ClickOnce and real deployment
In the real world deployment to clients directly from a development environment is not exactly the normal or advised way to go. Yet ClickOnce deployment, neat as it is, seems to assume that you deploy straight from development to a production environment. In most applications I work on we take a more sane approach and development deploys to a test/acceptance environment. Only after tests have concluded is the software released to the live production environment.
Yet in the case of ClickOnce you need to specify the install location in Visual Studio 2005, hardly the tool to move an assembly from test/acceptance into a production environment.
Fortunately there is a tool for the job and it is Mage, or MageUi depending on your preferences and needs. Mage is the command line utility to use when updating or creating a manifest, use this to automate the deployment of ClickOnce applications. To get started MageUi is the more interesting of the two.
Lets take a quick look
- Make sure you have a ClickOnce deployment.
- Open the .Net framework SDK command prompt.
- Start MageUi. Starting Mage without any parameters also MageUi.
- Now open the deployment manifest. This is the ".application" file in the root of the deployment folder.
- Select Deployment Options.
- Now you see the URL used to start the application. Here you can change it from a test/acceptance location to the actual deployment location.
Besides updating the URL you can also update other aspects of the deployment like update behavior and main application.