Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
is most suitable for .NET applications, because assemblies almost never rely on
registry entries created during installation. Deploying an application with XCOPY
deployment entails copying the relevant assemblies to the client computer. These
applications can launch immediately because of the self-describing nature of .NET
assemblies. Assemblies contain all the information necessary to load themselves,
along with locating and loading all required dependencies. The XCOPY approach
is known as zero-impact deployment because the target computer will not break
with varying configurations of the registry or component. You can also uninstall
the application simply by deleting the relevant files without worrying about any
negative side effects. XCOPY deployment is ideal for situations where the applica-
tion is relatively self-contained and can be executed manually. Other situations
invite an alternative approach.
For situations that require a more robust deployment solution, Windows Installer
is the best choice. Windows Installer technology produces installer files with .msi
and .exe extensions that execute an installation process that installs files to specific
location, and performs system configuration and registration, and does so through
a user interface that is simple enough for most users to understand. By wrapping
a complex installation into a user-friendly process, you reduce the total cost of
ownership (TCO) by allowing the users to correctly install and configure your
applications. Windows Installer can even provide a mechanism to repair corrupt-
ed installations if the need arises, making maintenance and support easier than
ever. Corrupted installations using the XCOPY approach require that you manu-
ally replace the bad files or the application in its entirety. Windows Installer also
provides an automatic rollback feature, ensuring that all installed files are cleanly
uninstalled if an installation fails. This feature goes one step further by bringing
the machine back to the state it was in before the installation was initiated.
Visual Studio Installer (VSI) is a technology integrated into Visual Studio 2005
that utilizes the Windows Installer engine. Because MSI installers depend on the
existence of the Windows Installer engine, this dependency can also be installed by
VSI before installation continues.
The MSI format resembles a database structure, where setup information is stored along with com-
pressed data files.
In addition to utilizing the Windows Installer engine and manipulating the
Windows file system, Visual Studio Installer also provides a number of additional
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