Okay, time to catch up a bit.
This last week I've been working on a DCR (fixing up the signing property page) so I haven't had time to blog. Now that it's finished, I'm going to make up for lost time and get two quick blog entries out there.
ClickOnce isn't available in the Express version of VS. This means that you won't be able to right click on a project and hit "Publish" and step through a nice wizard and have VS push your app out to a remote server. However, the generation of the ClickOnce manifests is part of the MSBuild system and is available to anyone with the .Net framework installed. You can take an Express project and use MSBuild to create the manifests you need to use ClickOnce today. Here's how you do it:
<InstallUrl>[where your app will be installed from]</InstallUrl>
<AssemblyOriginatorKeyFile>[name of the snk file]</AssemblyOriginatorKeyFile>
The first property will do what it says: turn on manifest generation. The second property is where you want your app to be installed from; this will be placed in the manifests you generate and it can be a UNC path or a web URL. The final property is the path to the snk file you made in step one. The path can be absolute or relative to the project directory.
There are a couple of issues you'll need to keep in mind, however. First, there is a known issue where when you load that modified project into Visual Studio, we lose the ClickOnce properties when you save. You'll have to re-add them manually. Also, the manifests you create are strong named signed and ClickOnce will block the install of strong named signed manifests that request full trust permissions (like the ones we're making here) over the internet in Beta 1. We're working on ways for small shops to use ClickOnce over the internet in Beta 2 but the best way to get things going in Beta 1 is to zip up the files and place that zip on the internet and your users can download the zip, unzip it, and install the app. You'll still get all the benefits of ClickOnce updates and app management.
Leave your questions and comments below!