Windows Server 2008 – ClickOnce
When ever you install software on Windows Server 2008, investigate the capabilities of ClickOnce. Incidentally, ‘Click Once’ also provides a intriguing case study of how systems evolve and integrate.
Firstly a confession; originally, I thought that ClickOnce was a successor to MSI installer – wrong. ClickOnce is a web-based alternative to MSI. ClickOnce evolved from the ‘no touch’ concept developed in Visual Studio. Perhaps the phrase, web based application helps, to pigeon hole ClickOnce. I am sure when (if) you install internet packages, those Authenticode certificate messages ring a bell. ClickOnce can deliver such applications for your network users.
MSI Installer Packages
What’s new is integration between MSI and User Account Protection. The result is that you don’t have to logon as administrator to install MSI packages. If you need administrator’s rights, then Windows Server 2008 displays a dialog box to enter your password and so temporarily elevate your rights. A new trend is for the default behaviour to only install the package for the current user, not All Users. The ability to give everyone access is still there, but as an option not as the default. I imaging these strategies are for peer-to-peer networks, because if I were in charge I would deploy all software via Group Policies.
- ClickOnce applications are created or published by Visual Studio 2005.
- Authenticode certificates give users extra confidence.
- BITS can perform trickle installations of large applications in the background.
- User Account Protection allows you to install as an ordinary user, and just supply administrator credentials as needed.
- Restart Manager reduces the need for a reboot. Instead it just restarts the relevant services.
NTM will produce a neat diagram of your network topology. But that’s just the start;Network Topology Mapper can create an inventory of the hardware and software of your machines and network devices. Other neat features include dynamic update for when you add new devices to your network. I also love the ability to export the diagrams to Microsoft Visio.
Finally, Guy bets that if you test drive the Network Topology Mapper then you will find a device on your network that you had forgotten about, or someone else installed without you realizing!
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