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Publishing a New VB application without a setup program

Posted on 2011-03-16
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Last Modified: 2012-08-13
I'm using Visual Basic Express 2008.  Every time I create a new version of an application, I publish it, a new setup program is created, I go to every computer on our network, uninstall the old version and run the setup program to install the new version.  Instead, I want to put the new .exe (and whatever other files are required) on a Server computer so everyone on the LAN can run the program using a shortcut to this executable.  This way I won't have to go to each computer that runs the program.  However, when I specify a network location as the output path I get a message that says the path is not trusted.  Also, I tried building the application to the default \bin\releases\ folder and copying the files to the server but the program wouldn't run from the server or any of the clients if I do that.  What's the best way to publish a new version of a vb program without having to change any of the client computers?
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Question by:Declan_Basile
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Expert Comment

by:MikeToole
ID: 35154938
What you're looking for is "ClickOnce" deployment.
The express editions of Visual Studio don't have this on the menu, but it seems it can still be done:
http://blogs.msdn.com/b/vbteam/archive/2008/10/02/looking-for-setup-and-deployment-project-templates.aspx

Google ClickOnce for more info.
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by:Declan_Basile
ID: 35158626
Thank you, the link was helpful.  Should I select for the application *NOT* to be available offline?  Otherwise I'm worried that I'd have to unistall and reinstall the program on every client computer every time I publish a new version.  Would I create a problem if I selected "copy local" for microsoft office dll's that the program requires?  I'm worried that if the computer running the setup program already has office on it (either the same version or a different version of office) that this would cause a conflict if the files are copied to the client computer resulting in the computer having more than one copy and potentially more than one version of a dll file.
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MikeToole earned 500 total points
ID: 35159043
ClickOnce is designed to check for new versions automatically when an application is installed in OffLine mode.  
It can be configured to check every time the user executes the application, or once a week, every x weeks, etc.
If you've published a new version (in the same way as the first one) it should auto install the changes.
However, I don't have experience of complex installations - e.g. installing Office as part of the application - so I'm not sure of the details there, but there's more about it here:
http://www.code-magazine.com/articleprint.aspx?quickid=0601041&printmode=true
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Author Closing Comment

by:Declan_Basile
ID: 35160543
I just finished reading the article.  It went over exactly what I needed to know.  It was perfect, I think because it was written by the ClickOnce Project Manager at Microsoft.  The link is much appreciated.  How did you find this article?  I searched all over the internet and didn't find anything this useful.
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LVL 27

Expert Comment

by:MikeToole
ID: 35160806
Declan,
I knew that ClickOnce existed and that it was aimed at the situation you described, although I've never used it myself.
First step was to Google "ClickOnce" with Visual Studio Express to get information on how to use it when you don't have the full product.
Second step was to look into a Visual Studio book I have to confirm my understanding of the features, then to Google (or was that Bing?) for more detail.
Glad to help,
Mike
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