Deploying a B-B application over the web.

Here is the scenario:
We are developing a business application for a niche market (the market is independent practitioners as individuals and small teams - the sector is not important here)
The customer base is unlikely to be very large - possibly in the hundreds or low thousands.

The application:
1. Is a Windows Forms app written in VB in Visual Studio
2. Uses the DevExpress ORM
3. The app needs to run for multiple users (small numbers - say 10 maximum) - but use a shared database
4. We would like to deploy from a web site  - currently I am using Clickonce to publish to a test site - and it seems to work OK so far - but -
5. - there is a problem with deploying the database - Each Clickonce update creates a new folder and this means that any existing data is overwritten - also we want to supply some pre-built objects stored in the database

Our question is quite a wide ranging one:-
Can anyone help us to decide on a good deployment strategy that
a) allows easy updates and also
b) has piracy protection

All suggestions welcome
JedeyeAsked:
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SStoryCommented:
I don't know about DevXepress, but for piracy protection try obfuscating your app and then

http://desaware.com/products/licensingsystem/index.aspx

for licensing. The licensing requires a hit to a webserver for approval. Or if you prefer you could employ dongles instead--with a different strategy.

Well, you might write your own update strategy....I did some time ago. Mine had an XML file that I defined. It had various sections that told what version of manifest this was, files with sizes, and date time stamps or versions--can't recall.  The software would hit the website download this file, check to see if it were a newer version and if so, store it. Then it would go through that file updating the things listed.  If the actual .exe needed updating this was actually handled by the multiple .exe method.
The app icon ran a stub app, that downloaded updates and checked...if the app exe needed to be updated it would be downloaded and replace the existing...after that or even if it was up to date the stub exe would call the app exe.

It worked great and the beauty was that it was built on my own technology that I understood.
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