Recently, I’m working on a desktop application. Deployment is always a challenge for the desktop application. There is ClickOnce for .Net application, but it doesn’t work perfectly. You can find more issues that are faced by GitHub for WIndows Team. I trust the Github guys and want to give it a try Squirrel for ClickOnce replacement.

The Application

I create a WPF application. To be more real-world-like application, I integrate with awesomium in the application. After I installed Aweominum SDK and add it to my application. I set Copy Local to true to deploy all awesomium binaries to the bin folder. The MainWindow.xaml file will looks like:

        xmlns:awe="" x:Class="Banshee.MainWindow"
        Title="MainWindow" Height="800" Width="1024">



and, I update AssemblyInfo.cs with

[assembly: AssemblyVersion("1.0.0")]
[assembly: AssemblyFileVersion("1.0.0")]
[assembly: AssemblyInformationalVersion("1.0.0")]

That’s it! This is the only changes I made in File -> New WPF application (.Net Framework 4).

Squirrel (a.k.a Shimmer)

I follow QuickStart from the wiki of Squirrel. But when I reach to Publish Release state, the New-Release cmdlet is not found. After spending a few hours, I notice that Squirrel package is not ready yet (as of 25 April 2014) and there is already pull request about it. So, I just use old version Shimmer by Install-Package Shimmer. It will download all the dependencies and open nuspec file for you.

Now, it is time to publish a release. I invoke New-Release and it ask me to build first. So, I build it and run New-Release again. Still got error! After researching a bit, I realize that it need to Enable Nuget Package Restore. I enable package restore, rebuild and run New-Release again. Now, it works!

It creates Releases folder under solution folder and put all the releases files. I’m lazy person, so I just double click the Setup.exe and install it. It works perfectly. Cool! But, when I check all the deployed binarys in the local appdata, it doesn’t include the awesomium binaries. I uninstall it from Control Panel and check AppData\Local for remaining files. All are cleanly uninstall.

To add all the awesomium binaries, I modify nuspec by adding files:

    <file src="bin\$configuration$\Awesomium.*.dll" target="lib\net40\" />
    <file src="bin\$configuration$\avcodec-53.dll" target="lib\net40\" />
    <file src="bin\$configuration$\avformat-53.dll" target="lib\net40\" />
    <file src="bin\$configuration$\avutil-51.dll" target="lib\net40\" />
    <file src="bin\$configuration$\awesomium.dll" target="lib\net40\" />
    <file src="bin\$configuration$\icudt.dll" target="lib\net40\" />
    <file src="bin\$configuration$\libEGL.dll" target="lib\net40\" />
    <file src="bin\$configuration$\libGLESv2.dll" target="lib\net40\" />
    <file src="bin\$configuration$\xinput9_1_0.dll" target="lib\net40\" />

I rebuild the solution, publish release and install again. When I check the deployed binaries, I can see all the awesomium binaries as well. So far, so good.

Setup IIS website

Now, it is time to host at IIS. I did: 1. Create a website with port 8080 and point to a folder called RTW. 2. Copy the files from Releases folder (NOT Release under bin) to RTW folder. 3. Download the setup file from something like: http://yourserver:8080/setup.exe and install it.

It is working too! Next, we need to test for update.

Updating itself

Now it is time to add update feature in our application. I hook Loaded event and add the following code to update itself:

private async void Window_Loaded(object sender, RoutedEventArgs e)
    var updateManager = new UpdateManager(@"http://yourserver:8080/", "Banshee", FrameworkVersion.Net40);
    using (updateManager)
        var updateInfo = await updateManager.CheckForUpdate().ToTask();
        if (updateInfo == null || !updateInfo.ReleasesToApply.Any())
            var releases = updateInfo.ReleasesToApply;
            await updateManager.DownloadReleasesAsync(releases, _ => { });
            await updateManager.ApplyReleasesAsync(updateInfo, _ => { });
  1. Uninstall the application
  2. Clear the Releases folder
  3. Clear RTW folder at server
  4. Rebuild the solution
  5. Publish new release with New-Release
  6. Copy all the release files to RTW folder
  7. Download and run setup.exe from the server.
  8. Boom! It Crashs!

After struggling a bit, I found that we need to give web access to the releases file in the web server. I add this web config to the web server and then it works.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
            <mimeMap fileExtension="." mimeType="text/plain" />
            <mimeMap fileExtension=".nupkg" mimeType="application/zip" />

Releasing new version

For new version, I did:

  1. Update the Title just to make sure it is updated to new version
  2. Increase version to 1.0.1 in AssemblyInfo.cs
  3. Clean the solution
  4. Rebuild the solution
  5. Publish new release with New-Release
  6. Then I got this error. Method invocation failed because [System.Object[]] doesn't contain a method named 'Split'. At C:\Users\\documents\visual studio 2013\Projects\Banshee\packages\Shimmer.0.7.4\tools\commands.psm1:77 char:41 + $packages = $releaseOutput.Split <<<< (";") + CategoryInfo : InvalidOperation: (Split:String) [], RuntimeException + FullyQualifiedErrorId : MethodNotFound
  7. I tried to clear Releases folder and *.nupkg in the output folder.
  8. It works after I clear, but I didn’t generate delta package.
  9. If I don’t clear Releases folder, the error is back. :sweat:

Hmm… OK. I’ll break down into a few problems;

  1. If it can generate delta package, it cannot generate setup.exe.
  2. If it can generate setup.exe and full package, it cannot generate delta package.
  3. How about RELEASE file? Above two generate two different RELEASE file.

I’m a bit tired now, let’s call it a day. I’ll find about more and will post again.