Once an application is developed and if we want to distribute that application, we need to deploy that. Deployment is the process where we create an executable file which can be installed on any machine where the application can run. We can use the built-in deployment feature that comes with Visual Basic to create a Windows Installer file – a .msi file for the purpose of deploying applications.
Let’s look at the process with an example. Let’s assume we have a form with a TextBox and a Button. When the Button is clicked the TextBox should display “This application is Deployed”. Let’s name this application as Deploy. The code for the click event of the Button looks like this:
|Private Sub Button1_Click(By Val sender as System.Object, By Val e_
as System.EventArgs)Handles Button1.Click
TextBox1.Text=”This application is Deployed”
Next, we need to create an executable (exe) file for this application. To do that select Build->Build from the main menu which builds Deploy.exe. Next, we need to create an installer file for Deploy (which is the example) which is a file with .msi extension. To do that, select File->Add Project->New Project which opens the new project dialogue. Select “Setup and Deployment Projects” icon in the projects type box and Setup Wizard in the templates box. It looks like the image below.
Click OK to open the Setup Wizard. The Setup wizard window looks like the image below.
Click next on the above pane to take you to second pane in the Wizard. The new pane allows us to create deployment projects both for Windows and Web Applications. Here, select the radio button which says “Create a setup for Windows Application” as this is deploying a windows application and click next. It looks like the image below.
Clicking next opens a new pane which has options like Deploying only primary output from the project or both the project and source code or content files. Check the checkbox which you want, in this case check the checkbox that says “Primary Output from Deploy” and click next. It looks like the image below.
Clicking next opens a new pane which asks if you want any additional files to be added. If you wish, you can include other files, like an icon for the application. In this example don’t include any files and click next. It looks like the image below.
Doing that brings up the last pane of the Setup Wizard which looks like the image below. Click Finish on this pane.
Clicking finish opens up a File System window which looks like the image below.
This window allows us to create shortcuts to the application on the desktop and in our Programs Menu. To create a shortcut, right-click on the folder “User’s Desktop” and select “Create Shortcut to User’s Desktop“. Rename the shortcut to “Deployment”. If we want a shortcut to the application from our Programs Menu, right-click on “User’s Program Menu” folder and select “Create Shortcut to User’s Program Menu“. Rename the shortcut to “Deployment”. Once you are finished with it, click on “Application Folder” and open it’s properties. In the properties window set the property “Always Create” to True. Set the same for “User’s Desktop” and “User’s Programs Menu” folders. If you want any additional information to include with the set-up project, like the manufacturer, author etc, click on Setup1 project and open it’s properties. You can set additional information here. Once your are done with it build the project by right-clicking on Setup1 and selecting Build. This builds the application. The setup file is created in the debug folder of Setup1 project.