Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Deploying VSTO SE Excel applications

I've had real trouble attempting to deploy an Excel VSTO SE app today. I cannot believe how difficult they have made this. It's dead easy to write the application using Visual Studio 2005 but the deployment is an absolute nightmare.

I've eventually found a solution. Starting from an empty XP SP2 machine do this and it should work. I'm sure it's not the most secure configuration but at least it works.

1) Install .NET 2.0
2) Install .NET 2.0 SDK (Tools only, no need for samples or docs)
This is required so you get the .NET Framework 2.0 Configuration tool in control panel -> admin tools. Unfortunately it's no longer distributed as part of the framework as it was in V1.1.
3) Install Excel Professional 2003, use advanced customization and add under Excel ".NET Programability support" to be installed to disk
4) Install Office SP2
5) Install VSTO SE Runtime

Use the .NET Framework 2.0 Configuration tool and right click on My Computer-> Runtime Security Policy-> Machine-> All_Code-> LocalIntranet_Zone and select "New...".

On the first tab enter any name for your app.
On the second tab set the membership condition to be URL and enter the folder containing your published files followed by \* (eg file:////MyServer/my excel app\*).
On the third tab change Permission Set to Full Trust.

Once you have done this you should be able to open the Excel spreadsheet from the published location.

This assumes you have used the Publish Wizard in VS2005 to create the application folder which contains the .xls and .dll files together with the associated manifests and config files.

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