.NET application deployment questions



I have an application that I have finally (for various non-germane reasons)converted from VB6 to VB.NET 2010. I am well behind the curve and for thatI apologize. I am now faced with deploying the application on client systems. The basic requirements are as follows:

1. The solution consists of three programs (in addition to the installer):
a. The core application.
b. A program to analyze the installation for debugging purposes.
c. A program to update the installation, either from a CD/DVD or via the Internet.
2. There are two basic installation scenarios that should be supported:
a. Standalone workstation
b. A two-step process where the programs are installed on a network server and individual workstations are configured to run the programs from that server.
3. The .NET framework must be installed, if needed.
4. It must install modules (e.g., the Microsoft Excel 11.0 Object Library) to the global assembly cache.
5. For installations that will launch the application from a server, it must make whatever adjustments are needed to security authorizations for theworkstations.

I found an old Wrox book, Visual Basic .NET Deployment Handbook, which appears to address the relevant issues, but it is eleven years old and I have not been able to locate the downloadable code examples. I contacted APress, which bought this title from Wrox, but they no longer have the code. I havea slightly more recent copy (2003) of Microsoft’s Deploying .NET Applications: A Lifecycle Guide, but a lot has changed since it was published.

My questions are these:

1. Are there more recent guides to installation that cover the full rangeof issues encountered in installing .NET applications on Windows 7/8 machines?
2. Is there a best (yet affordable and relatively easy to learn) tool fordeveloping .NET application installers? Both options that ship with VisualStudio seem limited.
3. Would the code examples from the Wrox book still have any relevance (seriously doubtful) and, if so, does anyone know how I could get the code for this specific book?

Thank you for any help you can give.

Bill Buntain

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