Using ClickOnce to Deploy .NET Apps - Page 1
       by kirupa  |  23 September 2006

The previous page covered deploying an application using a wizard-based approach. In this page I will discuss how to tweak the settings beyond what the Publish Wizard can provide.

Tweaking ClickOnce
There are many cool features in ClickOnce that I have not covered yet. To access the advanced properties, go to Project and select "ClickOnceDemo Properties..." The properties tab will appear in your workspace:

[ the Project Properties view ]

There are several main categories of tweaks you can perform, and many of those categories have sub-options to further tweak your published application. I am not going to cover all of them, but I will cover those that I think you will be most interested in.

Note - More Resources

I have provided a list of ClickOnce Resources at the end of this tutorial where you can hack at the nitty-gritty details that I omit from this tutorial.

Specifying an Application Icon
If you do not specify an icon, your application will feature a generic, default Windows icon. To use a more appropriate icon, select the Application tab from the left and click on the [...] button next to the Icon text field to browse for an icon file.

[ specifying an icon ]

If your icon is inside a resource file, you can select the option below the Icon text field and browse for the appropriate file that way.

Checking for Application Updates
When users use your application, you may want them to use the latest version of your application. In the past, it required your users visiting your web site and downloading the latest update. With ClickOnce, you can automatically notify users when an update is available when they launch your application.

To enable Application Updates, click on the Updates button from the Publish tab. The Application Updates window should appear. Check the box labeled This application should check for updates:

[ enable automatic Application Updates ]

You can choose to check for and install any updates before your application launches or after your application launches. Whichever choice you make, the following screenshot shows what users would see if they were running an outdated version of your application:

[ notification when a newer version is available ]

As you can see, users have the option of skipping the update or pressing OK and downloading/installing the update.

So how does your application know whether an update has been made? Updates are determined by your Version number. If you look at the content in your Publish tab, you will find an are labeled Publish Version:

[ specifying the version number ]

Each time you publish, and you have Automatically increment revision with each publish checked, your version number changes by at least one. You can manually change the values also of course, so you may choose to update the Major number instead. In any case, your application checks to see if the version available on the web is more recent. If the version is more recent, then you are prompted with the Update Available window you saw a few paragraphs earlier.

Onwards to the next page!

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