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Closer Look: Distributing Your Program on the Internet

In this lesson, you will learn how to use ClickOnce publishing to deploy your program to a Web server.

In the previous lesson, you learned how to publish a program to a CD-ROM or DVD-ROM. If you have access to a Web server, you can also use ClickOnce to publish your program so that it is available over the Internet.

In addition to making the program more widely available, publishing to a Web server allows you to take advantage of the automatic update capabilities of ClickOnce. If you later publish a new version of your program, the next time a user tries to run the program, he or she will be prompted to download and install the new version.

NoteNote

To publish to a Web server, the Web server must be running IIS (Internet Information Services), FrontPage Extensions must be installed, and you must have Administrative privileges in IIS.

Publishing to a Web server is very similar to publishing to a CD-ROM or DVD-ROM; you just need to make a few choices in the Publish Wizard.

One choice is whether the program will be available offline—that is, when the computer is not connected to the Internet. If you make the program available both online and offline, an entry is added to the Windows Start menu so that the user can launch the program. If you make the program available only online, the program is downloaded each time a user wants to run it; it is not added to the Start menu.

To publish to a Web server

  1. On the File menu, choose Open Project.

  2. In the Open Project dialog box, browse to any Windows Application project, and then click Open.

  3. Press F5 to run the project. If there are any errors, you will need to fix them before continuing.

  4. On the Debug menu, choose Stop Debugging.

  5. On the Build menu, choose Publish ProjectName, where ProjectName is the name of your project.

    The Publish Wizard is launched.

  6. On the Where do you want to publish the application? page of the Publish Wizard, enter the URL for the Web site on which you want to publish your program, for example, http://www.microsoft.com/myprogram.

    NoteNote

    To publish to a Web server, the Web server must be running IIS (Internet Information Services), FrontPage Extensions must be installed, and you must have Administrative privileges in IIS.

    Click Next to go to the next page of the wizard.

  7. On the Will the application be available offline? page, select Yes, this application is available online or offline, the default.

  8. Click Finish to publish the program.

    The program is published to the specified Web site, and an HTML page is created.

  9. On another computer, open Internet Explorer and navigate to the same URL you entered in Step 6; then click the Install link to install the program.

In this lesson, you learned how to publish a program to a Web site using ClickOnce publishing. At this point, you have several options for what to do next.

If you were unable to burn a CD-ROM or DVD-ROM, see Sending a Program in E-mail: Creating a Compressed (Zipped) File.

If you want to learn how to package prerequisites with your program, see Closer Look: Including Prerequisites with Your Program.

Otherwise, you are done with the lessons in the guided tour. You can go on to the next topic for some suggestions on other resources for learning more about Visual Basic.

Next Lesson: Moving Forward: Where Do I Go from Here?

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