guarantee that the Windows Installer run-time files will be available on the user's computer. You should always make sure that the run-time files are also available for download by specifying a location in the Web Bootstrapper Settings dialog box. For more information, see Web Bootstrapper Settings Dialog Box.