“xcopy deployment”

This was supposed to be one of the features of writing .NET apps – the ability to deploy your apps easily, by simply copying the files onto the computer.  From Microsoft’s site:  ?New XCOPY deployment enables developers to install a Windows-based application simply by copying files to a directory?.

That’s true if you have awfully low expectations, I suppose, and your app doesn’t depend on anything that outside the .NET framework and doesn’t require any systen configuration to run.  In practice, this is almost never the case.

Any non-trivial application is going to depend on something.  Maybe it’s MSDE for a database backend, maybe it’s the Speech SDK if you’re using speech stuff.  Even in the .NET world there are components that might have to be installed as part of making your app work, like the Web Services Enhancements for example.

There’s also the stuff that the Installer does that xcopy won’t do, like installing a Start menu icon, and adding an entry to the Add / Remove Programs list (and making sure the .NET framework itself is installed!).  There are 2490 Google hits for ?xcopy deployment?, and yet it seems like nobody really considered that this feature is really of no practical use.

I wonder if this whole ?xcopy deployment? idea didn’t come from the way the Macintosh handles deployment, which really is pretty close to just dragging a folder onto your system..