Getting ever so closer to the final release, Release Candidate 2 (RC2) of ASP.NET MVC is up for downloading. This new release candidate is all about the Installer and not so much about tooling or the runtime -- good news for those who have already invested serious learning time.

 

[Editor's Note:  ASP.NET MVC 1.0 is now available for download.]

What's New with RC2?

A few changes have been made from RC1 which was released at the beginning of February. Microsoft wanted to ensure that the Installer was "rock solid" before they announced the RTM version:

  • .NET Framework v3.5 SP1: There are two assemblies (System.Web.Routing and System.Web.Abstraction) that are a part of the .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 used with the MVC installer. So instead of packaging up these assemblies with the MVC download, you are required to install the latest version of the framework.
  • .NET Framework 3.5 Without SP1: You can still bin deploy to a host that doesn't have SP1 of the framework installed. You just have to deploy the two assemblies mentioned above separately along with the MVC assembly. Here's the instructions to do it.
  • Server Only Install: You will be able to install MVC on a server that does not have Visual Studio installed. This wasn't the case with RC1, which was a bit of pain when dealing with hosting providers and production servers.

Trouble with the MSI Installer?

Apparently there have been a few issues with the ASP.NET MVC installations. Some are wondering if Microsoft hasn't been actively building a solid MSI Installer for MVC from the beginning, thus the reason for RC2.

According to Phil Haack it isn't the installer that is the problem but more often related to devenv /setup or ngen.exe. On his blog he says "For the most part, the installations for ASP.NET MVC have been quite stable and we’ve tested the installer at every release and 99% of the problems we’ve run into fall into those two buckets." He goes on to say that RC2 was based on a change to the installer not to a bug.

What he does provide though, is an approach to look at the makeup of an MSI installer for those who really want to understand how it works. His blog entry (linked above) offers a troubleshooting guide to installers with a focus on the ASP.NET MVC installer.

Download and Play

Potential issues with the installer aside, head out and download RC2 and see how she goes. Also, don't forget to download your copy of the free eBook tutorial for MVC 1.0 to help you get your hands dirty building your first MVC application.