Click Once deployment holds promise as a way to combine good features of the web and the desktop. Many developers who have looked at promising technologies know that there is frequently a sting in the tail. After spending a lot of time evaluating a new technology a fatal problem is often found. (Sometimes called a gotcha.) Here's a summary of my rough analysis, it might help develop your own viewpoint.
First Published 22 September 2004
Last Edited 21 February 2006
A lot of applications are deployed as web sites because the developers have tried desktop deployment and find it unacceptable. Despite the superior speed and responsiveness of desktop programs the effort needed to deploy them simply kills the project. So even though desktop might seem much better the idea is trimmed down, and maybe dumbed down, into a website.
ClickOnce / No-Touch technology follows a number of other approaches intended to make smart and responsive programs available on the web. It does this by downloading programs over the Internet with the added benefit of trivial installation and trivial updating. It's not easy to do this well while satisfying the security concerns of the audience.
A Gotcha is a feature of a technology that makes it useless for a purpose even though it may look very good in other ways. These are not always easy to spot!! Computer technology has it's fair share of good ideas which have fatal gotchas. Experienced programmers can often relate stories about technologies that were tried and later abandoned because of some gotcha. Gotcha's can be very expensive!
.NET has had a technology intended to do this from the start. It has evolved from the early no-touch-deployment to Click Once available in the second edition. That evolution seems to have addressed shortcomings, but, I haven't yet noticed wide deployment. Why?
Rather than spend a lot of effort evaluating Click Once as I have with other technologies (like ASP, WebClasses and Java Applets) I have looked at the basics. Simple demographics. In other words, how many Internet users could use it today and how do I suspect the answer will change over time.
In my low effort evaluation I've noticed:
Given what interests me...
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