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CHAPTER 9 CLICKONCE TOOLS AND SCENARIOS
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Figure 9-17. Signing the manifest files
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The Signing Options dialog box allows you to sign with an existing certificate or create a new one. Figure 9-17 also shows the Preferences dialog box that you open by selecting File Preferences. This dialog box configures two global signing options. You can tell the application to sign the manifest file(s) upon saving and also define a default certificate file to use for signing files. This completes the discussion concerning the creation of the application manifest file. We ll now talk about the deployment manifest.
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Creating the Deployment Manifest
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To create a deployment manifest, click the New Deployment Manifest toolbar button. Figure 9-18 shows the new deployment manifest UI panes.
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CHAPTER 9 CLICKONCE TOOLS AND SCENARIOS
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Figure 9-18. UIs used to create/edit the deployment manifest
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The Name and Description panes are self-explanatory. The Deployment Options pane has several interesting features. The first is that you can configure the application type or deployment mode of the application. Recall that you can deploy a ClickOnce application as an offline or online application. An offline application is set to an application type of Install Locally, and online applications are set to Online Only. The second interesting feature on this pane is that you use the Start Location text box to specify where the application is going to be launched from (that is, the ultimate location of the deployment manifest). The Start Location setting is equivalent to the Publish Location setting in the Publish tab of the Project Designer in Visual Studio 2005. The Update Options pane defines how the application will be updated, if at all. Note that this pane captures the same information that the Updates dialog box captures in Visual Studio 2005. The Application Reference dialog box associates the deployment manifest to the application manifest. The Select Manifest button allows you to browse to and select a .manifest file. After you fill out all the panes associated with the deployment manifest and select an application manifest, you can save the deployment manifest. This concludes the discussion of the MAGE application. We ll now discuss how you can use MSBuild and ClickOnce to make your deployments easier.
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CHAPTER 9 CLICKONCE TOOLS AND SCENARIOS
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Using MSBuild with ClickOnce
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In the previous section, we talked about the MAGE tool. We discussed the GUI version of the tool; however, we mentioned that the tool also has a command-line interface. The commandline interface is useful for situations where you need to script the creation of the ClickOnce manifest files. So when would you need to script the creation of manifest files Scripting might be helpful in several situations; the primary reason is to automate the entire build and deployment of an application. For example, it s not uncommon for deployment engineers to script the entire build and publish process. Specifically, the steps might be something like the following: 1. Get the latest version of an application from the source control system. 2. Build the application. 3. Create the ClickOnce manifests. 4. Publish the application. With the MAGE tool, you can do step 3, but the other steps have to be scripted using some other technique. That s where MSBuild comes in you can use MSBuild to create a fully customized ClickOnce deployment. To see how, you ll build a simple Windows Forms application and create the ClickOnce deployment using MSBuild.
Creating the ClickOnce Deployment Using MSBuild
Thus far, you have published ClickOnce applications using Visual Studio 2005 and the MAGE tool. Now you ll see how to do the same using MSBuild. You know from the earlier chapters that you can write an MSBuild script from scratch and execute it. To keep things simple, this example will use the project file generated by Visual Studio 2005. To use MSBuild to create the ClickOnce deployment, you ll need to perform three steps: 1. Create a Windows Forms application. 2. Set properties on the Publish, Security, and Signing tabs under the Project Designer. 3. Execute the publish target using MSBuild. The first step is obvious, but what about the second step That too is a requirement because you have to modify the project file with elements such as the following: The publish URL Application update configuration Security requirements Signing details Application prerequisites You can guess some of these (via default values) but not others. For example, how will MSBuild know where you want to publish the application Thus, after you create an application, you need to modify the ClickOnce-related tabs with enough information so that the publish target can execute without errors. To do that, you need to provide at least the following:
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