Once programming of a Visual Basic (VB) application is complete and thoroughly tested, you may want to distribute it to others. Microsoft supplies a “Package and Deployment Wizard” as an Add-In to facilitate the process.
Open the completed and de-bugged application in Visual Basic. Click on “Add-Ins” in the top level menu of Visual Basic. Select “Add-In Manager” and then choose “Package and Deployment Wizard” from the drop down list. This should be one of the very first few items showing. Chose either “Loaded/Unloaded” or “Load on Startup” depending on your needs by clicking on the checkbox next to one of these items found under “Load Behavior.” Click “OK.”
Click on the “Add-Ins” menu item again and select the “Package and Deployment Wizard” that now appears. Verify the current project is listed in the top box on the Wizard under “Active Project.” Select the first option below this, “Package.” This will bundle the project into a package that can be posted on an Internet site or distributed as a setup program.
If you have not compiled the program you will get a prompt to do so. You may get this prompt if there is a lapse of time between the last compile and when you start the Package Wizard. In this case, it is probably safer to choose to recompile. Select “Standard Setup Package” from the next screen and click “Next.” Select the folder to hold the package in the next screen. Answer “Yes” to create the folder if it does not exist.
Review the contents of the next screen, which lists the files to be included. Select “Add” if any other files such as images or text help files that are part of your program do not appear in the list. Clicking this choice opens a file browser to find the needed files. Click “Next” when ready to proceed.
Select “Single Cab” in the next screen unless you plan to distribute this on disks and the size requires more than one disk. In that case, select “Multiple cabs.” Click “Next” to open a window where you create an installation title that will show when the user runs Setup. Click “Next” and choose which Start Menu groups Setup will create. Click “Next” again and modify, if you wish, where the necessary files will be installed on the user’s computer.
Click “Next” and choose whether any of the listed files should install as shared files. This is only necessary if you plan to distribute other applications that will use the same files. Otherwise, click “Next” a final time and provide a name for the setup package. Click “Finish” to create the package. Locate the folder where you created the package and click on “Setup” to test the distribution program.