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.

When to ClickOnce

First Published 22 September 2004

Last Edited 21 February 2006

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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.

.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:

  1. How rapidly the .NET CLR is spreading through a general Internet population. (The data is taken from analysis of browser strings from an web server.) (I've already decided that version 2 is what interests me.) Though it's early days the information is a good start.Prevalence of the .NET framework on browsers
  2. To get an idea of where it might go I've estimated how fast .NET 2 might spread in this browser population. This is represented in the three lines on the graph. These represent a high rate of growth, a low rate and an intermediate. (There is no attempted to account for changes like new operating systems...) This crude analysis is good enough (for the present). Anticipated growth of .NET 2


Given what interests me...

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