Developing Microsoft-based web applications just got a little bit easier with the release of a new Web Platform Installer from Microsoft. No longer do you need to worry about installing the proper development environment technologies, in the proper order -- Microsoft has done the hard work for you.
It use to be a bit of the pain to get your development environment ready to start developing Microsoft web applications. You had to download all the proper software -- both free and maybe not so free -- and then install it in the proper order. In some cases you had to create a virtual server environment to get certain software to run.
Well, Microsoft seems to have been listening to your woes and has provided an answer that should make many a developer thrilled to the core.
It's called the Web Platform Installer, or Web PI. Currently in version 1.0, this installer downloads and installs the entire web platform to your desktop. Software included:
- IIS (Internet Information Server)
- Visual Web Developer 2008 Express Edition
- SQL Server 2008 Express Edition
- .Net Framework
- ASP.Net MVC
- Visual Studio Tools for Silverlight
You can choose to install all of this software, or just certain ones through the installer interface. In addition, as the technologies get updated, you will always notified of the updates.
The Web PI 1.0 has the following system requirements:
- Operating Systems: Windows Vista RTM, Vista SP1, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008
- Architectures: x86 and 64-bit
- .Net Framework 2.0
- Adminstrator Privileges
Is a SharePoint Development Environment Supported
Unfortunately for all you SharePoint developers, the Web PI is not for you. If you are looking for a way install SharePoint on your Vista desktop, take a look at Bamboo Solution's SharePoint on Vista. It's not a platform installer, but it does help you develop SharePoint solutions without the need to run a virtual environment.
What About Other Web Applications
Microsoft has another offering, currently in beta, called the Microsoft Web Application Installer (Web AI). This installer enables you to easily install a number of freely available web applications to your Windows environment. Applications include:
You need to install the Web PI first to get all the prerequisite software on your machine. In this case, however, only Vista SP1 and Windows Server 2008 are supported.
The installer will confirm you have the prereqs installed and then go to the source location for each application and download them. You will then be walked through configuration and installation procedures.
Making the Developer's Life Easier
Doesn't it seem like Microsoft is doing it's best to make life a little easier for developers? These installers are great for newbies just getting into the swing of things. But they are also good for experienced developers who need to get an environment up and running fast. It enables them to spend more time on developing the solutions then worrying about setting up their environments correctly.
It's also interesting to see Microsoft enable easier installation of non-Microsoft Web Content Management Solutions. It's an acknowledgement by them that many developers still use the Microsoft environment to develop solutions based on both ASP and PHP technologies.