It's a beautiful Pre-Conference morning at Microsoft TechEd Developer 2008 in the Orlando Convention Center. The pre-conference day does not have the same hustle and bustle as the full conference so it's a good day to get your bearings. Today was the day to checkin at kiosk and interactive theater.
In the Technical Learning Center (TLC) on the convention floor, there is a blue section that includes four segments of Microsoft: Architecture (ARC), Developer Tools and Languages (TLA), Web and User Experience (WUX), and Windows and Frameworks (WIN). In the Windows and Frameworks section, there are a set of kiosks where technical experts in an area can converse with customers. Windows Installer and ClickOnce are covered in the Windows Forms kiosk.
At the staff training, Hemchander Sannidhanam and I met up for the first time at the conference. Hem is the principal dev on the Windows Installer 4.5 release. He has an Interactive Theater talk on Windows Installer 4.0 (Vista only) and Windows Installer 4.5 (out of band release to XP SP2 and above) on Friday.
Hem and I met our kiosk mate, Keith Elder, after the staff training. Keith is an Most Valuable Professional (MVP) who also works at Quicken Loans. Keith's expertise included Windows Communication Foundation, Windows Workflow Foundation, Smart Clients in a Service Oriented Architecture, and ClickOnce. Keith also has a blog cast at Deep Fried Bytes.
Among the comments on Keith's deployment experience, he said ClickOnce is great but it needs a few things. The primary ask was the ability to choose a specific location for his application to install to. He has applications that need to poke through the firewall and the ability to poke through a firewall is dependent on the path of the application. That ClickOnce auto-generates and instances the application location in the cache causes ongoing troubles configuring the firewall.
When asked about the need to deploy assemblies into the GAC, Keith said they batched up the IT distributions and they take about a week to propagate through. I'd suggested Keith consider the Windows Installer credential free patching feature which would allow him to distribute updates with his ClickOnce install without waiting for the IT distribution.