This past Friday at work I faced more Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Express deployment woes. My IT department pushed Service Pack 1 for Visual Studio 2005 Express to my machine. I never pay attention to what is pushed to my machine. Even if I had known I wouldn’t have though twice about my deployment procedures.
I sent out a new version of a software package for internal use. I heard reports back that it didn’t work — it would complain about “invalid application configurations.” …Whatever that’s supposed to mean. MS really has the WORST error messages I’ve ever seen. What’s really happening when that message appears is that the overly complex Windows dynamic linker is not finding one or more DLLs that are required to run the application. Microsoft developed a new method of linking in DLLs which is more complex than the previous method (look in app directory, look in path). I know that the new linker finds dependency information in an embedded manifest but I do not know how to look at that information once the code has been built. Had MS included meaningful error messages or even a reasonable way of finding the dependencies on a DLL or EXE I wouldn’t have wasted the hours that I did on Friday.
If you install Visual Studio 2005 Express service pack 1 you must use a new VC redist package. Credit goes to here for the information I needed to resolve this problem. The new redist is nearly impossible to find on Microsoft’s website. The new redist is available here.